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Thanks for the article.

I'm wondering if potassium sulfate be substituted for posassium chloride? I already have some potassium sulfate handy.
 

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After reading the following information:
Muriate of Potash: It's odd how this old-fashioned name remains in use! Muriate comes from Muria, the Latin for brine. Muriate of potash is potassium chloride containing between 50 and 60 per cent potash. It was deposited eons ago by ancient seas and should be considered a natural product, blessed by organocultists, but it is not. Its chlorine content passes off rapidly when applied to soil. As explained under soil organisms, however, muriate of potash is harmful to certain beneficial bacteria. Some authorities think sulfate of potash makes a better potash fertilizer.
http://www.improve-your-garden-soil.com/potassium-and-soil-potash-fertilizer.html

I'm a little concerned about the potash. Is there any truth to this?
 

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chloride and chlorine are not the same things...I really don't think that site knows what they are talking about.....
 

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Hi,

I would like to say thank you for such a detailed post. I'm new to planted tanks and this is by far the most helpful site I've seen.

I'm about to give the top soil a try, but i was unable to find the 2 items listed below.


• Dolomite (I bought Dolomite for orchids at Bunnings-then found out I shouldn't be using it..)
• Muriate of potash (found some at bunnings as well but it is in a packet of soil)

Does anyone know where in melbourne-aus, I can get these from?

Also the Top soil I bought has something called a "Wet agent" can i still use that?
 

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Hi _PhanToM_,

I'm in Brisbane-aus and couldn't find any suitable soil in bags at the Bunnings here. It all contains wetting agent, mulch and fertilizer. In the end I went to a local landscaping supplier and bought plain top soil. It's grey with a sandy texture and looks like the stuff in the article.

Dolomite should be available at K-mart etc. Why don't you think you should be using the one you bought for orchids?

I'm going to substitute Sulfate of Postash(K2SO4) for the Muriate of Potash(KCl) unless someone can come up with a downside. I've used it previously in my tanks as an ingredient in liquid fertilizer and nothing has died so far :p. I can't see why it would cause any harm and the chloride in the KCl won't be providing any benefit while the sulfur can be used by the plants. The Muriate of Potash doesnt seem to be readily available here in any case.

I won't be going nuts with either the dolomite or potash. Just a little sprinkle.
 

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Hi Technics

The reason I dont think I should be using Dolomite from a garden store is because I read a reply on this thread.. it said.
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
Thanks for your response I will be going to K-mart tomorrow and will go look for top soil that doesn't contains "wet agent".
 

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I searched all over Adelaide for top soil in bags and no one had any. Bunnings sell top-soil but you'll need to speak to someone there about it. They usually have a little sample shelf near the outdoor section.
 

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Muriate of Potash is a old fashion name it is also known as; Potassium Chloride; Potassium Muriate; Potassium Monochloride.

soil with wetting agents in it is probably not going to work. Most agents work by eating through the waxy build up on the soil to allow the water to pass through easier. But they also can eat the waxy protective layer on roots, leaves and new stems, damaging plants. Wetting agents are used more in desert areas where water is more short supply.

maybe you could just grab a shovel, that's what i had to do in the end as i could never find just regular top soil. :brick:
 

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Wetting agents are used more in desert areas where water is more short supply.
This pretty much describes the whole of Australia :).

Some of the chemicals readily available here seem to vary. This, I assume, is because what is sold is what is produced locally. The dolomite sold here does look different to what is shown in the wikipedia entry but it is the only thing available as far as I'm aware. It should still be mostly calcium magnesium carbonate.

I found some plain soil without the additives and I'm going to try this using what I can get my hands on. I don't see why some substitution would be a problem. The original recipe doesn't exactly call for you to pull out the scales and precisely weigh everything.
 

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well then I better grab a shovel too. I don't have much of a garden where I live, lets hope there is a park somewhere close by and I don't get arrested. LOL.

Imagine explaining that to the police, "but it's for my tank."

Thanks for all your replies, Will give this a try and post some pics up in a few weeks.

:)
 

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Thanks very much for your article, I look forward to trying this. I have a question as to which pottery clay is better. When I've taken pottery courses, we've had access to 2 types of clay, a reddish brown one and a light grey one. It sounds from reading the posts that you've preferred the red one - is that correct, or do you think it will make a difference?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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Imagine explaining that to the police, "but it's for my tank."
Hehe, this is exactly what went through my mind when I called my cousin in construction. "Can I come to your work site and dig up some soil?" "Um, sure...but why?" "It's for my fish tank!" I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees the humor in this!
 

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This is my recent 10 gallon setup, AaronT. Just a couple questions, will growth be as fast as if you were water column dosing? With a lot of co2 and high light. By the way, how do you measure out 0.5 ppm of potassium to dose after the potassium source has run out on my 10 gallon? Thanks Aaron!

 

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Awesome article Aaron, guess my hopes arent up when i got overwhelmed into planted tank. Especially the after math of setting one up, with the idea of dosing etc etc.........n the cost factor.

I definitely will give this method a try, with my low-tech setup hopefully it will provide some beneficial growth for some of the fauna in my tank. And not make some of look brown, or leaves that are curling.

Anyhooo few questions:

1. Dolomite ? Is this important to add during the initial setup ?

Reason i am asking i saw a reply in here, saying
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
Out here in Ontario, Canada the water isnt acidic at all, just stays are neutral 7.6ppm

2. Through this method would be a good idea to vacuum the gravel or not ?

3. Would this method also create a form of anerobic state, at the wee bottom layer ?

4. How far down should the plants be put into the gravel for those that require too ?

Thanks In Advanced,
-Seb
 

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Hi guys,
I now have a 20l tank set up to with top soil, white sand, I’ve followed every step of the guide and included a DIY Co2 system. It's been about a month and the riccia is starting to look good.
However, the GH and KH has increase substantially, it was so high that it fell of my chart from the test kit, could this be happening because I had put in too much dolomite or potassium? The water is also looking a little yellowish and the ammonia level is over 1.5.
I am planning to do a full water change today, any advice on this is appreciated as I am a noob at plant keeping.

:p
 

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It could be the white sand adding hardness to your water. I always had relatively soft water at my old residence and never had issues with the soil raising the hardness substantially.

The ammonia will level out eventually. The yellowish water could be the start of a green water bloom. I've gone through a few of those and they eventually run their course once the tank settles in fully. A few more weeks and it should be well cycled.
 
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