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is this soil fully mineralized?

I did the soak/dry process 3 times. should i do it another time?

this is a really close shot of the dirt, im going to try to find a really fine sieve to get the remaining little bits of twigs and wood.
It's hard to say from just a picture. You'll definitely want to sift out all of those twigs and wood like you said. Once that is done it should feel like sandy dirt and it should have no foul smell when wet for long periods of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #483
This is the red pottery clay i got, will this work?
Does it have a list of ingredients? Sometimes they add mold inhibitors. If it doesn't say specifically you might call the 1-800 number on the package and inquire.
 

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So, virtually all "topsoil" contains peat these days, it seems. At least that's what all the major brands say in their composition lists and msds sheets. The "go with the cheapest one" method sounds fine to me, but I just wanted to confirm, since everyone suggests not using peat.

Thanks!
 

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Thanks for this wonderful article and all the help. My 110 MTS tank, capped with ecocomplete and floramax is all setup! this is 7 days in. no immediate problems so far!



Video!

 

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Thanks for the update Sean W. :) I'm glad it's working well for you so far.

greenkeeper - how's the soil in your yard?
 

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Wow! This must be one of the hottest thread in APC although I only post a one sentence post to show my gratitude towards this thread started by Aaron. I have just realised that it is going to reach 50 pages soon (maybe this post has reached 50 pages).

Since reading this thread years ago, I have used this method a few times. I still have a 15 gallon tank using such method today and it's still doing well except for the large amount of BBA attacking the rocks.

The first time I setup one of such tank, I was using top soil. The second tank, I could not find any top soil, so I used clay. I tore down the first tank and re-setup using the same top soil 1-2 years later. The second tank using clay didn't do very well, so I replaced it with ADA Amazonia soil.

All the while I didn't use any dolomite and potash - I could not find them. I could find crushed corals but my water was not acidic, so I thought I didn't need any.

The outcome was not as impressive as Aaron's tank but I was happy with my experiment. Obviously I enjoyed playing with mud....without manure, of course :) I'm glad that I could keep the plants alive using this method even though I killed more 10-20 or more varieties of plants along the way in my experiment (I got most of the plants free of charge anyway from friends). At least I managed to learn what plants work for me using this method - Crypt wendtii, Ludwigia repens and Elianthium tenellum work very well for me (still have them today). Corkscrew vallisneria worked very well too but I got rid of them when they tried to dominate the entire tank.

Once again, I would like to thank Aaron for this wonderful thread that inspired me to experiment with the mud. However. my wife will be cursing at you if she knows about you because...... I messed up the bathroom a few times....hahaha
 

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This is absolutely the single most awesome thread that kick started my planted tanks. I have had such tremendous success with MTS (Though just like Totzien I never used KCL, I did use argonite/crushed coral).




Both of these tank were run on pure MTS with DIY CO2.
 

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Thanks for sharing your tanks Tanan. :D
 

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Hi,

I juste discover this soil recipe a few weeks ago and I'm now trying to do it.
So a week ago I have soaking the soil for 2 days and I'm now drying it. But, the temperature is low in my garage (it is almost winter season in fhe east of france where I live) and it's very long to dry. So every day I stir a little bit the soil to make it well aerated. The smelling is almost done and I think (but not really sure) the soil is almost fully mineralized.

Do you think I will have to do some more soaking and drying cycle or it is good like that ?
the soil is drying for 7 days now and still moist and I think I need at least 5 days more to dry it completely.

And what do you think about adding with dolomite and muriate of potash some potash bicarbonate for buffering water ?

Thank you.

Antoine.
 

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Aaron,
Thanks for the great information on this thread. I have a question regarding the clay that I have. I have a bag of Oil-Dri that I plan on using for my clay, but I am not sure the percentage of Oil-Dri to soil. This is my first attempt at the Walstad method, so I am really nervious about messing it up.
Also, for give me for my ignorance, but what is the Dolomite and Muriate of Potash for? And where do I purchase it?

