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Old 04-28-2012, 04:37 PM   #361 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Aaron,

I believe my soil is ready. I've done the soak/dry process 5 times (got it to dry quickly by sifting most of the stuff beforehand, and spreading it REALLY thin). When it was last wet, it did have an odor, but it smelled like wet sand. Now that it is dry, I don't really smell anything. Is this ready to go?

Also, would using DIY co2 in the beginning be wise? I'm still pretty new to all of this and would hate to mess this up. This will be my 2nd planted tank, but the first tank I'm actually planning and putting real thought into.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:58 PM   #362 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

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Originally Posted by kaaayd View Post
Aaron,

I believe my soil is ready. I've done the soak/dry process 5 times (got it to dry quickly by sifting most of the stuff beforehand, and spreading it REALLY thin). When it was last wet, it did have an odor, but it smelled like wet sand. Now that it is dry, I don't really smell anything. Is this ready to go?

Also, would using DIY co2 in the beginning be wise? I'm still pretty new to all of this and would hate to mess this up. This will be my 2nd planted tank, but the first tank I'm actually planning and putting real thought into.
I'm sure it's probably ready to go by now.

Using DIY CO2 is just fine so long as your lighting isn't too high. If you have high lighting use pressurized CO2. Also, with DIY make sure to take precautions to keep the mixture from somehow entering your tank.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #363 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Thanks a lot! I really appreciate the article and the answers to my questions.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:43 AM   #364 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

I am going to try this method for my upcoming 50G low tech tank so thanks for the inspiration Aaron.

How is this different from the Walstad method as that style also uses a soil substrate? Is it that the soil is added without the soaking and drying process?

What is the advantage of the soaking/ drying instead of the Walstad method?

This may have been asked before in this thread, but it is a REALLY long thread and I couldn't find it in there.

Thanks
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:49 PM   #365 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Hi Aaron,

I decided to try and mix what sounded like 2 great ideas: Mineralized soil and the Dry Start Method.
I have a 40 gal breeder tank and I filled it with about 1 - 2 " of MTS just the way you laid it out in the insructions and I topped it off with Estes black aguarium gravel. I set it up with a large piece of mopani wood, 2 medium slate caves and 2 pieces of slate buried and I planted some mosses, marsilea quad, staurogyne repens and dwarf hairgrass for the front of the tank via the DSM misting the plants and substrate with conditioned water and excel mix. I had 2 - 39 watt T5HO 500K and 6700K lights on this tank got 10 hours a day. After a couple of weeks I noticed that nearly all of the plants turned brown with a couple turning cotton white. I have since removed them all and noticed s slight pungent odor so I wonder if I should just fill the tank and plant as usual? Thanks.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:56 AM   #366 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Do you have any idea what the shelf-life of Mineralized Top Soil is?

The reason I ask, is that I've been planning a new 120 tank, but am still about two months from putting water in it. Its September and I live in New Hampshire. If I start now, I can create the MTS with drying cycles outside, but the MTS will be ready before the tank, and I would have to store the dirt for a month or so. Is there a risk of bullding up organics again during that time?

Timing the MTS with the tank readiness would require waiting until October when weather is considerably cooler and there are the falling leaves and some pine needles to keep out of the mixture. I'm not optimisitic that October is a good month for outdoor drying, so if the MTS can't be stored for a month or so, then I think I'm looking at an indoor process which is less appealing.

What do you recommend?

As an aside, I assume I need to be careful with the product choice for the plastic drying tarp to avoid additives that kill bacteria so that stuff won't ultimately end up in the tank. Is a painters drop cloth a good choice?

Thanks
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:35 AM   #367 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Hi Aaron, Thanks a lot for the great article. I spent most of my day going through the pages of this thread. What an interesting read...

I want to try your method but I want to ask you about a challenge I am facing. I'm in Bangalore and what is readily available is red soil, and few garden stores prepare potting mix with red soil and organic manure. I was wondering if it would work. I asked in a few stores today and they only have red soil and stuff that they have made out of red soil. I see that in many gardens, this kind of mix is used for normal plants. I could still look around for normal black/brown soil but I wanted to know your opinion (and of other experts here) on this.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Last edited by kalarisamurai; 11-08-2012 at 06:45 AM..
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:05 AM   #368 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Quote:
Originally Posted by backflipfrontflip View Post
I am going to try this method for my upcoming 50G low tech tank so thanks for the inspiration Aaron.

How is this different from the Walstad method as that style also uses a soil substrate? Is it that the soil is added without the soaking and drying process?

What is the advantage of the soaking/ drying instead of the Walstad method?

This may have been asked before in this thread, but it is a REALLY long thread and I couldn't find it in there.

Thanks
The Walstad method relies on the breakdown of organic matter in the soil to provide adequate CO2 for plant growth. In the case of MTS we are mineralizing those organics to minimize the risk of the buildup of toxic gasses that can result from the decomposition process. It also allows one to use higher lighting and injected CO2 if one so desires though neither is by any means necessary to enjoy a tank with MTS substrate.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:06 AM   #369 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyR711 View Post
Hi Aaron,

I decided to try and mix what sounded like 2 great ideas: Mineralized soil and the Dry Start Method.
I have a 40 gal breeder tank and I filled it with about 1 - 2 " of MTS just the way you laid it out in the insructions and I topped it off with Estes black aguarium gravel. I set it up with a large piece of mopani wood, 2 medium slate caves and 2 pieces of slate buried and I planted some mosses, marsilea quad, staurogyne repens and dwarf hairgrass for the front of the tank via the DSM misting the plants and substrate with conditioned water and excel mix. I had 2 - 39 watt T5HO 500K and 6700K lights on this tank got 10 hours a day. After a couple of weeks I noticed that nearly all of the plants turned brown with a couple turning cotton white. I have since removed them all and noticed s slight pungent odor so I wonder if I should just fill the tank and plant as usual? Thanks.
This is late to the party, but I've never used the DSM myself. It sounds like maybe you had too much humidity.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:07 AM   #370 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewittenb View Post
Do you have any idea what the shelf-life of Mineralized Top Soil is?

The reason I ask, is that I've been planning a new 120 tank, but am still about two months from putting water in it. Its September and I live in New Hampshire. If I start now, I can create the MTS with drying cycles outside, but the MTS will be ready before the tank, and I would have to store the dirt for a month or so. Is there a risk of bullding up organics again during that time?

Timing the MTS with the tank readiness would require waiting until October when weather is considerably cooler and there are the falling leaves and some pine needles to keep out of the mixture. I'm not optimisitic that October is a good month for outdoor drying, so if the MTS can't be stored for a month or so, then I think I'm looking at an indoor process which is less appealing.

What do you recommend?

As an aside, I assume I need to be careful with the product choice for the plastic drying tarp to avoid additives that kill bacteria so that stuff won't ultimately end up in the tank. Is a painters drop cloth a good choice?

Thanks
You can store it for all eternity if you so desire.
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