questions re mineralized top soil - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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questions re mineralized top soil

Hi all, I'm pretty new to the planted hobby and I have a few (too many) questions about mineralized top soil!

-I live in a damp area and I'm worried I won't be able to dry the soil, especially since it's been raining this past week... any tips? Or should I just buy premade MTS? I don't have space to dry it indoors.
-Can I use clay that isn't red if I add iron supplements? I found 2.2 lb bags of french green clay, which supposedly has magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosporous, silicon, copper, and selenium. Is that enough clay for 40 gallons?
-I read that I don't have to add dolomite if I have hard water. If I do have to add it, is there anything else I can add to soften my water? More KCl?

Thanks for looking guys!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 09:37 PM
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It can be very difficult to do the drying phase of mineralizing soil during the winter or wet months. For that reason many people limit their mineralizing to summer and dry months. One alternative to drying the soil outdoors is to do it indoors, but that can smell bad, takes a long time, and adds a lot of humidity. Another alternative is to bake the soil at relatively low temperature in an oven, but that can also stink a lot, and some people just don't like the idea.

You could use laterite as a substitute for the clay. Dolomite is to ensure a good supply of magnesium, as well as calcium, in the substrate. Neither the clay nor the dolomite, nor the KCl is absolutely essential. The main thing you get with MTS is the NPK from organic sources in the natural soil, which are converted to inorganic salts by the mineralizing process.

Hoppy
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'll try baking it. I live close to the rainforest here in WA so we get a lot of rain.

I'm gonna try the green clay- couldn't find much info on it but it can't hurt, I can always dose the tank with iron if it's not enough.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-09-2015, 04:14 AM
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The clay isn't primarily an iron source, but a binder that helps the powdery soil clump up a bit, making it more suitable for plants. Clay has other values too, including high CEC. Clay with iron may not even provide any bioavailable iron.

Hoppy
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-13-2015, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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I doubt anyone is going to know the answer to this, but is it okay to boil dirt/worm castings in reactive cookware? The only big pot I have is aluminum... if I try it I'll post back here ^^
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