Want to try soilmaster select charcoal but i am really scared. - Substrates - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 02-09-2007, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Want to try soilmaster select charcoal but i am really scared.

Ok after reading every thing here about all the KH and pH problems.

https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ph-and-kh.html

I am thinking that it may be stupid for me to use this in my tank.

Here are my current stats

Tap water left out over night.

pH 7.6
KH 7d
GH 8d

Out of the tanks with co2 injected.

pH 6.4
Kh 7d
GH 10d

I REALLY REALLY like the cost of soilmaster select but don't want to mess up my tank adding it. I plan to wash it very well and as long as i do it wih flourite. Flourite cost me 20.00 a bag +tax where as soilmaster select cost me 17.00 for 50lbs. Not a bad deal if i may say so my self.

What should i do?
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Old 02-09-2007, 10:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have soilmaster select in my 125 gallon tank for 7 months now. I had no problems with growing plants. The only thing that I hate about soilmaster is the mess. No matter how many times you prewash it, it still leaves a mess when you touch the substrate. A brown cloud appears each time. I have put aqua soil in my 30 gallon and I love it, but for the cost to redo my 125 gallon would be something like $300.00 thats a lot for a substrate. PH and KH are fine although I still have a diatom problem which may or may not be related to the soil master. hope this helps....
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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For what its worth, I know a few people that use it, and they swear by it. Never used it myself however. I would like to try it, but its not sold in my area.
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I personally think you should try it. The people who have issues seem to all have water with 2degrees kH or less, from the tap. I have kH of 4-5 and have used it on one tank with no issues. I also believe that initial dosing of KNO3 and KH2PO4 will help combat the kH removing tendency, though I still don't fully understand how it removes the carbonates (I suspect it has something to do with removing the H+ from the bicarbonates and due to the strength of H-O bonds it is possible that stripping an H actually breaks up the whole ion, though I have no idea)

Anyway, a good rinse and soak should alleviate your concerns or any potential problems. If you do soak it for a few days, might as well add a strong potassium source to the water and even some Mg and Ca. This should pre-load the substrate a bit-> good for the plants.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just get it and use it. Any ph or KH problems are easily solved with baking soda and it only fluctuates the first couple days anyway. I have been using it since november of last year and have had ZERo problems. It does stir up a cloud when its disturbed, yesterday i pulled a 5 gallon bucket-full of hygrophila polysperma out roots and all, and replaced it with a patch of water wisteria that had grown humongous floating in my tank. The cloud dissipated in less than 2 hours and that was practically an entire tank being uprooted. I did not rinse, stir, or soak it either, I just dumped it in right out of the bag(dust and all) and added water, the only other thing i do is add EI ferts about once a week if i remember to do it. My fish are doing awesome as well. I will not use anything else but soilmaster in my tank, unless I cant get it anymore then ill use pool filter sand.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I rinsed my Soilmaster for about 30 minutes to an hour, and i did about 35lbs of it. When i stir up the bucket the SMS is sitting in, the water stays clear. Hopefully it stays the same in the tank.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've used Soilmaster Select (SMS) Charcoal in two tanks now with no issues. Then again, I loaded the initial fill water with KNO3 and KH2PO4 as Dennis suggested. My water is fairly hard with around 5dKH and 10 dGH.

I will soon be setting up a 120g with more SMS. I really like it though some complain that it is too light weight. I haven't had problems with planting most plants. Thicker stemmed plants without roots (i.e. recently trimmed) like Pogostemon stellatus 'Broad Leaf' and Hygrophila balsamica tend to float up on occasion but I had the same problems with Eco Complete. To me it is worth the cost savings when compared to other plant substrates out there.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Well I just did a 20 long with SMS to grow out nothing but HC.
This is kind of an experiment because I will be setting up a 20 long right next to it with the same water, the same lighting and Co2 and the same dosing schedule, but the 2nd tank will be Aquasoil.
I will be happy to report back the findings as I am sure you will all be very interested to see what happens.
For the record, I expect the Aquasoil to grow it faster and possibly healthier, but I have high hopes for the SMS.
Two days after the initial plant in the SMS, with HC planted approx 1/2 distance between stems, it was pearling pretty well, so that is a good thing.

I think if I can get Chiahead to break out his camera, we will start a journal with weekly pics right after we set up the Aquasoil HC tank, probably this weekend.

EDIT: Oh yeah, in the SMS tank, we layered a very thin layer of Peat, a thin layer of Laterite, another thin layer of silica sand, then about 2.5 to 3" of SMS

The Aquasoil will go in about 2.5 to 3" thick but all by it's self.
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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when you mention preloading the first filling of water, how much KNO3 and KH2PO4 do you actually use per number of gallons or per inches of substrate?
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feistyfish View Post
when you mention preloading the first filling of water, how much KNO3 and KH2PO4 do you actually use per number of gallons or per inches of substrate?
That is a really good question. Any got an answer?
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