How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot - Page 2 - APC Library - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 06-16-2008, 01:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

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Originally Posted by Castaic Fisherman View Post
The montmorillonite is supposedly very good for fish and plants. Maybe I'll try both.
Sure, give it a try and report back to us how it works out. I can't imagine it would propose any huge issues if any at all.
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Aaron, could you give a general ballpark in terms of total overall cost? (Not per tank-wise, but with the materials you presented)

Are there any irregularities with the cycling process, or will planting the tank densely take care of most issues?

Have you noticed any effects on water parameters, or the general well-being of fish/shrimp/plants that are known to prefer softer water?

Finally, using the materials you presented, what's your estimate in terms of volume (in liters)?

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Old 06-29-2008, 01:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

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Originally Posted by erijnal View Post
Aaron, could you give a general ballpark in terms of total overall cost? (Not per tank-wise, but with the materials you presented)
Sure...

Topsoil: $2.00 / bag
Potash: $8.00 / bag
Clay: $15.00 / 13 lb. block (You can also use Laterite)
Dolomite $12.00 / bag
Top Layer $ ??? It depends on which one you choose.

The three additives are pretty much lifetime supplies so just figure on $2.00 / bag for topsoil from there on out.

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Are there any irregularities with the cycling process, or will planting the tank densely take care of most issues?
No, it seems to be pretty similar to cycling a tank with new Aquasoil. If it's been mineralized thoroughly any initial ammonia release should go away in a few days. It's not uncommon to experience algae in a fresh setup, but that's true with any new setup. Once the bacteria become established in the filter and substrate in a few weeks everything will stabilize and algae will begin to fade.

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Have you noticed any effects on water parameters, or the general well-being of fish/shrimp/plants that are known to prefer softer water?
No, I haven't noticed that it adds any significant hardness to the water parameters. I keep mostly softwater fish and have cherry, yellow and amano shimp in all of my tanks.

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Finally, using the materials you presented, what's your estimate in terms of volume (in liters)?
Estimate for what? I'm not sure I follow you?
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Thanks for taking the time to respond to all the questions Aaron

For the volume question, I was asking for an estimate on the volume of the muddy mixture that you could potentially put together. Looks like it's a weird question though, because you end up putting topsoil on it anyway.
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

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Originally Posted by erijnal View Post
Thanks for taking the time to respond to all the questions Aaron

For the volume question, I was asking for an estimate on the volume of the muddy mixture that you could potentially put together. Looks like it's a weird question though, because you end up putting topsoil on it anyway.
Hmm...I guess I'm still a little bit confused.

The materials will last you for a LOT of tanks if that's what you are asking.

As far as how much soil to prepare when making the muddy mixture I simply estimated the volume of mud to make about a 3/4" layer in the tank I'm setting up and then figure how high to fill the mixing vessel accordingly. Does that make more sense?
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

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Originally Posted by erijnal View Post
Thanks for taking the time to respond to all the questions Aaron

For the volume question, I was asking for an estimate on the volume of the muddy mixture that you could potentially put together. Looks like it's a weird question though, because you end up putting topsoil on it anyway.
You could potentially have tons of it - literally.

I had roughly 90 pounds of it (about 2 1/2 bags of topsoil in the beginning) when we set up my 180g. This is the raw mineralized soil, no additives yet.

Your main limitation is being able to add the clay into the mix effectively, I think. That 90 pounds was about the limit of what I can envision myself mixing at once, meaning mixing the dry prepared soil to the water/clay slurry. After that, you'd be talking concrete mixers to be able to mix it all up well, hehe.



Aaron, that is a really cheap price on muriate of potash! It cost me $22 for a 50 pound bag. Did find good clay sources a lot less than that, though, found some pottery supply houses - except, of course, smallest blocks I found were 25 pounds.

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Old 06-30-2008, 07:16 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

The potash I got was not nearly a 50 lb. bag of it. You truly have a lifetime's supply.

One other way to mix the clay is to set out the clay that you'd like to use and flatten it out a bit. Once it's dried out crush it into a powder and mix it into the soil. I believe you can also buy it in the powder form from pottery supply stores.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Has anyone used a non-inert substrate to cap off the mineralized soil?

For example, let's say you use AquaSoil, or Eco-Complete, or Fluorite as the substrate cap. Would this lead to never-ending algae woes?
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

It shouldn't pose a problem. I have my 75 gallon tank setup with Flourite Dark as a substrate cap and another with Soil Master Select as a substrate cap.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

looks great i have a 50 gl tank just getting things for it, how much clay to mix with the soil, thanks
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