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Discussion Starter #21
looks great i have a 50 gl tank just getting things for it, how much clay to mix with the soil, thanks
Great, I'm glad you were inspired. Please share your experiences with us along the way. :D
 

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Thanks for posting. I want to try this with my next tank. I am using aquasoil now and already like it more then eco complete.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Thanks for posting. I want to try this with my next tank. I am using aquasoil now and already like it more then eco complete.
I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm excited to see so many people trying it out. :)
 

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AaronT

Im trying to do this again after my last fiasco i think im closer but:

i have gotten some type of white type of fungus? growing on the dirt during the drying phase. Also i have gone three times drying and the soil feels......like fiber, is this the grainy texture? Or by grainy did you mean more like sand? I am started one more dunk in the water the smell is almost gone:D.
no picture of fungus because i clean it off but is this fungus going to cause problems?


On a side note if you remember i told you how bad it went last time and how the trees dumped pine nuts and cotton wood seeds in the dirt, well i dumper that mix and just let it sit, now their are like three trees that are growing out of it, 1 pine and 2 cotton woods LOL. the seeds never take off in the garden around here but seem to like the partly mineralized soil.
 

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Shouldn't feel like fiber. Grainy as in sandy, is exactly correct.

Are you possibly using organic soil, potting soil, something like that? Fibrous is not what I think of when thinking of cheap topsoil, and cheap topsoil is what you should be mineralizing - the absolute cheapest bag you can find, the $1.50 kind of bag.

I've never seen any molding, but white mold makes sense with every high fiber content mix, it'd be the wood. Feeling like fiber sounds like there is an awfully high wood chip/pulp content in the topsoil you are using, which is why I ask what the beginning product was.


I sift the soil at the end, and remove all the little wood chips and such - what I end up with after sifting feels like ashes almost, super fine, dust.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Mold suggests to me that there are still organics in the soil. Ingg is right that it should feel sandy, not fibrous. Fibrous probably means there are lots of leaves and possible peat in the mixture. Try sifting it to see how it comes out.
 

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does this mean i have to start over again? can i screen the wood out? This stuff was .75cents a bag i figured that was the "cheap" top soil as it cant get much cheaper. if this stuff is trash im grabbing the shovel and headed to the forest out back and getting that soil after all the next step in cheap top soil is free top soil lol. and i can screen it before i start AGAIN.



edit:OMG THIS STUFF DOESNT HAVE ANY SOIL IN IT DOES IT?????????? HAVE I BEEN PLAYING IN MANURE MUD AND WOOD? FOR NO REASON ???????AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :clock::clock::clock::clock::clock::clock:

The ingreadeints list just hit me no wonder this "TOP SOIL" is so cheap....... thiers no top soil in it. just poop and wood. so gross.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Yup, that's what's known as a soilless mix. It's added to the dirt from your yard or wherever to add organic materials. You need the dirt part. ;)

Do you have a yard or know someone with a yard that will let you dig a little bit of dirt out?
 

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theirs a forest behind my place. So sad! I will go get the shovel.

I try to look at the brighter side of things but all i see today is a wet pile of woody pooh. LOL
 

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I'm sorry oregon aqua, but your last two posts seriously made me laugh sooo hard. Especially the edit to your Ingredients post


That sucks man. The mineralized soil sounds really promising, but if I found out that the soil I was wetting and drying for the past week and a half was actually not soil.. I'd be pretty discouraged

Good luck!!!
 

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Has anyone used a non-inert substrate to cap off the mineralized soil?

For example, let's say you use AquaSoil, or Eco-Complete, or Fluorite as the substrate cap. Would this lead to never-ending algae woes?
I'm using Flourite Black Sand as a cap since I already had some on-hand. I'm waiting on my plants to arrive so I can see how everything works out.
 

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looks great i have a 50 gl tank just getting things for it, how much clay to mix with the soil, thanks
I ended up with a mix of 2 lbs montmorillite clay and about 6 lbs of soil. I'm heavier in clay than the recipe but it should work fine. I'll know in about one week when my plants arrive. BTW, I used about 1/2 of the mix for my 12 gallon tank.
 

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I am going to have to take a stab at this soon.. like I said in the other thread.. I am totally inspired to do this. great article Aaron
 

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hey Aaron... can you give me a link to where you got your clay and potash? the others I can find locally. I started the mineralizing process of the soil. I have 2 bags of soil soaking for the second time in 2 separate containers. I mixed the soil up well breaking up all of the large balls of dirt prior to adding the water. I mixed it up good when I added the water as to make it all saturated. for my 75 gallon.. how many lbs of top soil should I need? TIA Ken
 

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I'm having trouble finding dolomite. Is this a necessary ingredient, is there a substitute? I've tried several aquatic/marine stores/websites and can't find it.
 

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Aaron is away on vacation, but I can try to help you guys out in the meantime until he gets back :)

If you can find crushed coral, you can crush it more and use that as the source of Calcium carbonate (i.e. dolomite).

Aaron found all his stuff locally iirc, but he may have links for possible places when he gets back. For a 75 gallon tank, mineralizing a 40lb bag of topsoil would be a good start.
 

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I have started to mineralize 2 40lb bags as of now. I will have to get some of the crushed coral as well. thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Hey folks. I'm back from the beach. Send me a PM and I can help you out with the materials to get you started. I've still got a pretty good supply.
 

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Aaron,

What do you see as the difference between your process and just using topsoil dug up from the yard? the rain wets the soil and the sun dries it repeatedly. Just curious I have always used topsoil in my tanks for the last 20 years but this process sounds interesting and I'm going to try it soon.

Also on the need for added K, What about finding a source of potash still in a large chunk, place it in the tank and let it slowly dissolve? It may take a few tries to get the right amount. I have always shrived to have tanks that do not need to be messed with on a regular basis, That's why I have never dosed ferts in a tank, I know I will skip them and the tank will crash.

Brian
 
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