what lives in the deep? Soil sub question. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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what lives in the deep? Soil sub question.

I've started a new tank.
So I have made my own mineralised top soil.
It was not thoroughly mineralised as I figured a little ammonia leaching during set up wouldn't be a bad thing. If it creates lots of algae I can always toss a few shrimp or ottos into the tank while the new plants get settled.

So here is my concern. Do I have insects to worry about? I mean, I let this stuff get bone dry, so there must not be any worms. But are there any other "critters" I should be concerned about?
I've already planted, and capped with an inch of sand, but I figured that I may as well ask. I'd rather not have a bunch of root-eating insects show up 6 months from now.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 02:40 PM
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If you plan to flood your aquarium I would not worry about any critters as they are unlikely to survive underwater. More worried about pesticides, copper levels and other contaminants.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dukydaf View Post
If you plan to flood your aquarium I would not worry about any critters as they are unlikely to survive underwater. More worried about pesticides, copper levels and other contaminants.

Pesticides are possible, simply because I can't guarantee they weren't used near the soil for the last 10 years. But I'd be surprised.

Is copper really that common in top soil? Maybe I should buy a test kit.
Well, some may flinch, but I have too many RCS to count, so I guess once the tank is set up, I'll drop a couple in and see how they do. I'd be surprised to find copper in there, but that should be an easy way to find out if there are water quality problems. Faster than the plants might tell me too.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 04:42 PM
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Copper is a very common fungicide/bactericide in agriculture. It is considered to be an organic pesticide. There are many different formulations. Some of the older ones are highly toxic (the ones most organic farmers use).

Depending upon where the topsoil came from it is highly likely to have some degree of copper in the soil. Having them reach toxic levels for invertebrates in the soil is very unlikely unless it is a natural deposit.

I wouldn't worry about pesticides in the soil. Most modern pesticides break down within a few weeks or months. The older ones from the 50's, 60's and 70's used to stick around forever. Thankfully the EPA and international treaties have slowly been banning most of the most dangerous ones.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Whether there be pesticides, copper, ammonia burst, or what have you, I'll find out soon. I just started flooding the tank. Tomorrow I'll do a test for gh/kh, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, as well as ph to compare with my own tank at home. If the levels test out safe, I'll be dropping a few cherry shrimp in to live in there for the first few weeks.

The crypts will likely take some time to melt and re-grow, and while that is going on I don't want to increase the bio-load if possible. The shrimp should provide just enough ammonia that the filter will be seeded. Even if just barely. After a few weeks of things looking good I'll probably start adding one or two fish at a time.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
Pesticides are possible, simply because I can't guarantee they weren't used near the soil for the last 10 years. But I'd be surprised.

Is copper really that common in top soil? Maybe I should buy a test kit.
Well, some may flinch, but I have too many RCS to count, so I guess once the tank is set up, I'll drop a couple in and see how they do. I'd be surprised to find copper in there, but that should be an easy way to find out if there are water quality problems. Faster than the plants might tell me too.
Sounds like a good plan if you have shrimps to spare. However, pay attention to the other water parameters that may kill shrimps ie ammonia.

In time the soil might become anaerobic, thus with reductive conditions. Such conditions will release metals from their stable state. You can sometimes see rust on the bottom panel of aquariums which had soil in them. That is to say, if it is safe now, it might not be safe after 6 months. I admit, it is rather unlikely to reach toxic levels (but possible). One needs to decide for oneself.

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