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Aaron---

Very interesting write up! I am intrigued! I was wondering why you discourage the use of peat? Couldn't you put a fine (very fine and post-boiled) layer of it down during the dolomite/potash phase prior to adding the clay/soil mixture? Wouldn't this help to soften the water and reduce the pH a touch?

You could just filter water through boiled peat, but I am confused a bit by the purposeful "lack of initial" organics. Would this be due to the fact of a potential algal bloom then?
 

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in my experience, the original algal bloom lasts almost 2 months if you add some peat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
It doesn't change them as far as I know. Honestly, I don't really test my water much, but the last time I did it was pretty close to the tap.
 

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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.
I laughed pretty hard!:D

I bought top soil from homer depot and all it was, sand and mulch; I strained most of the heavy particulates and I ended up with pure sand.. dissapointing...
Than I decided to dig up some old fashioned soil in the back yard, heavy, mud-making stuff that worms crawl in. I followed the procedure, but I took it a step further and used a large kitchen strainer to remove all but the smallest pieces of particulates. In the end, I ended up with "black water" and let it settle for a few weeks. Some of the finest mud ever! then let it dry, wet again, etc. and all in all, it feels like a a bed of thick foamy sponge beneath the gravely sand I layed on top. plants love it and roors really start growing in the substrate!
 

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I laughed pretty hard!

I bought top soil from homer depot and all it was, sand and mulch; I strained most of the heavy particulates and I ended up with pure sand.. dissapointing...
Than I decided to dig up some old fashioned soil in the back yard, heavy, mud-making stuff that worms crawl in. I followed the procedure, but I took it a step further and used a large kitchen strainer to remove all but the smallest pieces of particulates. In the end, I ended up with "black water" and let it settle for a few weeks. Some of the finest mud ever! then let it dry, wet again, etc. and all in all, it feels like a a bed of thick foamy sponge beneath the gravely sand I layed on top. plants love it and roors really start growing in the substrate!
Im happy i could make you laugh. I also hope people learned to check the bag for whats actually in it. On the bright side im using it to grow some emrsed plants outside it works pretty good lol.
 

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This is very intriguing and I am hoping to use this method for my new 29 gallon tank. I was just wondering if you could store the mineralized soil in plastic bags maybe? I am in college and my apartment has no backyard or hose for that matter. I am heading home for a break and was just wondering if I could do it at home and store it to bring back with me? If anyone knows anything about that I would appreciate some insight. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
This is very intriguing and I am hoping to use this method for my new 29 gallon tank. I was just wondering if you could store the mineralized soil in plastic bags maybe? I am in college and my apartment has no backyard or hose for that matter. I am heading home for a break and was just wondering if I could do it at home and store it to bring back with me? If anyone knows anything about that I would appreciate some insight. Thanks.
Sure, there's no reason you can't keep it in bags, buckets or any other type of container.
 

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Mineralized Soil Substrate & dolomite

Does anyone have any extra dolomite they could part with?
Just keep in mind that the dolomite is for those folks with water that is too acidic! Not everyone needs dolomite. Out here in the Western U.S.A. most of our soils and water is basic, i.e. alkaline, i.e. high pH. Check your water's pH first before automatically adding dolomite. FWIW, Breck
 

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Does it help/speed up the process when blowing a computer fan over it? I guess it would aerate the soil some more and evaporate the water faster, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Does it help/speed up the process when blowing a computer fan over it? I guess it would aerate the soil some more and evaporate the water faster, right?
I can't see that helping all that much. Patience is really what gets the job done. :)
 

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Interesting! I've heard of mineralized soil before, but I don't believe I've heard the part of using clay in there. Any idea if thise would work as a substrate for emersed setups? Another question I have is regarding nutrients in the water column. Are there nutrients available in the water column for non rooted plants such as mosses or pellias?
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Interesting! I've heard of mineralized soil before, but I don't believe I've heard the part of using clay in there. Any idea if thise would work as a substrate for emersed setups? Another question I have is regarding nutrients in the water column. Are there nutrients available in the water column for non rooted plants such as mosses or pellias?
There's enough nutrients in the water column released by the plants themselves and the fauna in the tank to keep any epiphytes happy.

I am using this substrate in many of my emersed pots right now and it works great.
 

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Thanks for the quick rely Aaron. It's a bit cold here now so I guess i should start minearlizing the top soil. I'll try it out with an emersed setup first.

Wish me luck =p
 

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I'm really looking forward to trying this. Of course, we're getting our two weeks of rain right now, so I'll have to wait to dry it out.

I also appreciate how well written your instructions were. Wonderful!

Speaking as a horticulture student, I wanted to add a few words of caution or advice on comments I saw.

Muriate of potash is a common term in agriculture. We dose it on our orchards and soils a lot. It may have meant something technical a lot time ago (like a food Calorie = 1,000 heat calories) but for us Aggies, it's just something you dose with.

Dolomite should be readily found at any hardware store or garden center.

When digging up soil from a forest, if it's a pine forest, make sure to start digging below the layer of pine needles. Also keep in mind that pine forest soil is usually very acidic.

Thanks again for the wonderful article!
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
I'm really looking forward to trying this. Of course, we're getting our two weeks of rain right now, so I'll have to wait to dry it out.

I also appreciate how well written your instructions were. Wonderful!

Speaking as a horticulture student, I wanted to add a few words of caution or advice on comments I saw.

Muriate of potash is a common term in agriculture. We dose it on our orchards and soils a lot. It may have meant something technical a lot time ago (like a food Calorie = 1,000 heat calories) but for us Aggies, it's just something you dose with.

Dolomite should be readily found at any hardware store or garden center.

When digging up soil from a forest, if it's a pine forest, make sure to start digging below the layer of pine needles. Also keep in mind that pine forest soil is usually very acidic.

Thanks again for the wonderful article!
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. You can thank my lovely wife for editing well for easy reading. ;)

Yes, Muriate of potash is sort of a general term. In this case we're after KCL or potassium chloride.

The dolomite often found at garden centers is not always the same thing. A lot of times it has additives and such that we should avoid. We're looking for it in the crystal form as seen in this picture.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolomite

Yes, definitely dig down a bit if you're going to use soil from your own yard.

Good luck!
 
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