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Yes, you can use the compost. But you need to prepare it first. Do a couple of soak-and-drain cycles first to remove excess nutrients, possible contaminants, and large floating pieces.

Then mix the compost with at least 50% high CEC substrate. I recall you mentioned Fourite in your other posts, that would be fine for this purpose. Natural top soil is usually about 5% orgnaic matter. Compost is 100% organic matter. You need to reduce the organic matter content for use as an aquarium substrate.

You can use 100% compost if the compost layer is very thin. We usually use a 1" layer of soil under the cap (less for very small aquaria and bowls). If you are using 100% compost, the layer should be only 1/2" or less.

This is a conservative approach and should avoid most of the common problems associated with soil. It is possible to use compost or 100% organic "soil" without doing any of this, but you would need to monitor water chemistry carefully and be prepared to do water changes as necessary.
 

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Yes, you can use the compost. But you need to prepare it first. Do a couple of soak-and-drain cycles first to remove excess nutrients, possible contaminants, and large floating pieces.

Then mix the compost with at least 50% high CEC substrate. I recall you mentioned Fourite in your other posts, that would be fine for this purpose. Natural top soil is usually about 5% orgnaic matter. Compost is 100% organic matter. You need to reduce the organic matter content for use as an aquarium substrate.

You can use 100% compost if the compost layer is very thin. We usually use a 1" layer of soil under the cap (less for very small aquaria and bowls). If you are using 100% compost, the layer should be only 1/2" or less.

This is a conservative approach and should avoid most of the common problems associated with soil. It is possible to use compost or 100% organic "soil" without doing any of this, but you would need to monitor water chemistry carefully and be prepared to do water changes as necessary.
Thanks i was just wondering if i would have to worry about anything since i dont know the orgins of the compost. I have the flourite and i also have the bonsai soil.
I was reading another thread on here that talked about minerilizing and adding clay (i have) and potash will that be necessary to me to do with compost. The thread talked about jist basic top soil.
 

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I would be careful, since it is entirely made of organic matter. Perhaps mix it 1:1 with sand, STS, or soil from your garden? You may need to experiment.
Your book just got delivered yesterday so ive been very slowly fumbling my way through it.
I have gone through 4 wet and dry cycles with my compost then ran it through a very fine sifter while was dry and qm left with a very fine silt like substance i can post a pic of it.
So you would advise adding both sand and STS. So a 1:1:1 ratio of the compost, sand and STS?
Just making sure i have the measurments right. I have a bag of paver base that i was was wondering if it would work. Ill take a photo of that as well.
And im assuming you are not refuring to the standard play sand?
Thanks for the advice
 

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Your book just got delivered yesterday so ive been very slowly fumbling my way through it.
I have gone through 4 wet and dry cycles with my compost then ran it through a very fine sifter while was dry and qm left with a very fine silt like substance i can post a pic of it.
So you would advise adding both sand and STS. So a 1:1:1 ratio of the compost, sand and STS?
Just making sure i have the measurments right. I have a bag of paver base that i was was wondering if it would work. Ill take a photo of that as well.
And im assuming you are not refuring to the standard play sand?
Thanks for the advice
Don't make it too complicated. Either mix the compost 1:1 with sand or 1:1 with STS.

When I say sand, I was referring to play sand. A quick Google search suggests that Paver sand may cause problems (presence of bonding agents, chemicals, asbestos). Play sand is safe for kids, made for their sandboxes, so if you choose to use sand, I would use it. Play sand is the only thing I have ever used.

You are experimenting here, as there are a hundred other variables (light, water, plant species, substrate depth, etc) that will also influence the results. That said, diluting compost, which is 100% organic, with an inert material (STS or sand) is probably a good place to start.

Good luck!
 

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Hi Everyone,

I am just trying to find some good replacement of STS here in Australia as it is not available here. I tried searching in forums but couldn't find much details. Most of the Kitty litter I came across are made from 100% sodium bentonite. I am not sure if this can break down over time and release high quantity of sodium in tank. I can find another product called Fat-Sorb which is 100% Attapulgite. Some other products I found contains Zeolite.

I just want to check if any of these products can be used in tank safely or they can cause problems.

Thanks in advance
 

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Hi Everyone,

I am just trying to find some good replacement of STS here in Australia as it is not available here. I tried searching in forums but couldn't find much details. Most of the Kitty litter I came across are made from 100% sodium bentonite. I am not sure if this can break down over time and release high quantity of sodium in tank. I can find another product called Fat-Sorb which is 100% Attapulgite. Some other products I found contains Zeolite.

I just want to check if any of these products can be used in tank safely or they can cause problems.

Thanks in advance
Safe T Sorb (STS) is made from fired or baked clay, montmorillinite clay specifically. So, you may want to widen your search terms when looking for it. I noticed on another thread that some posters also swear by something called, Oil Dri. I'm pretty sure there are no industry-wide manufacturing standards applicable to these off-label uses (like as aquarium substrates) so, it probably pays to try a little bit in a jar before introducing them to an established tank. And, yes, my understanding is that all clay products - unless they are porcelain or something of that grade - will crumble over time. I'm already thinking my 50 lb. bag may be a good investment after all!
 

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Late to this, but lovely tanks. What is the plant with the big green emergent leaf in the "Betta Retirement" photo?
Btw if that's for a "senior" Betta, how nice

Is that a 10g? Thanks.



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Water Plant Liquid Leaf Botany


I am 3 months in to my first Walstad guided tank.

