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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you guys know where to get cheap black sand that won't harm the fish and has a grain size almost the size of pool filter sand? If any of you have used it, does it work well with MTS? Did you ever have any problems with it? Also I know about anaerobic pockets and was wondering where to get Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Also the best kind of MTS you guys use. I heard Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix is good, and then there's also bad reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Look sat these threads:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/substrate/147795-mineralised-soil-recipe.html http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/substrate/147593-black-sand.html

I would suggest to study every thread about MTS.
Next week it's forcast to be sunny here again. There's still time to "cook" up a batch of MTS before it gets cold.
On other forums, it seems that a lot of people just use the MTS straight out of the bag. Why would you have to cook the soil? I read that black sand thread before, but I was wondering if there were places around Chicago that sold diamond blasting sand.
 

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MTS = Mineralized Top Soil
Top soil straight out of the bag is just dirt.

The "cooking" is the mineralization process(soak and dry, soak and dry, repeat a billion times).

As for locating it- is there a Tractor Supply store around you? I know you said Chicago, but maybe there is one. You can find it there.
 

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Getting this straighten out I see.
Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix is great if used for an NPT but takes FOREVER if used for the base material to make MTS for the very same reason. The bark and wood chips in the MG will not break down rapidly enough for use in a MTS setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MTS = Mineralized Top Soil
Top soil straight out of the bag is just dirt.

The "cooking" is the mineralization process(soak and dry, soak and dry, repeat a billion times).

As for locating it- is there a Tractor Supply store around you? I know you said Chicago, but maybe there is one. You can find it there.
Ohhh. I get it now. People on the other forum seemed to get very good results with plants without cooking the soil though.

I just searched Tractor Supply near Chicago. The nearest one is in Carpentersville...an hour away from Chicago. :frown: Do you know anywhere else that might sell it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Getting this straighten out I see.
Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix is great if used for an NPT but takes FOREVER if used for the base material to make MTS for the very same reason. The bark and wood chips in the MG will not break down rapidly enough for use in a MTS setup.
Nooooow I fully understand. Everyone on the other forum always said dirt took a lot of time. Now i understand what they meant. Thank you!
 

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NPT and MTS both work the same way(kind of haha). That said, MTS lasts longer before faltering than NPT. NPT will "burn out" nutrient-wise much sooner. It will still be a year or two(or maybe more) down the road though.
 

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Your in Skokie right?

So you'd take Dempster to 294so to 90, 90 west to 31 N. Yep about 45min.

Google sand blasting/supply Should find at least one on the North Side or West near Niles.

If you are not up for "cooking" yoour own, I suggest to talk to "nilocg". Colin is a great forum member I've bought from him twice now. I bought his MTS kit to make my own as I didn't want to own 50#s of Potash & 50#s of Clay.

His pre made MTS would get you up & running fast.

If you don't find the Black Diamond, I might be interested in splitting a 50#bag. PM me on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your in Skokie right?

So you'd take Dempster to 294so to 90, 90 west to 31 N. Yep about 45min.

Google sand blasting/supply Should find at least one on the North Side or West near Niles.
Such a good feeling knowing there are people near me doing the same hobby. Thanks!
 

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NPT and MTS both work the same way(kind of haha). That said, MTS lasts longer before faltering than NPT. NPT will "burn out" nutrient-wise much sooner. It will still be a year or two(or maybe more) down the road though.
and the wheels on the bus go round and round :hihi:

Bwahahaha! boy! have I enjoyed that debate more than once while at the same time reading how the nutrients are trapped by the organic binding and not available to the plants right away NPT. Both ways, same debate, same thread.
It was almost fun the first two times.

