Composition of Soilmaster Select? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Composition of Soilmaster Select?

What exactly makes up this stuff? I've been hearing such good things about it that I decided to use it in my 30 gallon setup 2 months ago. Well it seems (results not conclusive yet) that my substrate may be seriously lacking in nutrients. My plants are exhibiting signs of deficient nutrients in the root system... can anyone tell me what exactly Soilmaster Select is made of or what it is most similar too? I'd like to determine if this indeed is a good, rich substrate alternative to the more proven (and expensive) ones. Do we have any info on this?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 03:27 PM
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I am not an experte in susbtrate or nutrients, but I have it in one of my tanks. The substrate is made for golf and baseballs fields I believe. According to people it is inert. My guess is that you will have to dose the water column at least to see growth in demanding plants. I do not think it has enough in it to be able to grow healthy plants like ADA Aquasoil and other substrate made specifically for aquarium use.

I am pretty sure someone with expertise on the subject will answer you with more details.

-Pedro
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 05:03 PM
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Soilmaster, filter sand, Flourite, etc. are all inert substrates. Soilmaster, like Flourite, is a baked clay product, and it provides good cation exchange capacity. You have to fertilize with all of these products. You can do water column fertilizing and/or substrate fertilizing, but you have to provide the fertilizers. Even ADA Aquasoil only contains enough fertilizers for a limited amount of time. Once those are used up you still need to provide fertilizers.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Soilmaster, filter sand, Flourite, etc. are all inert substrates. Soilmaster, like Flourite, is a baked clay product, and it provides good cation exchange capacity. You have to fertilize with all of these products. You can do water column fertilizing and/or substrate fertilizing, but you have to provide the fertilizers. Even ADA Aquasoil only contains enough fertilizers for a limited amount of time. Once those are used up you still need to provide fertilizers.

Actually Flourite is a mined product, not fired clay, as far as I can tell from their literature and it's full of iron and minerals, definitely not inert in that it does provide much needed iron and minerals to your plants. I've been using it for years now and love the stuff.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so SMS is sought after for it's high CEC, not it's nutrient levels. Can someone explain the cation exchange to me? From what I understand a substrate with a CEC value is able to leech nutrients from the water column and deliver them to the root system. Correct? Sort of? Does this mean that you can get away without fertilizing the substrate and doing liquid doses only?

I put some plant tabs into the substrate yesterday so hopefully that will resolve some of my problems. My NO3 was also pretty low so I dosed with some KNO3 to alleviate that.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 06:26 PM
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Cation exchange capacity has to do with the ability of a soil to exchange -ve ions for +ve ones, think of it as the filter through which roots must get their nutrients. There are some specific reactions which take place here that are very well documented in any University level soils text, which I happen to have at home. I can't remember them right now.

Basically the cation exchange site is vital to the survival of a plant and is the mechanism by which a plants rooots are fed. More is better.

In the meantime:
Cation exchange capacity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 01:10 AM
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Jamie's old analysis of the MPV turface will be the same as SMS.

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Substrates for the Planted Aquarium

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 01:33 AM
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Flourite is a fracted clay product.

Fracted means it's fired.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 01:46 AM
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Actually the definition of fracted is "broken".

In Seachems case, it is a mined product, I've never heard them say it's fired, nor does it indicate it is in their literature, I'd have to ask their reps, but I believe Flourite is mined from a certain type of deposit that natural heat sources had a role in producing.

Either way, it's still a good product.


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 01:52 AM
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I have talked with Seachem. And it's a fired product.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg View Post
I have talked with Seachem. And it's a fired product.
Who'd you talk to a Seachem?

Greg Morin never said anything about kiln firing it when he was yappin it up a few years ago.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 04:07 AM
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For info on Soilmaster, check out some of the links here.

--Mike
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 12:22 PM
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One of the customer service reps.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Jamie's old analysis of the MPV turface will be the same as SMS.

See:

Substrates for the Planted Aquarium

Regards,
Tom Barr
Good analysis! But I'm curious... how can we assume that the SMS would be the same as the Turface analysis? Also what is MPV?

Assuming that is true though... what I took away is that SMS would have a good mineral content, such as Fe, but has no organic content. It's high CEC value provides good binding sites for nutrients, but these need to be supplied from another source. So my question is.. what is the best way of providing these nutrients? Would the EI method of water column dosing be effective enough for supplying the substrate with nutrients or would I want to do significant plant tab/soil ball substrate fertilization?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2006, 03:12 PM
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Q: I was wondering if your product, Flourite, would be ok to use in a frog habitat instead of gravel to help the bog plants in their tank grow better?
A: Flourite is perfectly fine to use in this application as it is a naturally mined ore that has a rich mineral composition. It is not chemically coated with a fertilizer in any way.

Q: Does Flourite breakdown as utilized by plants?
A: Flourite will not break down under long term aquarium use. I know it is a fracted clay based substrate, but this clay is as hard as a rock - not soft. For all intent and purpose, it is a rock. This substrate is made up of a rich mineral composition, not just coated with a fertilizer so your plants will derive a long term benefit from this substrate.
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