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My plan, and a few questions on dirted tank

1532 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  lochaber
So third times a charm for me hopefully. I have tried MGOPM tanks with black diamond cap twice in the past with disastrous results that I attribute to anaerobic conditions. I had 3 inches of MGOPM with a one inch cap which I now know was my mistake.
I have read a lot about MTS versus MGOPM and have decided to do a hybrid of both. My plan is to mix a bag of top soil with a bag of MGOPM and do the mineralization process. After that I am going to add another bag of MGOPM (not mineralized) and sift the final product to remove all the bark and rocks. I will end up with way more than Ill need to do a 90 gallon but tanks are like potato chips, you can't have just one. I then plan on mixing the final product 2/3 to 1/3 Safe t sorb. I will put 1 1/2 inches of the soil/safetsorb mix down with 1 1/2 inch cap of either strait safetsorb or a black diamond/safetsorb mix.
First of all, I know this is probably overkill but will it even work?
Second, I know the MGOPM has the peat moss I need but do I still need to add dolimite?
And finally, do I need to add Mexican potting clay for iron?
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I'm not real sure, but I suspect the problem was more to do with the amount of soil and the soil/cap ratio.

I've done two tanks with MGOCPM, and never really had an issue, the deepest was about ~2" of MGOCPM and ~2" flourite cap. From what I read on here, I think it's pretty rare that someone uses more then 2" of dirt.

Second tank uses about ~1" of MGOCPM, and about ~2" flourite sand cap.

I didn't do anything to the MGOCPM, just put a scattering of dolomite on the bottom, and then the MGOCPM straight out of the bag (sifted for the second tank).

I don't think the clay will actually add much iron, but at the same time, I don't think it will hurt anything either, I just suspect it's unnecessary.
Yeah, it sounds like your issues came from the thickness of the substrate rather than the type. There's no reason to get all complicated if you would rather do it simply. On the other hand, if you want to do all the stuff you describe then go for it. It won't hurt anything and might even help a bit, but it's not necessary. Also, be sure you're okay with how safe t sorb and the blasting grit look when combined. They'll differentiate a bit over time instead of staying evenly mixed, and replacing the substrate in an established tank is a pain if you decide you don't like it.
im not sure about the dolimite but the iron deffiently helps you do not need it though. i think the first time you put too much dirt and mabey try a mix a sand and gravel
I had black diamond in there before, I really liked how the plants stood out with the black but it just didn't look natural to me. I have strait safe t sorb in there now and really like the look but I'm a little worried that it isn't heavy enough to use as a cap by itself. Thanks for the input.
In my experience, I never had much luck until I went to 1/4-1/2 inch of soil. Every other tank had anaerobic areas, or the whole substrate became anaerobic. I find even an inch is way too much. Now the longest tank I have had with less soil is 1.5 or so years, which I have done more than a few times. For many, that may seem really long but the point of this substrate is to have something that lasts basically forever, only supplementing nutrients after a period of time.

For me, I found that less dirt is far less hassle. If my tanks can go 2-3 years, and that's where they finish, that's fine for me.
I have about 1" of MGOCPM in my tank capped with EcoComplete and haven't had any issues but my plants grow and pearl like crazy without additional fertilization. The key I've found to making it work well is to spend a week doing the mineralization process before putting it in the tank.
I am about to start a new tank for the first time as well with MGOPM.. Do I need to add the dolomite and mineralization process the MGOPM???

If I need the dolomite where can i find this?? I live in SoCal, Orange County
Under ..My thread's,,Is photo from a year ago or longer, of 300 litre tank with miracle grow/peat mixed 70/30% and some plain unscented cat litter= clay, capped with black diamond.
Safety sorb or cat litter will help hold nutrient's that soil's sometimes give up after a year or more.
As my low tech tank's are long term affair's,I found this to work well.
I prolly got two to three inch cap of the black diamond on top of two inches of the miracle grow which over time,,compact's or shrink's if you will as it turn's to mud.
I think more than depth of substrate,,most that have issues with soil are those who can't leave plant's be, and frequently uproot the plant's to move them.
Growth in my low tech tank's (I suspect many),,is measured in week's,month's.
I think I'm going to stick with around an inch of soil to a 1 1/2 to 2 inch cap. I am really apprehensive to go much deeper for fear of yet another failure. I didn't move my plants but I did make the mistake of adding a turtle to one... huge algae bloom! My problem was anaerobic areas in my substrate where the plant roots turn black and die.

I have found dolimite at The Vitamin Shoppe here in Alabama, but I think any vitamin store would have it...
Dolomite - CaMg(CO3)2 - helps to keep the substrate from going too acidic, and it releases a bit of Ca and Mg.

It's slower to dissolve/less soluble then say, limestone, marble chips, crushed coral, oyster shell, etc., plus it has the Mg in it (most of those are just CaCO3)
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