Aquatic Plant Forum banner

earthworm castings

3450 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  aquabillpers
would it work as a first layer or would it be to rich in organic matter?
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Earthworm castings are pretty high in nitrogen. It would have to be apretty thin layer or soaked somehow. It is a pity that they dont hold their shape in water, they look better then aquasoil fresh.
I do vermicomposting (worm bins) which was one of my other interests before NPT, and one thing that can happen is that vermicompost when dried are rock hard. If you dried them up and then crush them adding to your soil that maybe okay.

I don't know if there would be too much nuturients and may make your water muddy. Don't really know.
thanks for the replies
would it work as a first layer or would it be to rich in organic matter?
This is something I find interesting and puzzling...

Although I have heard this discussion before, I've never seen any conclusive evidence to say yes castings are too rich or that they should not be used. I'm not sure why soil that has passed through a worm and had nutrients extracted from it (which is after all why the worms eat soil unless I am mistaken about their diet) would be more rich than the soil was before.

I suppose it depends on how rich whatever the worms are eating is - does anyone know what a typical commercial castings farm might "feed" their worms? Is it always fresh compost? I'm wishing I paid more attention to the episode of Dirty Jobs where they went to the worm farm!
As I understand it, works don't really eat "dirt". They eat partially decayed plant and animal matter in the soil. The stuff they eat just looks like dirt to the naked eye. Earthworm casting is really decaying plant and animal matter that is partially digested.
Cow, horse, and pig manures contain a lot of organics and are dangerous to use in a NPT or anywhere else. I suspect that earthworm manure ("castings") are similar.

For plants, worm castings tend not to burn plants.
The casting are suppose to release the nutrient slowly.
It still would be interesting what would happen.
The bacteria on the castings might not survive in the water.
I would think the castings wouldn't be much worse than the topsoil I'm using since it has a lot of decaying matter (cheap red bag from Lowes).
Cow, horse, and pig manures contain a lot of organics and are dangerous to use in a NPT or anywhere else. I suspect that earthworm manure ("castings") are similar.

That was my first instinct as well - but farm animal manure, is basically pure waste. When you think about what worms are eating (bits of organics they find mixed in with soil) they are using up organic matter (as they add body mass it has to come from somewhere) but some of the soil is also passing through them, they are essentially further composting the soil they are living in unless I misunderstand things.

For example, this page discusses worm castings and soil and (right at the bottom) says:

"The total mineral balance is not increased by worm activity. Rather the conversion changes the amount of nutrient available to the plant. The minerals have been changed form an insoluble form to a plant - available, soluble form."

This sure sounds a lot like some of what might be happening if you soak and dry your soil a few times like AaronT indicates in the library article on DIY mineralization of soil.
See less See more
Worm bins compost paper products and kitchen scraps. It's a common school project. Look Here. "Compared to ordinary soil, the worm castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus and 11 times more potassium. They are rich in humic acids and improve the structure of the soil." Worm castings are part of soil, but so are sand/clay/gravel...
I believe Ms Walstad once said a little bit of regular kitchen compost would be ok. So maybe a little worm castings on the bottom layer would be ok. I'd sure like to hear about your results if you try it.
ya it would seem to help the forum out trying new things...ill try to get a jar test within few weeks depending on shipping
Worm castings are definitely a viable substrate. There's an old 2004 thread on here about a method by Brazilian Vladimir Simoes.

I've currently got a 2.5G tank setup using this method, with no CO2, and after a slow start, some of the plants are growing a little bit better. You can read about my experiment here:

I'm currently beginning to contemplate setting up a larger tank with this method, that has CO2 and better lights, to fully test it out. I think I'll likely borrow some of the knowledge from AaronT's soil substrate method, but using worm castings instead:

I hope this helps a bit.
See less See more
Hi all:)

I could find a nursery where he has Generic potting soil with leaf mold in it.
He also said that he has vermicompost which can be mixed with it.
Is it safe to use his combination of Generic potting soil with leaf mold + vermicompost,or only Generic potting soil with leaf mold will do?
If his mixture is safe,what should be the mixing ratio of vermicompost to the Generic potting soil with leaf mold?

I think that mixture would supply far more nutrients to the water column than a NPT could handle. The result would be an algae farm.

But I could be wrong.

If you go that route, please let us know how you make out after, say, three months.

1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.