How to use bonsai soil? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2011, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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How to use bonsai soil?

It's been 22 days and counting since my packet left the states and no luck. I didn't think it would take this long for a box to get here. I know customs destroy plants, but would they destroy mgopm since it could contain something that's not native to Japan? If I don't get it by Friday I'm going to go buy some bonsai soil to use on Saturday.

I don't have any ideal on how to use the product in a tank let alone anything about bonsai soil period. Does it hold nutrients, is it acidic or alkaline? Will crypt parva grow in it. Please help me with this, I have plants waiting to go in and they are starting to give with on substrate.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2011, 11:36 AM
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In Bonsai we don't use a lot of organics as we want to control grow. Most people as organics (compost, peat, manure, etc.) per that type of tree's needs.
so here are two non-organic choices that you should be easily able to find:

Akadama is Japanese baked clay, specifically produced for bonsai and imported into the West; it is normally only available from bonsai nurseries and therefore difficult to locate. There are a number of grades of Akadama available including 'Double Redline' that is more costly but is of premium quality and less likely to break down.

Akadama is the soil of choice for many Japanese bonsai Masters and enthusiasts. This is partially due to its relatively low price in Japan where it is also easily obtainable.

Akadama can break down into a solid mush within 1 or 2 years.

Seramis/Turface/Oil-Dri are fired clays are readily available in the UK and US compared to Akadama and much cheaper. Fired clays are also stronger than Akadama and thus will not break down over time.

You could plant in either alone but, you would need root frets.

Or you could add some organics like a little pete, worm casings,powdered manure compost, or even yard dirt from a health piece of ground.

Look at my Tonxic Ten journal.

I would take 50% of my Bonsai soil and add organics, as my base. Then use the other 50% as a cap. I prefer adding lots of hornwort at start up to cycle. But, you could also do daily water changes for a week, them every 3 days, them weekly maint.

Either way with organics in the substrate NO water colum frets for a month. Excell would be O.K.

I don't run CO2 so I will not comment on it.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-04-2011, 04:19 PM
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Akadama is terrific. I've had it in a few tanks for up to four years with very little breakdown. My only complaint is the light coloration, as I prefer dark substrates to showcase cherry shrimp.

It should be super-cheap in Japan. And you'll have access to all kinds of grain sizes - from super-small to gigantic. Treat it as gently as you would Aquasoil and fertilize it as you would Eco-Complete or other substrates that don't contain lots of nutrients.

I mostly use it in shrimp tanks with no fertilization, though, and truly enjoy it. You're lucky to live in a region where it's readily available.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-05-2011, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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I wanted to add peat soil to the bottom to help create a better enviroment for the bacteria and plant absorption, but the brand I have has a wetting agent in it. Does it matter if I'm only going to have plants in this tank.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 06:26 PM
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If you never plan on adding any livestock at all? Then it definitely won't matter.

If there's a chance you will add livestock? Use it at your own risk.


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