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Mineralized Topsoil Questions

2259 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Raaan
I'm getting ready to start my first dirted tank using mineralized topsoil. I wanted to check with the good folks here and make sure I was on the right track. I'm following this guide:

This is my shopping list so far.
Kellogg Topper Lawn Soil Kellogg Garden Organics 2 cu. ft. Topper Lawn Soil for Seed and Sod-653 - The Home Depot
Hi-Yield Muriate of Potash
CraftSmart Natural Clay Craft Smart® Natural Clay
Espoma Dolomite Lime Espoma 6.75 lb. Garden Lime-100508617 - The Home Depot

I have a couple of questions first, though.
Can I use cat litter, crushed brick, or crushed terracotta instead of the craft clay?
I've found cheaper topsoil, but the ingredients lists are more vague and reviews state that there's as much debris (bark, rocks) in the bag as there is actual soil. How important is this, and is there anything I should be concerned about regarding the soil I listed above?
Is dolomite limestone the same thing as dolomite, or are they at least interchangeable?
How deep should the top layer of gravel be? I was going to use EcoComplete but currently only have enough for about a ¾" layer.
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I'm am just starting like you but I will try to help, in case no one else will.

As far as I researched, kitty litter does not serve the same purpose as craft clay. The litter is good for its cation-exchange-capacity, but does not give iron to plants like craft clay is because the litter is fired.

For the dirt, you want to get a bag that is as transparent as possible with its ingredients. Also, you're going to do a lot of sifting to separate the dirt from everything else to make MTS. So it is more convenient to get a bag with the highest dirt ratio.

Ideally the top layer should be 1-2 inches, depending on how fine the grains are.

I do not know the answers to the rest.
Thanks for the input. I ended up going with a different topsoil; one with less organic material in it to cut down on excess nutrients, though it did take a lot of sifting.

The top layer ended up being a bit thin, but I'm planning on getting another bag of EcoComplete whenever I'm somewhere that sells it to bulk up some of the thinner spots.

I've started a journal for the tank here, if you're interested.
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