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Good luck. Miracle-Gro potting soil has a lot of added ferts and is high in organics. You will have super high ammonia levels and most likely lots of algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the reply,

i'm trying this on a small 12 gallon just to experiment. I'll test water parameters in a week. I doubt i'll have much success, but curious what the results might be. Also, great website. I'll definitely use it as a reference when i try my hand at a larger and more orthodox planted tank.
 

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Children Boogie
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try regular organic potting soil with no added ferts. Fill 1" of it and then add some limestone or oyster shells for buffering. And then 1" of gravel to cover..
Fill the tank with water and let sit for a week with no lights.. then do a 50%-60% water change. This will remove excess nutrients.. Do water changes till ammonia is 0ppm. And then fill it up with plants.

Let me know how it turns out.. I'm planning to do this sometime soon.
 

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PT Biologist
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If there is perlite or vermiculite in the mix, either will float to the top of the tank when you add water. Makes for a mess.
 

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Why woudl you do that?
If I told you guys I was going to add miracle grow to my water column instead of fish tank fertilizer you woudl think I was nuts. You can get soilmaster for $17 for a 50lb bag. My big tank grows everything I've ever added to it in pea gravel! I think you're going to end up with a cloudy, algae filled uninhabitable mess. Try it if you must, just don't put any fish in there, the amonia will kill 'em in a second.
 

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makes no sense to me....I can find a million things I would rather experiment with than something that is already a proven failure
 

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FWIW I have had a tank running this way for 4 years. It is a PITA but the plants look AWSOME. Just make sure if you do this that you are not going to move any plants ever. If you do... well you better have water on hand for a WC. Also algae WILL be a problem for 3 months. A layer of sand works great for keeping soil down where it belongs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
makes no sense to me....I can find a million things I would rather experiment with than something that is already a proven failure
Could you point out a forum where this was tried, i tried the search, but didn't come up with anything.
Again, this is simply an experiment, had spare tank, had spare soil, had spare gravel and had some curiousity. Worst case scenario, i lose some clippings from my 100 gallon. I decided to add a diy Co2 to help her on her way.

FWIW, I'm not a complete planted tank amateur, despite what this post would lead you to believe:




 

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A great book to read for those contemplating using soil in their aquarium set-ups is Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstad.

In this book she gives detailed instructions on the types of soils used to construct your substrate. One of the best potting soils to use is cheap, generic topsoil. Many people like to wash this or at least air it out to get rid of excess ammonia. Like others have said, the miracle grow potting soil contains a few things you won't want. You can always set up a bottle test with the soil and test for ammonia , nitrites nitrates and phosphates. This way you can also see if the vermiculite or perlite bugs you.

Good luck with your tank! Your angels are lovely!
 

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Hey medicineman.. it's called a Walstad tank.. And it's a proven success not failure. You won't ever need to dose ferts for rooted plants.

Goldfish and Aquarium Board Article-Setting up a Walstad-Type Natural Planted Tank
the moderator (Betty) on this forum has a 125G tank setup in this manner.
Well yes and no. Yes, using topsoil as part of your substrate has proven itself. No, Diana Walstad does not think using fortified topsoils like Miracle-Gro it is a good idea. From Diana Walstads finger tips to your computer screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
interesting issues this has raised. I used about a .25 to half inch base of miracle gro, topped with a couple of inches of gravel. It took a day for the water to clear (fishing out the vermiculite was a pain) I only have an 18 watt bulb on for 6 hours each day. I'll move it up to 8 then 10 then 12 over the course of a week or so. The DIY cO2 generateor/reactor was probably the most fun part of this. I am also curious with th ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will settle to once things are a bit more established

Again, I'll measure water parameters this weekend, and try to borrow a camera to take pics. I don't think i would add fish to this tank until i could monitor long term stability.

I appreciate all criticism and info offered

ps. Clone, that is a gorgeous tank you have there
 

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Children Boogie
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I hear that after the Walstad tank has been fully establish you won't need CO2 injection if you don't disturb the water surface.

The organic materials will produce CO2 and organic carbon the plants will use in addition to the fish of course.

yeah, i'm not sure about miracle grow.. It will have too much nutrients and you'll just wind up with algae.
 

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You don't need CO2 because you aren't supplying enough light to require it. Diane's method is a moderate to low light tank. If you set up a soil substrate and go with anything over 2.5 watts per gallon (between 10 and 75 gallons) you are going to be much happier with CO2 supplementation.
 

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Well yes and no. Yes, using topsoil as part of your substrate has proven itself. No, Diana Walstad does not think using fortified topsoils like Miracle-Gro it is a good idea.

I was just gonna say that. The Miracle Grow will probably off your fish like the aquatic Mafia.:icon_lol:

Tommy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
some interesting assumptions.....you know they say about assumptions don't you? :icon_wink . . . i won't add fish until i'm confident that the water is suitable and stable
 

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Well yes and no. Yes, using topsoil as part of your substrate has proven itself. No, Diana Walstad does not think using fortified topsoils like Miracle-Gro it is a good idea. From Diana Walstads finger tips to your computer screen.
yes my point. Topsoil is not fortified...VERY different than Miracle Grow. I wouldn't put fish in there, and note that Walstad tanks are low light....so of course you will not need CO2 or ferts...Using a fortified soil will do 2 things.....cause major lgae issues, and kill your fish. If you want to run a plants only tank and you don't mind the algae, I say go for it <but moving plants around will cause a perlite mess> but if you want a FISH tank, I would stay clear, that is all.
 
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