I added muriate of potash and red clay when I loaded the dirt in my stainless tank so I'll let ya know in 3-4 years when it "burns out"

My first dirt tank without the additives was loaded 2 1/2yrs ago and is still growing plants. My first MTS loaded at the same time has already failed but I've been told I put too much plant load on it LMAO

so I don't see anyone proving either point. :icon_roll

Dirt tanks last a LONG time just pick your effort level and go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
and the wheels on the bus go round and round :hihi:

Bwahahaha! boy! have I enjoyed that debate more than once while at the same time reading how the nutrients are trapped by the organic binding and not available to the plants right away NPT. Both ways, same debate, same thread.
It was almost fun the first two times.

I added muriate of potash and red clay when I loaded the dirt in my stainless tank so I'll let ya know in 3-4 years when it "burns out"

My first dirt tank without the additives was loaded 2 1/2yrs ago and is still growing plants. My first MTS loaded at the same time has already failed but I've been told I put too much plant load on it LMAO

so I don't see anyone proving either point. :icon_roll

Dirt tanks last a LONG time just pick your effort level and go for it.
Man that sounds really complicated...LOL. Do you think I could just blasting sand and laterite and Flourish tabs instead of dirt? The only real root feeders Im gonna have are Crypt Wendtii and Crypt Parva. Everything else is a stem plant and a carpet of Staurogyne Repens.
 

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complicated...LOL.???

Buy a 40# bag of the cheapest topsoil you can find..$1.99 HomeDepot
Put it in a 5gal pail and rinse it, stir it, let any sticks float up. Pour off the black dirty water.
Dump the mud onto a plastic tarp in the Sun.
Let it dry out, break the clumps up. Toss any rocks.

Repeat the wash & dry 3-4 times

Buy the MYS kit from Colin

Sit up your aquarium.

It's making Mud Pies....How complicated can it be??

LOL
 

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complicated? haha MTS while messy and lacking the CO2 in use provided by NPT it also lacks the gassy risk of the first transition period using Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix.

NPT I buy a bag of dirt (because most of Florida is lime rock or sand) remove any fire wood size chunks and put 1 1/2" in the tank, put 1" of cap over it, plant my rooted stuff and I'm done.

neither is complicated
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
complicated...LOL.???

Buy a 40# bag of the cheapest topsoil you can find..$1.99 HomeDepot
Put it in a 5gal pail and rinse it, stir it, let any sticks float up. Pour off the black dirty water.
Dump the mud onto a plastic tarp in the Sun.
Let it dry out, break the clumps up. Toss any rocks.

Repeat the wash & dry 3-4 times

Buy the MYS kit from Colin

Sit up your aquarium.

It's making Mud Pies....How complicated can it be??

LOL
LOL. Its 50 degrees now. And you know how Chicago is. And im talking about the fact that it just runs out after a couple years. Also I dont plan on having many root feeder plants either. I was just considering it a option. I might just go with plain black sand and maybe just stick some flourish tabs into the substrate.
 

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You can dry it inside...

On another note I grew plants very very very well using miracle grow organic with sand top.

If you are only growing a few stems go get jobe plant spikes, they cost like 1.50 for a hundred and work great. throw a quarter of a piece under your stems and do it like once a month it will last you a while.
 

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LOL. Its 50 degrees now. And you know how Chicago is.
It doesn't need to be 98 to dry out soil, didn't they teach you that in Science class? :icon_eek:

Here's the math on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_content
:wink::biggrin:


And im talking about the fact that it just runs out after a couple years. Also I dont plan on having many root feeder plants either.
You are in HS Right??? You'll run out...(to college) before the MTS runs out. Today you don't think you want rooted plants....let's talk again about that in 6mos.

:smile:
 

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And the debate continues. I just set up a 75g with soil I mineralized 2 years ago, and used for 18 months. For the past 6 months it's been sitting in a tub in my garage. I'm planning on trying a NPT this tank, no co2, no wc's, heavily planted, etc., I didn't add the potash this time, but did add a little clay and domelite. I decided to reuse the dirt after reading Shawn Murphy, the "creator" of MTS, has had some of his tanks going for over a decade.
 
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