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MTS help using pure humus

1895 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Diana
Hi Everyone

This will be my first post since college days. I am getting into the MTS (mineralized top soil) low tech game and have devised a substrait mix I would like to have some advice and or feed back on. My goal is to produce a MTS mix that will definitely be able to provide for close to the mythical 10 year mark for replacement.

Below is a list for the materials I am working with

1. Ancient Forest Alaska humus (harvested by general organics)
2. Piececoir coco fiber, pretty coarse (I have access to a finely ground type)
3. Crushed coral (pea gravel size)
4. Pelletized garden lime (dolomite)
5. Bone meal
6. Sand mixed with florite

I am unsure as to weather or not I need to mineralize the humus. I did not think it to be necessary or could even be done with no sand or clay content.

I will detail the substrate ideal in layers going from bottom up.

Layer 1 – sprinkle of bone meal, sprinkle of lime (crushed to a powder), sprinkle of crushed coral.

Layer 2 – 80% humus 20% coco fiber mixed (1in thick in front and 2in in back)

Layer 3 – 90% sand 10% florite mixed (1in thick)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks to all.
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I don't feel it matters if you mineralize all, some or none of the dirt.

What matters is what you do once you put it all together. It's all about the Ying and Yang of Balance.

I feel there's way too much concern about the parts and not enough focus on the total system. What ever level of organic matter you decided to use it will be import to find the proper balance of plants, filtration and bio-load once it's put together. Let's not over look the light as they drive they system.

Don't get all hung up on chemistry experiments, focus on the equation nutrients in the water - nutrients out off the water. Take a look at my Toxic Ten link.
OK so here are a few more specs about what I am doing.The tank is a 25 tall. It will be pretty heavily planted with rotala rotundifolia, Blyxa Japonica, Java Mos, Java Fern, and more to come later. It will be lit by a 62W compact florescent security light 6500K bulb. No co2 and no ferts (after fish are added). Local Tap water is pretty hard and pH 7.6 to 7.8. I plan on using a sponge filter run by a 106 gph power head for filtration. The tank will ultimately hold a breeding colony of endlers, RCS, and nerites. I will probably not run a heater, room temp between 72 and 78 I am trying to keep it as low tech as possible.

Dog fish - I checked out your toxic ten. awesome! way to push the limits. and thanks for the advice.
Thanks for the response from all. I have decided to go with the following mix. 1 part play sand, 1 part coco fiber, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part humus. It is sloped from 1in in the front to about 1 ¾ in in the back. All capped with a little bit more than an inch of sand mixed with about 25% florite. My local water is pretty hard with a lot of calsium so I opted for no dolimite and no crushed coral. I did review uka's experience before I made my mix, thanks for the sugestion.
I tried vermiculite. Once. Drained the tank and dumped it immediately. Those little gold flakes got all over the place.
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