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Discussion Starter #1
I've got 6 tanks set up with gravel over soil. I used potting soil in 5 of them and they're doing great. I decided to try topsoil in the 6th. Because of some info I'd seen on mineralized soil, I decided to boil the dirt (and out off the lighter stuff) before using it.

In the topsoil tank, stem plants that don't put out much in the way of roots thrive. Plants that put out heavy roots (crypts, swords, stem that put out lots of big roots) all seem to dwindle away to nothing above ground. The roots look good when I pull the plants up.

Can anyone with experience in using soil offer input as to why my rooted plants are failure to thrive in this tank? Is it something fixable, or should I remove the substrate and reset the tank?
 

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Children Boogie
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Why did you boil it?

It's simple, top soil has less nutrients than potting soil and usually has less organic stuff in it. When you skimmed off the lighter stuff, you too away some of the nutrients too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My other soil based tanks have fairly rich soil and I'm pretty happy with them. I'd read something that made me want to try a fairly sterile, inert soil base just to see how it would do.

For whatever reason, this experiment was a flop. I cleaned the tank out last night after work and set it back up with fresh gravel. If nothing else, the total tear down reset any chemistry that might be out of whack that I can't measure.

Thanks for the replies.
 
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