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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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This article references using Vermiculate mixed with Topsoil and layering that with sand. I have read mixed things about the use of any kind of garden soil including topsoil. Anyone ever experiment with this and if you did what did you find? Did water parameters stay within acceptable limits(especially nitrates)? Did the substrate fall apart after time and cloud the water? Did the fish/shrimp stay healthy or suffer? Did the plants grow well and continue to do so?
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/budget.html

How about Kitty Litter overlaid with 11/2" of sand. Dan S. Quackenbush swears by this.
http://www.malloftheworld.com/aquarium/part2.htm

Yes, I know it is just easier and cheaper to buy eco-complete or fluorite, but at $32 a bag VS $7 to mix your own, there is a huge savings to be had especially if you are on a tight budget. Plus I am trying to learn as much(using fluorite, eco-complete, etc., is too easy and takes the challenge out of learning) as I can about this hobby. Feedback on this would be much appreciated. Thank you.
 

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I tried the whole topsoil about 10 years ago and it took about 1 year when I smelled something foul from my tank. I striped the tank completely down and it was the topsoil. It was so rotten and the smell almost made your stomach turn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I tried the whole topsoil about 10 years ago and it took about 1 year when I smelled something foul from my tank. I striped the tank completely down and it was the topsoil. It was so rotten and the smell almost made your stomach turn.
Thanks for responding, much appreciated :) Anyone else??
 

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I put soil in the bottom of every tank I set up, I have for more than 10 years. I still recommend anyone new to to hobby go get one of the commercial substrates (usually EcoComplete, but if ADA is available to them...) because I want them to have some success right from the get go. When someone does not know what they do not know, I try to keep it simple. Let them have some success, then help them tinker with the cheaper methods if they are curious.
 

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:icon_ques :confused:
This article references using Vermiculate mixed with Topsoil and layering that with sand. I have read mixed things about the use of any kind of garden soil including topsoil. Anyone ever experiment with this and if you did what did you find? Did water parameters stay within acceptable limits(especially nitrates)? Did the substrate fall apart after time and cloud the water? Did the fish/shrimp stay healthy or suffer? Did the plants grow well and continue to do so?
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/budget.html

How about Kitty Litter overlaid with 11/2" of sand. Dan S. Quackenbush swears by this.
http://www.malloftheworld.com/aquarium/part2.htm

Yes, I know it is just easier and cheaper to buy eco-complete or fluorite, but at $32 a bag VS $7 to mix your own, there is a huge savings to be had especially if you are on a tight budget. Plus I am trying to learn as much(using fluorite, eco-complete, etc., is too easy and takes the challenge out of learning) as I can about this hobby. Feedback on this would be much appreciated. Thank you.
The article states:
Don't use bagged potting soil, peat moss, or compost (They will decay under water and prevent good root growth. He advised digging from outside yourself. That scares me more. There could be dead worms, bugs and whatever in it. This gets more confusing for me by the minute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The article states:
Don't use bagged potting soil, peat moss, or compost (They will decay under water and prevent good root growth. He advised digging from outside yourself. That scares me more. There could be dead worms, bugs and whatever in it. This gets more confusing for me by the minute.
I hear what you are saying that is why I asked about other peoples' experiences


With all the conflicting information out there, the only way it seems that one can get to the bottom of what is right and wrong is to experiment and see what happens. Of course if you sink a lot of money into plants for your experiment, failure can really take a huge bite out of your wallet. That is why I set up a plant only harvest tank as I cannot afford to buy plants at $10 a pop for any experiment knowing that if the experiment fails, I am out a lot of money.
 
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