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Is this cheaper than using commercial bagged substrates? (they aren't cheap for large tanks when you need like 3" of substrate).

Thanks a lot of this, I will have to try this out when I do a planted tank again.
 

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I know I might have missed this question already but thought I would ask again. I live in southern Indiana and where I live I have a lot of clay below my topsoil and in my top soil. Can I just use the clay that I have in the ground instead of the potters clay.

Thanks for any help. I definitely plan on using this forum to get my 30 gallon up and running.
 

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The added clay is for iron content if I remember correctly, and to help control cloudiness by flocculating loose particles (I may have mis-used that term). If you want to depend on the clay from your natural soil, you might be better to just use the entire soil itself for this process without adding any purchased topsoil (about the top 6 inches or so if you have a clay to clay-loam type soil). I did this, but I still find my tank to be a little low on iron and very low on potassium. (I used Beaumont Clay in Chambers County, TX if that means anything to you...you can actually find out what soil you are looking at digging up and its properties by visiting USDA's "web soil survey" and selecting your area of interest and then generate a soil map for it).
 

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CtxD2—Crider-Frederick silt loams, karst is what it says I have. That was a cool website. It told me more than I knew about my area. I plan on just using the soil I have. The only other question I have is that I sit right on lithic bedrock or limestone. Will this cause issue even after mineralizing my soil? Also if I do have issues with iron an potassium what would you suggest to increase both. Thanks for all of your help.
 

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Silt loam sounds perfect. That mean s a nice mix of clay, sand and silt, but just a bit more on the silty side. The "karst" refers to the limestone parent material. The only issue I would see is that you might have hard water in the tank. Unless you are trying to grow some rare or finicky plants, that should not give you many problems. You can add a thin layer of peat (make this a first layer, below your soil) and that will help soften and acidify the water, or at least nuetralize some of the hardness.

Use the mineralizing process as described in the first post. If you find yourself getting a defficiency, you can find several sources of iron and potassium supplement in liquid or solid form.
 

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I've set up an aquarium with the mineralized topsoil recipe and the plants are doing wonderful but it has become poison to my shrimp and snails. In a smaller aquarium where I used the soil but not the dolomite lime or muriate of potash my critters are fine. Is lime or potash deadly for invertebrates? Anybody been able to keep invertebrates in a mineralized aquarium?

Eric
 

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My shrimp and snails are fat and happy with MTS, KCL, and a hardscape of limestone rocks. Have you eliminated other possible causes for your problems with invertebrates?
 

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I'm struggling with it. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, less than 10ppm nitrates, 76 degrees. The tank had a copper treatment a year ago, but since then it's been gutted, cleaned, new filters, new substrate, etc. so I don't think that's it. I've spent some time on Google and can't find what else might be poisonous to invertebrates. ATM I'm just doing my water changes and hoping that whatever it is will work itself out in time, and will try again in a couple months.
 

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I've set up an aquarium with the mineralized topsoil recipe and the plants are doing wonderful but it has become poison to my shrimp and snails. In a smaller aquarium where I used the soil but not the dolomite lime or muriate of potash my critters are fine. Is lime or potash deadly for invertebrates? Anybody been able to keep invertebrates in a mineralized aquarium?

Eric
Hello,

I had the same problem a while ago, inverts kept dying, etc etc.

I have setup a mineralized aquarium (http://translate.google.com/transla...riofilia.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=154475) about a year ago, and only added any inverts after 6 months of maturation.

I am convinced that some ageing of the substrate is needed.

Good luck.
 

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first off. great thread. a lot of good info. im just getting my feet wet with this soil as a substrate thing. i was wondering if crushed oyster shell would be a decent substitute for the dolomite.

thanks
 

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I am at a halt on my collection of materials, since I can't get Muriate of Potash in Canada, its been banned.
I am not entirely sure where you have heard this. I called up 3 seperate garden centres here in Calgary and all of them carried Muriate of Potash for about $10/2kgs.

As that is more than I need I would be glad to mail you some for the cost of shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #294 ·
I've set up an aquarium with the mineralized topsoil recipe and the plants are doing wonderful but it has become poison to my shrimp and snails. In a smaller aquarium where I used the soil but not the dolomite lime or muriate of potash my critters are fine. Is lime or potash deadly for invertebrates? Anybody been able to keep invertebrates in a mineralized aquarium?

Eric
This can be an issue in new setups if too much KCL is used. Usually once it gets used up (3-6 months) it's no longer an issue. That said I've always kept snails and shrimp and not had problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #295 ·
first off. great thread. a lot of good info. im just getting my feet wet with this soil as a substrate thing. i was wondering if crushed oyster shell would be a decent substitute for the dolomite.

thanks
The dolomite is ideal because it breaks down nice and slow and it contains Mg as well as Ca. If your water source has adequate hardness already you can simply skip the dolomite and you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #296 ·
Hi aaron I was wondering where you got the 3M Colorquartz T-Grade Black Sand and how much it costs, I like the idea of the soil I'm going to try it for my first planted beta biotope, thanks for the idea by the way. and of course the instructions.
Unfortunately, 3M stopped making this product. :( The next closest thing is Spectraquartz, though I've yet to try it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #297 ·
would using garden soil (rinsing with water) which has no additivies skip the whole wet/dry cycle process? since this process is to remove organic matter, i would assume that soil which has been laying in the garden for a month would be well removed of organics
Using garden soil with no additives will work, but would still need to be mineralized as it will still contain organics despite not having them added.
 

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love this thread, I am in the process of making my first batch and its been fun. Its gonna be a big batch for a 240 gallon that I am gonna cap with eco complete left over from another aquarium. I have a couple of quick questions, I think I read through the whole thread hopefully i didn't miss them. I am curious as to how quick it is possible to complete the mineralization process. It is still hot here in ca 85+ and i can complete a wetting and drying cycle once a day. My question is would a week of wetting and drying be enough? The topsoil that I started with was already super mature. got it from a garden center were it had been sitting in an open bin for an extended period of time.
 

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I am curious as to how quick it is possible to complete the mineralization process. It is still hot here in ca 85+ and i can complete a wetting and drying cycle once a day. My question is would a week of wetting and drying be enough?
It was my experience to give the soil a few days to soak in water before starting to dry it out again. My soil would dry in two days and then I would soak it for 3-4 days.

I imagine you can achieve the same results in a week by drying it in the day and soaking it at night by spraying down soil in the evening and letting it sit overnight.
 
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