Can I used non-organic potting soil for a plant only tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Can I used non-organic potting soil for a plant only tank?

I have a few plants and cuttings that aren't doing great in my main tank and have an unused 2.5 gallon in the garage as well as some regular miracle gro potting soil (non-organic). Thinking of dirting it and putting these plants in there until they can get a little more established. I know non-organic potting soil is a terrible idea for fish but if my only purpose it just to store plants should it be fine?

2nd question. Can I dose it with regular houseplant miracle gro? Apparently this causes huge ammonia spikes, but considering it's just for plants should it be a good cheap way to fertilize? I'll probably dose with excel to keep algae away.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 01:32 AM
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As long as you remember that is what you are doing, I do not see a problem with that. If you decide to transplant some of these plants back to a fish inhabited tank do not bring any substrate with them.

Perhaps dose just a very small amount of the fertilizer. I think the Miracle Grow potting soil actually has miracle grow fertilizer in it. If so, then it will release into the water very quickly.

I would be very interested in seeing the results of this.
1) How high do the numbers go initially? (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and any other test you have- GH, KH, pH, perhaps P, Fe?)
2) How long to they stay elevated?
3) When you do start adding fertilizer (Miracle Grow product line) what are the test results?
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
As long as you remember that is what you are doing, I do not see a problem with that. If you decide to transplant some of these plants back to a fish inhabited tank do not bring any substrate with them.

Perhaps dose just a very small amount of the fertilizer. I think the Miracle Grow potting soil actually has miracle grow fertilizer in it. If so, then it will release into the water very quickly.

I would be very interested in seeing the results of this.
1) How high do the numbers go initially? (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and any other test you have- GH, KH, pH, perhaps P, Fe?)
2) How long to they stay elevated?
3) When you do start adding fertilizer (Miracle Grow product line) what are the test results?
I think I'll give it a shot. The worst that can happen is my trimmings don't make it. I have ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph tests while I am also curious about.

Wondering how often I should preform water changes. I'm thinking c02 will be very low unless I change quite often.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2016, 04:34 AM
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I would do water changes if the ammonia gets so high it starts burning the leaves. Some plants are very tolerant of ammonia, but some can burn with as little as 1 ppm.
So keep up the testing, and watch the plants VERY carefully.
Ammonia burns damage the cells so the plants look water soaked (Bad term for aquatic plants, but very descriptive of land plants, and it looks the same).
At the first sign of ammonia burn note the ammonia test result, then start doing water changes before it gets that high again.

If the ammonia is from the soil, it should slow down after a while. ADA soils take about 3-4 weeks to get rid of the ammonia, but I do not know if Miracle Grow Soil will be the same (one reason I want to follow this thread!)

Once the ammonia has stabilized enough that you do not have to do so many water changes, you can start to think about CO2.
Once source of CO2 in aquariums is organic matter in the substrate, decomposing, or composting- whatever term you like- microorganisms are eating these materials, and one thing they produce is CO2.
This is one of the features in a Walstad tank. If there is too much organic matter there might be problems, but I am not sure. Miracle Grow Organic Choice is mostly organic matter, and it seems to work if it is mineralized. That does not get rid of the organic matter.
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