01-23-2016, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Near San Francisco
| | Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot
Read the ingredients in the products. The more organic materials (bark, sawdust, manure, peat and so on) the worse- You will be sifting and floating off as much as possible of these organics to get down to the actual soil- the sand, silt and clay content. Which can be close to none in some of these prepared blends.
Here is a test question: If you went out into a field, scraped away the layer of weeds and roots and so on, how much sawdust, manure and peat would you find in the soil underneath? That material from the field is more likely to be correct compared to a prepared potting soil blend. Now, some companies are actually packaging the real sand-silt-clay portion of soil, and not adding any compost or similar. This is the sort of thing you want to start with. Look for a bag with a hole in it. If the material looks fluffy, organic, peat, sawdust or like it has sticks in it, or if it smells like ammonia or manure these are the wrong things.
ddi: I would not simply add clay to an established, running tank. The point of adding the clay to the soil then capping it is that the clay is a beneficial thing when blended with the rest of the soil particles. Then the mineralized soil you have made is capped (covered) so the particles do not come out into the water.
What kind of substrate is in your 10 gallon tank? If it is a soil-like material, you might be able to use it, but to add the clay means redoing the whole tank. Take everything out, blend the substrate with the clay, and rebuild, including a cap over the substrate.
The Seachem product line is OK, if you don't mind paying for the shipping of water. Why not buy the active ingredients and add the water yourself? You can buy the dry fertilizers and dose whichever your tank needs.
However, there are 2 ways of using the Seachem product line for small tanks.
a) Get a very small eyedropper to measure the right dose.
b) Put a small amount of each Seachem product in a separate container, and dilute it with distilled water. Then dose according to how you have diluted it. Do not make up too much like this at a time (perhaps a week or two worth at a time.) Example:
Seachem Flourish Iron is dosed at 5ml/50gallons.
If you have a 10 gallon tank you only want 1ml. There are eyedroppers and children's medicine droppers (ask at a pharmacy) and syringes (no needle) that measure in this range.
If you want to dilute the Seachem product, here is an example: shake well, then measure 5ml fertilizer + 5ml distilled or reverse osmosis water.
Then dose the tank with 2ml per 10 gallons. If you do the initial mixing accurately, then this will give you a more accurate dosing.
However! The average 10 gallon tank does not hold 10 gallons even if all the substrate, decor, plants and fish are gone. If you are going to go to the effort of diluting the ferts to be more accurate, then you also need to be much more accurate as to EXACTLY how much water is REALLY in the tank.
Not worth it! Just get any of the eye dropper/syringe things and use that on the product as it comes out of the bottle. Reduce the dosing by 10 or 20% to account for the reduced volume of water in the tank. Dose a 10 gallon tank to suit 8 gallons of water. (.8ml, in this example)