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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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top soil

can natural top soil grow and sustain those very hard to keep plants like rotala macandra or some other hard to keep plants, i do currently have a carpet of drawf hairgrass growing great on it but im not sure if its good enough for other plants

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 02:28 AM
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You can use soil in a planted tank, but it tends to be a bit more work to make sure you get the right kind and prepare it correctly... I wouldn't try adding it to an already started tank unless you plant to completely start over.





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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 02:32 AM
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You should look into Aaron T's mineralized soil substrate.
I think its a great idea, but it does take some preparation and time.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 04:12 AM
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I plan to do exactly what aaron's done.. it is some work but the rewards are awesome! check out lookinforoselines tank.. the same setup.

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 05:27 AM
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Guys... the OP HAS soil already... wants to know what will grow in it.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over_stocked View Post
Guys... the OP HAS soil already... wants to know what will grow in it.
exactly

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 10:57 AM
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yes it will.. we are saying to look at aaron's tank to see the results. you can grow the really hard to keep plants with this as a substrate when using high lighting and injecting co2. so yes you can.

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 10:58 AM
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are you dosing ferts?

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 01:11 PM
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You shouldn't dose ferts in a mineralized soil tank.

I'm testing two of the plants I was told couldn't grow well in soil tanks right now (Blyxa, and Erio type 2). One is spotty but growing (Erio), one is doing great (Blyxa).

I absolutely slaughtered Ludwigia Pantanal, but so have half the people I know who tried it, in a multitude of tank styles.

For the most part - yes, you can keep almost all plants, and the substrate honestly outperforms every other thing I've tried, by a good margin. The most dedicated water column feeders will be touch and go - essentially if it doesn't have roots, and isn't easy to make it grow roots, and is a delicate plant, say, "rut row".
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 01:53 PM
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Seriously... HE DOES NOT HAVE MINERALIZED SOIL. HE HAS TOP SOIL. IT IS IN A TANK THAT IS ALREADY RUNNING.
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 03:49 PM
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Easy there fella, sheesh. I *think* I comprehend.

Seriously... they are all mineralized in the end, and you shouldn't be dosing a soil tank.

The big difference is some dolomite and potash - the potash burns out in a few months, the dolomite is simply to control water acidity. Mineralizing soil simply accelerates the protien and excess nutrient burn in the soil "system" - it happens in your tank over time regardless though.

In the end, we are running extremely similar systems. I shared my experiences with soil in the bottom of my tank. Capiche? If not, feel free to post more screaming posts over umm, not real sure what.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 04:42 PM
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Given the poster's question, the advice would be to do many water changes, frequently, like every other day if the top soil was place in there recently.

If the top soil is 3-8 week or more old, then you can relax.

Sediment vs water column:
Plants can do both, I know of no plant that cannot take nutrients from the water column. A few cannot take nutrients from the sediment and they lack roots.

However, adding nutrients to both locations, especially when you want to address wimpy plants that die easily for most folks, is the wiser approach.
This way you get more out of both locations.

So add ferts to the water column and the sediment.

As far as pantanal, R macrandra etc, these have long been grown just fine in plain sand and good water column nutrients, folks have more trouble with CO2, not nutrients than anything(95% maybe more of the issues stem from poor use of CO2/too much light).

Nutrients are easy, add ferts consistently(this is the harder part for folks especially when they have poor CO2 and high light) to both locations over a wide range, as long as they are consistent, and add a nutrient rich sediment.

This gives you the best chance of success and the bases are covered.
Do not fall for that "do not dose the water column" advice.
You do not gain anything in doing so and only force slower growth(which is not what you want in the first, the plants are doing poorly if you are asking and one of the ironic claims) and more limitation, as well as more draw and less life out of the sediment.

I am always scratching my head when folks ask what is limiting in their tanks and they suggest not adding ferts.
What? If you want less growth, use less light.

You might not need to add ferts in your tank with lower light and good CO2, however, other folks might have more light and less CO2 and that, not the nutrients, is much more likely the issue.
This is going to be more true with wimpy plants.

Also, there's little consistency in the type of soil: % organic matter, N and P, clay content, which as anyone could guess, would influence growth.
This does not matter if it's soil, loam, ADA aqua soil etc or any macro rich sediment. So it's wise to have a back up, the water column.
This way you can rule out nutrients, cover all the bases and hedge the bets you are providing adequate nutrients everywhere.

