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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

I have searched many places, looked at online, but I couldn't find anything pertaining to this potting mix. I tried searching for - if anyone had dealt with this in an aquarium before - but no avail. I found this at HP/Lowes: https://www.ecoscraps.com/products/natural-organic-moisture-retaining-potting-mix

Shouldn't this work too? My end goal is to get a carpet going, as well as keeping fish, I'll have a cap on top. Any opinions would help.

Thanks!
 

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You need Macronutrients followed by micronutrients. Know what they are, do your homework, that part of the hobby, at least it was for me, always learning and figuring out these fundamentals and then getting what you need and asking questions after you’ve exhausted some effort.

This applies to ALL growing things, not just inert soil...
https://www.hydroponicist.com/pages/p52-macronutrients-n-p-k.htm

You should truly enjoy reading this if you’re in this hobby! This is a good springboard.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You need Macronutrients followed by micronutrients. Know what they are, do your homework, that part of the hobby, at least it was for me, always learning and figuring out these fundamentals and then getting what you need and asking questions after you’ve exhausted some effort.

This applies to ALL growing things, not just inert soil...
https://www.hydroponicist.com/pages/p52-macronutrients-n-p-k.htm

You should truly enjoy reading this if you’re in this hobby! This is a good springboard.
Which is why I posted here, even in the back of the bag, doesn't really tell you what's composed of - well, I kind of take that back, it's basically assorted food waste matter.
 

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This is the one I have used in the past with good results.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Miracle-Gro-Organic-Choice-Potting-Mix/16880022

Though it seems harder to find locally lately. Home Depot now is carrying miracle grow organic Natures Choice. It is in a green bag. Can’t remember if that one has perlite it in though, which you wouldn’t want.

I have seen some have switched to using just earthworm castings.



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Discussion Starter #5

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If you are going to use dirt might I recommend just going outside and digging some up? I have done dirt tanks in the past and thats what I did. Works just as good and you dont have to worry about whats in it.
 

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dirt works if you just dig it up but might not be ideal. i think a lot of people treat it or something by soaking it, letting it dry (or baking it) a bunch of times. of course this depends on the type of land you're digging the dirt up from. as long as you know the dirt on your backyard doesn't have pesticides or anything harmful in it you should be good to do. I think many people literally dig up some dirt, maybe sift out larger particles, and dump it in the tank

MGOCPM is a classic that is confirmed to be 'aquarium safe'. might be tough to find though. you don't want to use just any soil from the store because a lot of them contain organic matter like chicken poop or other harmful ingredients which can break down and get nasty in your tank

personally I have used MGOCPM int he past but in the future might just dig up some nice dirt from a nice piece of ground locally and roll with that. for a cap go with BDBS for sure because it's on the cheap and nice and heavy. This combo would be really really good for rooted carpet plants like DHG. something like HC would benefit less from the dirt but it would still benefit and the BDBS would hold down the roots better than some other substrate options
 

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I agree with klibs. If you go with yard dirt I think the risk is low unless you take it from a river or lake. I baked mine the first time then after that said heck with it. Any organics that breakdown will be beneficial as they will help cycle the tank. You will have no issues with an ammonia spike using yard dirt. As long as you know the soil hasnt been treated then its really the way to go in my humble opinion. If I was to go with dirt again thats what I would use.

I would actually use a blend of yard soil mixed with all clay cat litter dumped over a sprinkling of osmocote+ capped with bdbs. With decent lighting and some metricide it will grow plants like mad and your carpet will be killer. Very cheap. Very effective.
 

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I agree with klibs. If you go with yard dirt I think the risk is low unless you take it from a river or lake. I baked mine the first time then after that said heck with it. Any organics that breakdown will be beneficial as they will help cycle the tank. You will have no issues with an ammonia spike using yard dirt. As long as you know the soil hasnt been treated then its really the way to go in my humble opinion. If I was to go with dirt again thats what I would use.

I would actually use a blend of yard soil mixed with all clay cat litter dumped over a sprinkling of osmocote+ capped with bdbs. With decent lighting and some metricide it will grow plants like mad and your carpet will be killer. Very cheap. Very effective.
exactly. the more I do stuff in this hobby the more I adopt 'the heck with it' mentality. people really try too hard sometimes. adding red clay is a good idea too +1 to that.
 

