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I don't have an opinion on most of the ingredients but I do know that a lot of available Calcium really promotes the plant growth.

One thing about an engineered substrate like that would be to try to make it with a tendency to hold the nutrients more than to release them in the water. I guess CEC is what needs to be tweaked just right. If we look at the ADA system using common sense that is exactly what they do - the liquid fertilizers are added to the water but are meant to feed the plants through the roots. They are not meant to float free in the water and they are not added in ungodly amounts (so to always provide a great environment for the algae). The properties of the substrate really make a difference if one uses it as intended.

Please don't give up on that project. I'd like to see more and more reasonable ideas/implementations like this one. So we all get out from the rut we have bogged in this hobby for a long time.

--Nikolay
 

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Dug a little deeper on the shrimp issue:
http://www.azomite.com/index.php?op...icle&id=77:shrimp-studies&catid=44&Itemid=152

This would definitely suggest that it would be quite alright, if not beneficial for shrimp. I am thinking that while it is 12 ppm copper in the azomite, that will be mixed with all the other stuff, and then it will still be mostly water in your tank, diluting it much further. Prolly shouldn't pose a threat I suppose. I am pretty sure CSM+b has some copper and I know that flourish does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
...and if you cap with the substrate I mentioned earlier and that I have recently fallen in love with, as seen here, http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=5163+5178+14264&pcatid=14264, you'll have a ridiculous CEC that will sequester all those nutrients away for later, more efficient use. Maybe there is the potential to abandon water column dosing after all that? I don't know, but I consider that a personal goal of mine.

This stuff is the bomb, by the way. As near as I can figure it is 70% arcillite (highly calcined [fired] monmorillonite clay) and 30% zeolite. It's very light but doesn't get airborne the way Turface or Oil Dri does and holds down plants nicely. It's burrower friendly, the color leaves a lot to be desired but I can look past that and it is way cheaper than anything else I've run across. The stuff is so adsorptive that it sucked out the calcium from my tap water (in Texas, this is called liquid concrete) making it nice and soft and the silicic acid from a new tank so no diatoms. 24 hours after installing it I had to top up the tank a full inch of water because it drew that much into itself.

This will be the substrate of the future and this MTS recipe will hopefully be there under it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Dug a little deeper on the shrimp issue:
http://www.azomite.com/index.php?op...icle&id=77:shrimp-studies&catid=44&Itemid=152

This would definitely suggest that it would be quite alright, if not beneficial for shrimp. I am thinking that while it is 12 ppm copper in the azomite, that will be mixed with all the other stuff, and then it will still be mostly water in your tank, diluting it much further. Prolly shouldn't pose a threat I suppose. I am pretty sure CSM+b has some copper and I know that flourish does.
I would feel even better about this if I could find one more independent study or many more, even. I will trust this company and their work for the moment. Their numbers are believable but there's nothing wrong with wanting some gravy too, I think.
 

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I really want to give this a try, I am currently setting a 240 planted tank and have already started the MTS process. I would love to find some humus to use instead, but all the stuff I seem to find here is still very organic. Would the substrate/cap that you listed in your last post be superior to eco complete? I have about 3 1/2 bags of eco left from a tank that I tore down and was gonna wash it and cap with that for the CEC property of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I really want to give this a try, I am currently setting a 240 planted tank and have already started the MTS process. I would love to find some humus to use instead, but all the stuff I seem to find here is still very organic. Would the substrate/cap that you listed in your last post be superior to eco complete? I have about 3 1/2 bags of eco left from a tank that I tore down and was gonna wash it and cap with that for the CEC property of it.
I think it is, but don't take my word for it. There are a number of articles out there comparing the CEC of various materials and arcillite was the highest and most accessible. This section of this article is what started me on my quest, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cation-exchange_capacity#Standard_values. After that, some better understanding and some really gnarly googling, the choice became clear to me. A similar thing happened when I was looking into MTS after the fact and that's how I ended up here. I've probably been thinking about this for 2 years now and figured the time was coming to at the very least say something to someone and find out how right or wrong I am. So far, a few indicators look positive ;).
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Niko, your inbox is full...
 

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any idea as to how much not using humus would effect your recipe? the only source I can find local for humus is indoor grow stores and they are selling it by the .5 cubic foot bag for a healthy price. also there is no way i can see whether there is anything organic left in it without buying one of each brand. I am interested in the recipe and willing to try it. my batch of dirt should be done fairly quickly since it is still warm here 85+ most days. what do you think is the fastest I could feel comfortable completing the mineralization of the soil? I was imagining 2-4 wetting and drying cycles?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I follow Aaron Talbot's guide pretty closely doing 4-6 cycles. That's worked well for me so I stick to it.

As far as the price of humus, a hardware store or gardening supply center will have your back, especially in the Autumn or Spring. Google is also your friend in finding good brands and deals and don't be afraid to call the distributor and ask questions. I have no problem doing that because I like to be sure of my sources.

If you have the soil about ready to go, try adding everything else sans the humus and see how it goes. I think there is probably more margin for error than I think. Ultimately, MTS made the traditional way shouldn't be that much different from good humus and vice versa. You're just speeding through the composting process is all at the end of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Here's what I think we needed: http://www.outdoorlivingbymrmulch.com/browse.cfm/organic-peat-humus-40-pound-bag/4,128.html.

The real stuff, proper peat humus and at $2.90 per 40 pound bag that's exactly right. They also have a handy calculator for figuring out how much you need, http://a.mrmulch.com/2011topsoilcalculator.shtml.

Look at the picture of the stuff. Look familiar? It's already MTS, MTS is humus to begin with so this makes logical sense. Making MTS is just speeding up the composting process.


They suggest 3.1 bags for 1.5" in a standard 120 (48x24). Since my proposed recipe calls for about 2/3 humus, we'll say 2 bags, that's 80 pounds for $5.80 plus shipping. All the other stuff can be easily sourced for cheap. I think I'll go ahead and start stocking up.

1. Laterite 10%
2. Dolomitic Lime 1%
3. Muriate of Potash 0.5%
4. Peat granules 5%
5. Horticultural Carbon (or Activated Carbon) 10%
6. Azomite 10%
7. Humus 63.5%
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Not really though I am aware that Fluval makes some ready to use. I believe there is also a pond company that distributes some. I think Eheim also sells some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I'm still amassing the materials myself to engineer the mix. I won't have another tank to try it on for sometime yet. Anyone who wants to take the plunge or even wait to do it with me has my full support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Post a formula and ill try it when I set up a new 20g hopefully in the next month.
It was hiding in post #31.

1. Laterite 10%
2. Dolomitic Lime 1%
3. Muriate of Potash 0.5%
4. Peat granules 5%
5. Horticultural Carbon (or Activated Carbon) 10%
6. Azomite 10%
7. Humus 63.5%

This is pretty much what we figured by group consensus. I personally believe in the power of crowdsourcing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
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