From there, you can focus on CO2 and finally light to modulate rates of growth.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 05:20 PM
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I have a few soil tanks.. When the plants look 'sad'.. I add K, Ca, and Mg into the water.. Nothing wrong with adding ferts.

And in the beginning, you might not need to change that much water like plantbrain mentioned. You just have to assess the tank. Every tank is different.

My tank had no issue from the start, So I changed the water whenever I feel like it. I only had issues with algae when I had to do 2 massive water changes due to parasites. I wasn't smart enough to lower the lights.


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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Given the poster's question, the advice would be to do many water changes, frequently, like every other day if the top soil was place in there recently.

If the top soil is 3-8 week or more old, then you can relax.

Sediment vs water column:
Plants can do both, I know of no plant that cannot take nutrients from the water column. A few cannot take nutrients from the sediment and they lack roots.

However, adding nutrients to both locations, especially when you want to address wimpy plants that die easily for most folks, is the wiser approach.
This way you get more out of both locations.

So add ferts to the water column and the sediment.

As far as pantanal, R macrandra etc, these have long been grown just fine in plain sand and good water column nutrients, folks have more trouble with CO2, not nutrients than anything(95% maybe more of the issues stem from poor use of CO2/too much light).

Nutrients are easy, add ferts consistently(this is the harder part for folks especially when they have poor CO2 and high light) to both locations over a wide range, as long as they are consistent, and add a nutrient rich sediment.

This gives you the best chance of success and the bases are covered.
Do not fall for that "do not dose the water column" advice.
You do not gain anything in doing so and only force slower growth(which is not what you want in the first, the plants are doing poorly if you are asking and one of the ironic claims) and more limitation, as well as more draw and less life out of the sediment.

I am always scratching my head when folks ask what is limiting in their tanks and they suggest not adding ferts.
What? If you want less growth, use less light.

You might not need to add ferts in your tank with lower light and good CO2, however, other folks might have more light and less CO2 and that, not the nutrients, is much more likely the issue.
This is going to be more true with wimpy plants.

Also, there's little consistency in the type of soil: % organic matter, N and P, clay content, which as anyone could guess, would influence growth.
This does not matter if it's soil, loam, ADA aqua soil etc or any macro rich sediment. So it's wise to have a back up, the water column.
This way you can rule out nutrients, cover all the bases and hedge the bets you are providing adequate nutrients everywhere.

From there, you can focus on CO2 and finally light to modulate rates of growth.

Regards,
Tom Barr
so basically i can grow anything, its just that i would need the proper nutrients, lights, and co2

oh here are the specs of my tank if it matters
20 gallon tank
jebo 828 canister filter
2x40 watts from shoplights
diy co2 about 1 bubble per second +/- with 100% diffusion
normal topsoil as substrate
i am dosing ferts too, seachem flourish 2x a week

and my hair grass is growing great
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Sediment vs water column:
Plants can do both, I know of no plant that cannot take nutrients from the water column. A few cannot take nutrients from the sediment and they lack roots.
Exactly what I said. Some plants that are heavy water column feeders tend to do poorly or outright die.



Quote:
Nutrients are easy, add ferts consistently(this is the harder part for folks especially when they have poor CO2 and high light) to both locations over a wide range, as long as they are consistent, and add a nutrient rich sediment.

This gives you the best chance of success and the bases are covered.
Do not fall for that "do not dose the water column" advice.
You do not gain anything in doing so and only force slower growth(which is not what you want in the first, the plants are doing poorly if you are asking and one of the ironic claims) and more limitation, as well as more draw and less life out of the sediment.

I am always scratching my head when folks ask what is limiting in their tanks and they suggest not adding ferts.
What? If you want less growth, use less light.
To each their own I guess. I don't have to dose, I don't have to do 50% weekly water changes, and my tank is stable and runs great. I've seen what happened to others who tried to start dosing soil tanks, it wasn't pretty. Maybe all of them did something wrong, dunno.

What I "gain", though, is not having the absolute PITA of huge unnecessary water changes and sizable expenditures on unneeded fertilizers. I don't need to flush 4,500 gallons of water down the drain just to reset fertilizer every week, that is a rather big plus to me.

I don't see slow growth or any of that kind of thing you mentioned - if anything, I need to figure out how to slow it down more than it already is. Crypts go absolutely insane, stems like hygros and pogostemon grow 20" in a couple of weeks, polygonums are growing well and flowering underwater, Downoi is taking hold and exploding. With no ferts!
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