11-07-2011, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Dallas, Texas
| | Re: Substrate???!!!!
Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix will definitely work, but it is not my favorite. It has a lot of big woody pieces which should be removed by screening or by soaking and skimming. This wood will release tanins into the water (annoying but harmless) and will float if disturbed.
MGOCPM is 100% organic matter, and it is not completely decomposed. This makes it too rich. When first submerged, it releases a lot of ammonia. It also undergoes very rapid decomposition. This can cause big anaerobic areas in the substrate. Some anaerobic portions of the substrate are probably inevitable and not harmful, but too much is. . .too much.
So MGOCPM needs to be processed first. The minimal treatment is repeated soaking and rinsing. The best treatment is mineralization.
The reason that MGOCPM is so frequently recommended is that it is a very consistent nationally available product. Its drawbacks are predictable and solvable. You can be successful with it straight from the bag, IF you are patient, do lots of water changes for the first month or two, and do not put fish in the tank until it is cycled and stable.
People who have talked to me about this subject will notice that my opinions have changed a little, based on experience and research.