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I keep running into issues setting this tank up, and I am starting to have doubts that it will all be worth it in the end. I would love to see this project through, and I requested the day off work to finish this project (plants have been waiting in a bare tank for a week now, waiting) but now am faced with another dilemma. I just need to know the quickest way to resolve this issue without a future bloom of these critters.

Last night I sifted my Miracle Grow Organic Choice potting mix for 3+ hours to remove the large pieces of wood/sticks.

I added it to my tank and sprayed it with water this morning. It was taking a while to soak up the water because it was very dry. As I was looking at it, I noticed hundreds of small, off-white looking things flitting all around and coming together in groups.

I researched it, and it seems like they may be springtails (Collembola). Should I remove the soil and bake it to sterilize it? This would be to remove the springtails and anything else that could be lurking. Would this harm the nutrients/bacteria in the soil? If I bake the soil to sterilize it, what is the best way to sterilize my tank that they were just lurking in? I really hope they can't burrow into some crevice in the tank.

I understand that springtails may be harmless, but the look of them freak me out. Will they drown if I just cap the soil off? From what I have read in the last couple hours, it doesn't seem so. I really don't want them to take root in the tank and live under the frame of the tank as I have read has happened to other people, and because I have noticed these, now I am worrying there could be other critters.

Or maybe they're something besides springtails? I circled the largest group of them in the attached photo, but there are other gatherings of them to the right.

It may be helpful to note that I bought this soil from a Kmart that is closing because it is the only place locally that still had it in stock. Every other store only has Miracle Grow's new potting mix Nature's Care, as it seems they are phasing MGOC out. So my guess is this soil has been sitting for a long time, and since few people shop there, they still had some to sell.


Thank you in advance.

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You can put it in the oven for a few minutes if you want. Honestly they will die once you cap the soil and fill the tank. Why create more work for yourself?

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