Mineralizing Scotts Black Soil - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Mineralizing Scotts Black Soil

Hello;

I am wondering if Scotts Black Soil will work for mineralized soil. I can't find some of the other soils that have been recommended at Home Depots in Ontario. Looking around at HD this seemed like the best best, as it was recommending to mix it with compost and peat when planting. However I was unable to find any information about it on Scotts website.

Thanks

Last edited by nsean; 05-02-2009 at 01:44 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:57 PM
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home depot doesn't usually carry the right stuff. if it says it is made up of compost, manures, etc.. it isn't what you need. your best bet might be to find a spot in your yard and dig some up depending on how big a tank you are doing. Scott's is knows for their fertilizer lines.. so it is a good bet that it isn't just plain pulverized black dirt. Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torpedobarb View Post
home depot doesn't usually carry the right stuff. if it says it is made up of compost, manures, etc.. it isn't what you need. your best bet might be to find a spot in your yard and dig some up depending on how big a tank you are doing. Scott's is knows for their fertilizer lines.. so it is a good bet that it isn't just plain pulverized black dirt. Hope this helps.

Ken
It has no mention of compost or manures, in fact for planting it recommends to mix with compost, which is why I figured it was okay. There are quite a few small pieces of wood that would have to be screened out. How could I test if it is the right stuff?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 02:30 AM
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it works great actually.. I've used scott's top soil if it's the same stuff, compost rice husk and such as el natural.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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it works great actually.. I've used scott's top soil if it's the same stuff, compost rice husk and such as el natural.
That is great to hear! Especially as I did purchase that and am in the process of preparing it!
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-01-2009, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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It seems to have a lot of small pieces of wood, I am thinking that I will be able to screen these out, any feedback? How will I be able to test if this will work, is there any tests I can do after mineralization (ammonia, nitrate etc)
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-01-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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It seems to have a lot of small pieces of wood, I am thinking that I will be able to screen these out, any feedback? How will I be able to test if this will work, is there any tests I can do after mineralization (ammonia, nitrate etc)
Run the soil through more than the recommended 3-4 soak and drain cycles to prevent any issues.

As far as testing ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, you can buy yourself some test kits and test for yourself, or see if your local pet store tests aquarium water for free. Some pet stores test aquarium water for free and can tell you if you there are any ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate issues with your aquarium
water. To prevent issues with live stock, I would start with one hardy fish (zebra danio, whitecloud minnow, etc.,) once you have the tank and plants set up, then add other fish(a few at time) every week or two.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-01-2009, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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This is a very slow process, especially in the Canadian spring, lots of rain and only some what warm weather. 3rd day of it drying in the first cycle, it rained yesterday and got wet again. However if I am correct the most mineralization occurs when it is wet and exposed to the air correct?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-01-2009, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to add a few photos:




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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-02-2009, 01:07 AM
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i'd recommend doing this in a large plastic container.. Fill with water then stir and the little wood bits will float to the top.. You can pour/skim that off. Most of the organics will float away.


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-02-2009, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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I am soaking it in a container. Next soak I will stir it up more, and try to skim out some of the wood, thanks for the suggestion. Will keep you all posted.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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I have finished the 2nd soak, and it is almost done drying the 2nd time. I was able to sift most of the wood out after the first dry, using a strainer like the one attached. The soil is already becoming fine and almost sandy. Which I do believe is a good sign. There are still some very thin organic pieces, I'm not sure how to get rid of these, and suggestions? They seem too small to float to the surface of the water when soaking it.

Thanks
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Would sand or gravel be better for capping the soil?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 02:48 PM
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actually if you can get pool filter sand or 3m colorquartz it would be better imo. It will hold the plants extremely well especially smaller foreground plants.
you can mix the soil in with enough sand for about 2" deep at about 3:1 ratio of sand to soil. then top off with the rest of the sand or however deep you want it. this makes the lower topsoil layer thicker and the roots can get to it easier. this is what I am doing with mine today. just use the same sand for the lower layer as the top layer that way there is no separation between the 2 types.

sorry for the bunk info on the scotts soil. maybe you have a different type of scotts soil there than what I saw my home depot. if it is turning into a sandy mixture then it should be right. make sure it has NO odor to in when done.. especially when it is in a soaking cycle.. that can also indicate when it is close to being ready.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-09-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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Question

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Originally Posted by Torpedobarb View Post
actually if you can get pool filter sand or 3m colorquartz it would be better imo. It will hold the plants extremely well especially smaller foreground plants.
you can mix the soil in with enough sand for about 2" deep at about 3:1 ratio of sand to soil. then top off with the rest of the sand or however deep you want it. this makes the lower topsoil layer thicker and the roots can get to it easier. this is what I am doing with mine today. just use the same sand for the lower layer as the top layer that way there is no separation between the 2 types.

sorry for the bunk info on the scotts soil. maybe you have a different type of scotts soil there than what I saw my home depot. if it is turning into a sandy mixture then it should be right. make sure it has NO odor to in when done.. especially when it is in a soaking cycle.. that can also indicate when it is close to being ready.
Ken
Sorry to hijack, but is this as per standard mineralized topsoil procedure or did you just alter it. If so, do you really find this works better? I know Tom Barr recommends mixing sand and soil, but as I understand it the original mineralized topsoil recipe instructs to add about 1/2-1'" mineralized toposoil when you have the cake like batter consistency and then cap with 3M colorquartz, or sand. I am not questioning your method; just trying to understand. Thanks.
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