topsoil substrate?? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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topsoil substrate??

following this thread :
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...on-talbot.html

I set out to make my substrate. I got some somesoil from home depot. it was the only bag that didn't look just like potting mix with wood pieces and perlite. it felt very dense so seemed about right.

well after starting to rinse it the first time i've started to have my doubts. it had lots of little floaties that looked like pieces of bark. what i have left is a good amount of compact gooo that looks the color of sand/clay. during rinsing there were clunks of hard material that i smashed in my fingers to break it all up. I've got a nice gooy mess, but just not sure its the right stuff. a pic should tell it better...





This is what came out of the first rinse.

Is it good stuff?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 11:42 PM
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I'm doing the same.
I used MGOPM and left it to soak for a few days and skimmed the top.
Next I'm gonna add some Flourite or red clay to the mix.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 11:52 PM
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Here's a pic.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 12:38 AM
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I originally bought a bag of the cheapest top soil that HD sold (I'm assuming its the same stuff the OP has) and after a few rinse cycles, all I had left was a bunch of sand. I just bought another brand of soil today from a local ranch and home supply store that's saoking as we speak, and it already looks 10000x better. I won't be buying the top soil from HD anymore.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 12:42 AM
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About half of the miracle gro bag was usable.
Next time I'm just going to use plain ol' dirt from the backyard.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2013, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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I would say what i have seems more like a mix of fine sand and clay. this was the only thing i came across that wasn't 90% wood particles and perlite. I'll have to have another look around.

one thing im not clear about though is: am i supposed to really rinse the soil or just skim off everything that floats. when i rinse and stir up everything the water is black. could i be rinsing it too well? is the black crud what i want? after letting it sit i get something that may be about 25% black goop and the rest sand/clay like material.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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ok, for those who may find it helpful here is a comparison of my first home depot topsoil and lowes topsoil: the new stuff from lowes is on the left
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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things are looking good now. i have rinsed and dried the soil. after letting it dry thoroughly i sifted out all the large particle. this is where it is now:

original topsoil on the right, rinsed and dried on the left
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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got the dirt in the tank this weekend and covered it with Black diamond blasting granules from tractor supply. looks good. after 24 hours i tested the water and ammonia and nitrites are zero. the water was not cloudy at all. and after a day the plants have already perked up.

so far so good
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 01:32 PM
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I used Scott's top soil in my tanks. Next tank using a 50:50 mix of Scott's top soil and Hyponics Potting soil and top it with black diamond.

I had to sift the bark out of Scott's top soil. Heard someone used top soil from Ace Hardware and didn't have to sift it.

Looking forward to seeing the tanks growth. Pics!!

Last edited by Hilde; 05-28-2013 at 01:33 PM. Reason: added text
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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eventually if all goes well in this 10 gallon i'm gonna soil my 55.

hadn't heard about ace topsoil, i'll have to check that out.

the topsoil i got from lowes i think i sifted out only about 10 percent. and most of that was stuff that would probably have been ok. just some larger sand particles and small wood pieces.

i was really surprised the water wasn't cloudy at all.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 11:26 AM
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I have a 55 gallon setup using topsoil/gravel substrate. I never rinsed the soil. I got a bag of miracle grow organic choice potting soil. I sifted through it to take out large peices of clumped soil and sticks. I set up a 1" layer, lightly sprayed it with a hose to get it moist. I then put a 1" layer of gravel. Its been about 5 months now and the tanks doing great. I have to prune my plants once a week.

I recommend getting a small rod or stick (I use a screwdriver) to poke the substrate after it has been set up and the tank is filled to release any air bubbles that are trapped in the soil.

Hope this helps
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
I used Scott's top soil in my tanks. Next tank using a 50:50 mix of Scott's top soil and Hyponics Potting soil and top it with black diamond.

I had to sift the bark out of Scott's top soil. Heard someone used top soil from Ace Hardware and didn't have to sift it.

Looking forward to seeing the tanks growth. Pics!!
Hey, could I ask you to describe how you did with the Scott's Top Soil? Bought some tonight at Walmart...Do I rinse it? I could really use some direction, here.

I bought:

The topsoil
A bag of red lava rock
Play sand

What I am doing is this...I bought two 20lb bags of Eco Complete, and discovered this is not going to give me good substrate depth. I may not use ALL the materials above, but got them to make sure I have options. What would you do with the above list of substrate options?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmittyInFla View Post
Hey, could I ask you to describe how you did with the Scott's Top Soil? The topsoil A bag of red lava rock, Play sand? I bought two 20lb bags of Eco Complete. What would you do with the above list of substrate options?
Scott's top soil I sifted in a colander. Then rinsed it 1x for was drought season.

I would use the top soil mixed with the sand 2:1 as the base. Then top with the Eco Complete.
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