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exactly. the more I do stuff in this hobby the more I adopt 'the heck with it' mentality. people really try too hard sometimes. adding red clay is a good idea too +1 to that.
@klibs yep I am with you. I mean there are certain things I will never be that way but so much we just way overthink. I hate to think of the money I have spent over thinking things. I may be the exception but I had much better luck with yard dirt than store bought dirt for example. The water looked cleaner and less tannins. If willing to deal with the nuances of dirt the a free bucket of dirt mixed with a dollar bag of el cheapo cat litter should do pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MGOCPM is a classic that is confirmed to be 'aquarium safe'. might be tough to find though. you don't want to use just any soil from the store because a lot of them contain organic matter like chicken poop or other harmful ingredients which can break down and get nasty in your tank
This Ecoscraps doesn't have poop of any kind, but yes, "harmful ingredients" is what I am trying to look for, but not having luck.


I agree with klibs. If you go with yard dirt I think the risk is low unless you take it from a river or lake. I baked mine the first time then after that said heck with it. Any organics that breakdown will be beneficial as they will help cycle the tank. You will have no issues with an ammonia spike using yard dirt. As long as you know the soil hasnt been treated then its really the way to go in my humble opinion. If I was to go with dirt again thats what I would use.

I would actually use a blend of yard soil mixed with all clay cat litter dumped over a sprinkling of osmocote+ capped with bdbs. With decent lighting and some metricide it will grow plants like mad and your carpet will be killer. Very cheap. Very effective.
There's two reasons I don't want to use dirt from my backyard, so correct my understanding if it's incorrect, one I use fertilizers in my yard, and there's not enough dirt in the frontyard, I would rather not destroy my lawn just for the hell of it. Secondly, I had heard that you would have to bake the soil, I would rather ignore this step - there's actually another option, which is to soak it, but if I were to do DSM, it would yield similar results anyway and I'd have it in my tank rather than soak and bask in the sun.

If I don't find what I'm looking for locally, I'll probably stick to some sort of aquasoil, though I do want to try dirt but depending on how much I put it, might not matter as much as it might need to be rejuvenated later on, same goes for any substrate I suppose.
 

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I'm kind of amazed all the people recommending digging dirt from your backyard. Your backyard may be perfect. What's mine like? Typical subdivisions in California have dirt brought in and leveled. The soil under a foundation has to be a certain consistancy and often times there is a lot of fill added. I've seen entire lots capped with hauled in 'dirt' not to mention the construction debris that often ends up in the mix.

My backyard has a slight depression in the back between me and the neighbor behind me. This can be a drainage area that carries ferts, pesticides etc from one yard to another. I have no doubt stuff from my neighbors yard ends up in mine and vice versa. I would never use dirt from my yard in an aquarium and I certainly wouldn't advise someone else to without knowing anything about their yard. Soil purchased in a bag has a list of ingredients. Soil from a yard is anyone's guess.
 

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@Raith, @Kubla I'm not necessarily saying dig it up from your yard. Obviously if you are using chemicals on your yard then that soil would be unusable. I actually get mine from the woods. It doesnt take much for a tank. As far as using plain old dirt, aquatic plants have been growing successfully using plain old soil for eons. I just dont see a need to improve on what nature provides.
 

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I used Miracle Grow Organic Choice "raised bed potting soil". (Seems to be what HD is carrying now..green bag) Its been safe under sand, but needs to be filtered for wood chips.

Bump:
I agree with klibs. If you go with yard dirt I think the risk is low unless you take it from a river or lake. I baked mine the first time then after that said heck with it. Any organics that breakdown will be beneficial as they will help cycle the tank. You will have no issues with an ammonia spike using yard dirt. As long as you know the soil hasnt been treated then its really the way to go in my humble opinion. If I was to go with dirt again thats what I would use.

I would actually use a blend of yard soil mixed with all clay cat litter dumped over a sprinkling of osmocote+ capped with bdbs. With decent lighting and some metricide it will grow plants like mad and your carpet will be killer. Very cheap. Very effective.
I've used yard dirt, but it has all kind of roots and actually is time consuming to prepare.