Thanks again
 

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Aaron,
Thanks for the great information on this thread. I have a question regarding the clay that I have. I have a bag of Oil-Dri that I plan on using for my clay, but I am not sure the percentage of Oil-Dri to soil. This is my first attempt at the Walstad method, so I am really nervious about messing it up.
Also, for give me for my ignorance, but what is the Dolomite and Muriate of Potash for? And where do I purchase it?

Thanks again
So, first off, The Walstad method and the mineralized topsoil method are different. Obviously, I prefer the latter. ;)
Walstad says to throw in dirt with lots of organics and cap it. The MTS method breaks down those organics into minerals. This process eventually happens with the Walstad method too as the plants grow and the roots oxygenate the soil. The MTS wasy is just a quicker, safer way to get there.

If you use the Oil-Dri for your clay source you'll want to crush it into a powder and mix it in with the dry mineralized soil. Adding the clay does a few things. It improves CEC (cation exchange coefficiency), which allows the roots to take up nutrients more easily. It acts as a flocculant by binding with the finer soil particles and allowing them to settle from the water column if disturbed. It provides a source of iron at the roots. Use a ratio of 5-10% clay : 90-95% soil.

The dolomite provides a source of both calcium and magnesium. The 'dolomite' sold in garden centers is the wrong stuff. That is actually dolomitic lime, which is essentially crushed limestone with some dolomite added to it. Using that will wreak havoc on your KH and pH. The stuff I sent you is pure dolomite, just calcium and magnesium. You don't need a lot. Just a little dusting will do. Refer to the pictures in the article for reference.

The muriate of potash is a commercial name for potassium chloride (KCl) that farmers use. You can just simply find any source of KCl and use that if you can't find the potash. This provides an initial potassium source and is safer to use in the substrate than potassium sulfate because the sulfates could potentially cause issues with hydrogen sulfide formation in the substrate. Again, just a dusting so you can still see through the bottom glass still is all you need. You'll find after 3-6 months you'll need to start dosing K in the water column, but that should be all you need to dose.
 

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AaronT - :hail:I assume that with the time of the year that we are in that it would be ill advised to try and begin this process now as the wet dirt would freeze. Any recommendations as to how this could be achieved if wanting to setup durring winter. Also. your original instructional post - the pictures dont work. Any way of fixing that for all of us late viewers?
 

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If you don't have a wife, you can do it indoors in the empty aquarium. A less divorce prone option would be to use the garage if you can keep it above freezing.
 

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Ugh, I had hosted them on APC so they wouldn't get lost. I guess in the few ownership exchanges since then the albums got deleted. I'll work on getting them hosted somewhere else and fix them soon.

To answer the question regarding time of year, yes, you definitely are better off doing it in the summer if you are doing it outside. A member of our local club actually laid down plastic in his spare bathtub and did it inside because he had a condo at the time. He is still happily married. Your results may vary. ;)
 

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Ugh, I had hosted them on APC so they wouldn't get lost. I guess in the few ownership exchanges since then the albums got deleted. I'll work on getting them hosted somewhere else and fix them soon.
Awesome. That would be greatly appreciated.

To answer the question regarding time of year, yes, you definitely are better off doing it in the summer if you are doing it outside. A member of our local club actually laid down plastic in his spare bathtub and did it inside because he had a condo at the time. He is still happily married. Your results may vary. ;)
Results may vary? Is this because it wouldnt be drying in the sun, or for some other reason?
 

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Ugh, I had hosted them on APC so they wouldn't get lost. I guess in the few ownership exchanges since then the albums got deleted. I'll work on getting them hosted somewhere else and fix them soon.
This looks to be a problem with the script that calls up the image.
/forumapc/aquarium-pictures/displayimage.php

It's not able to display ANY images. I've reported it to the site's support/admins.
 

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Results may vary? Is this because it wouldnt be drying in the sun, or for some other reason?
Results of spousal approval of using one's bathtub for such purposes may vary. ;) Scientifically speaking, it will work.
 

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The photos and links to photos in the original article have now been restored. :D
 
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