Easier to buy a $5 bag of Miracle Grow which has better nutrients. People grow plants in inert substrates..so does it really matter? plants get most fertilizers from water column anyway.

Whatever floats your boat.
 

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@Raith I gave up on dirt myself. I switched my tanks over to Flourite. Thus far I have been happy with it. I have read over the information on that potting soil you provided and I dont see any reason not to use it. If you are keen on using dirt give it a shot. I simply offered the yard dirt as an alternative based on my experience. As long as there are no moisture control components added, which I did not see listed, it appears this should be good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I used Miracle Grow Organic Choice "raised bed potting soil". (Seems to be what HD is carrying now..green bag) Its been safe under sand, but needs to be filtered for wood chips.

Bump:

I've used yard dirt, but it has all kind of roots and actually is time consuming to prepare.

Easier to buy a $5 bag of Miracle Grow which has better nutrients. People grow plants in inert substrates..so does it really matter? plants get most fertilizers from water column anyway.

Whatever floats your boat.
Thanks so much, I did not know that THAT was safe, I saw the bag but did not know whether it be safe or not, but this helps. Do you have it in your tank currently?
 

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yeah MGOCPM (miracle gro organic choice potting mix) is confirmed aquarium safe and is usually the go-to dirt to buy. most people will reference it when dirt sources are brought up.

it HAS to be the exact type though. there are some different MG products that aren't quite the same that might cause issues.

still think digging a hole in the woods is easier / safer though lol
 

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Thanks so much, I did not know that THAT was safe, I saw the bag but did not know whether it be safe or not, but this helps. Do you have it in your tank currently?
Yes, its been in for six months.

Ive replanted, accidentally stirred up the dirt, and have seen no significant changes in chemistry.

When it was new it added tannins which were removed in a couple days by Purigen.

I added fish the day after setting up the tank, PFS over this soil. Never a problem.

You must screen it for large wood particles that aren't bouyant (which I didn't). There are also some small floating bits which aren't as much of a problem. They can be skimmed or wiped out over a couple days.

Look through my tank journal to see it.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...7-50-gallon-keyhole-cichlids-friends-diy.html
 

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@Raith I gave up on dirt myself. I switched my tanks over to Flourite. Thus far I have been happy with it. I have read over the information on that potting soil you provided and I dont see any reason not to use it. If you are keen on using dirt give it a shot. I simply offered the yard dirt as an alternative based on my experience. As long as there are no moisture control components added, which I did not see listed, it appears this should be good to go.
Y'know, before creating this thread, I have gone through different threads on Floramax, Flourite, ADA Aquasoil, as well as dirt (not EC since I have used this in the past), and I was very torn, I received mixed feedback about Flourite, similarly Floramax too, but ADA Aquasoil, oh man, people didn't just praise it, but it's like the next best thing besides sliced bread, but alas, I have a 55g, I did some calculations and I'd need 3 bags. I'm going to spend some money on a canister filter, so I don't want to spend thaaaaaat much on the substrate, I want to be relatively cheap and Aquasoil is not cheap. Thanks for the suggestions though, I'm sure dirt (my first time) will give me troubles here and there but I'm up for it.

Yes, its been in for six months.

Ive replanted, accidentally stirred up the dirt, and have seen no significant changes in chemistry.

When it was new it added tannins which were removed in a couple days by Purigen.

I added fish the day after setting up the tank, PFS over this soil. Never a problem.

You must screen it for large wood particles that aren't bouyant (which I didn't). There are also some small floating bits which aren't as much of a problem. They can be skimmed or wiped out over a couple days.

Look through my tank journal to see it.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...7-50-gallon-keyhole-cichlids-friends-diy.html
You've brought joy to me, thanks (for being my guinea pig too!). I'm going to do a DSM which is slightly different than yours. Where'd you find PFS? I'm about to start another thread (kidding, kidding..) since I couldn't find this in HD, and Lowes either! (...but got $20 worth of terrestrial plants, good deals last weekend! $1 and $0.10 pots!).
 

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@Raith I wouldn't think you will have troubles necessarily. Dirt is wonderful. The only reason I stopped using it because I like to move stuff around and a lot of the plants I have develop large root systems. You can see where this would be an issue with dirt. Cant wait to see the tank!
 
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