I say guided, because I didn't have sufficient access to plants to plant as heavily as was recommended, and because I have the back of the tank deeper than recommended (I used lava rock) and the very front is a thin layer of play sand (mimicking a more traditional scaped tank).

I did follow Dr Walstad's recommendation to use MGOT (presuming organic to mean 'containing carbon'), but I didn't mineralize it.

I soak it in 5 gallon buckets, stirring it each day, until everything sinks. I don't strain any of it.

I have still ended up with some floating material, which the snails, frogbit, water lettuce, and duckweed seem to appreciate. I have done exactly 2 water changes on the tank, and added aeration to prevent any film on the surface.

I have developed algae on the back wall, which gives a more natural appearance to the tank, and I believe algae helps filter the water, too.

Malaysian Trumpet snails (MTS) and black worms made short order of the sand cap, lol. Amphipods were not opposed to help with relandscaping the tank, either. I did end up with one pocket of anaerobic bacteria, as evidenced by the rooted stem plants that died in the back corner.

I'm allowing the tank to progress at its own pace, and use trimmings from the rapid growth to fill in areas that died off. Milfoil doesn't seem to care about gas pockets, and bravely puts down roots until the gas pocket is broken up.

Several plants came with a few hitchhikers, so I now have beautiful golden red ramshorns, some amber colored bladder snail, a smaller variety of MTS (I am still waiting on my lfs to get in some chopstick snails), what appear under a microscope attachment for the phone camera to be daphnia, and we watched 3 damselfly larvae grow to adulthood before I added any fish.

The current fish load is 14 'feeder guppy' descendants from the turtle pond. The males more closely resemble wild caught endlers, but the females are guppy size, leading me to believe the feeders were crosses.

I have had planted, dirted tanks in the past, but usually used a UG filter for at least a part of the tank because 1. UGF are cheap, 2. Easy way to maintain water circulation, 3. I still use UGF on the breeder side of my divided tanks as a hands free, rather effortless method to separate fry from parents (mostly) before they get eaten.

Has anyone else experimented with a similar setup, that kept true to Walstad on only one side?

Or is it a good idea to stick with my old, "German planted" method, and add a sponge filter because fry?

As to the discussion regarding "mineralization" via wet / dry and sifting the soil, do I need to be concerned that I didn't really follow the instructions there?

Or are periodically getting floating wood chips the worst of what I need to worry about?

Because I have to say, the deep, rich tannins in the water make for interesting optical illusions as the fish appear to disappear, and then suddenly 'pop out'. Plus the tank is way less maintenance, and the fish appear healthier, more vibrant, and more active, with less neurotic swimming than is typically seen when fish see their reflections.

So glad my brother-in-law recommended The Treatise to me. This has been the least work, yet the most fun tank I have had in 4.5 decades.

I even have gorgeous red leafed plants, with no CO2 system (other than decomposition, lol).
Water Plant Liquid Leaf Botany


Atmosphere Flower Plant Natural landscape Sunlight


(It's not an aquarium picture until a fish photobombs, right?)
 

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Safe T Sorb (STS) is made from fired or baked clay, montmorillinite clay specifically. So, you may want to widen your search terms when looking for it. I noticed on another thread that some posters also swear by something called, Oil Dri. I'm pretty sure there are no industry-wide manufacturing standards applicable to these off-label uses (like as aquarium substrates) so, it probably pays to try a little bit in a jar before introducing them to an established tank. And, yes, my understanding is that all clay products - unless they are porcelain or something of that grade - will crumble over time. I'm already thinking my 50 lb. bag may be a good investment after all!
Thanks for replying.

If STS made from fired or baked clay, can we use crushed brick or terracotta pot and that can work and provide required CEC. I found some info in forum on people using brick in substrate.

I found study about the brick particles in urban soil and it says "The CEC of bricks is grain size dependent and reaches a maximum of 6 cmolc kg−1 for particles smaller than 0.063 mm". Below is the link for study.



Thanks
 

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Thanks for replying.

If STS made from fired or baked clay, can we use crushed brick or terracotta pot and that can work and provide required CEC. I found some info in forum on people using brick in substrate.

I found study about the brick particles in urban soil and it says "The CEC of bricks is grain size dependent and reaches a maximum of 6 cmolc kg−1 for particles smaller than 0.063 mm". Below is the link for study.



Thanks
I guess my threshold question would be whether this stuff is commercially available or are they suggesting that you go out and clean, sieve and sort your own jar full of brick particles from a dump or vacant lot somewhere? I can't get past the practicality problem.
 

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hi such a nice informations, i want to ask question is it possible to use this type of gravel to mix 50/50 with soil? i cant find fluorite or any such in my country
Plant Rock Soil Metal Photography

i used this type of gravel to capped the soil im wondering if i can use this to mix the soil 50/50
 

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Discussion Starter · #616 ·
Yes. If you have used it as a cap successfully, you can mix it with the soil. It looks very porous which is a good thing. Do you know anything about what kind of gravel it is?
 

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Yes. If you have used it as a cap successfully, you can mix it with the soil. It looks very porous which is a good thing. Do you know anything about what kind of gravel it is?
thanks i will try mix it to my next walstad tank.
as far as i know its black volcanic gravel but not sure its comes from magma or maybe other sources, yes its very porous also very light i had to mix it with a bit heavier gravel to make the plants steady also its very2 cheap..from the looks its similar to flourite black gravel there's no information flourite black gravel made of so i cant say they're same gravel
 

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Just to clarify, the clay (cat litter) - which is added to the soil about half and half -- that clay-cat litter goes through the mineralization process? Or do we add the cat litter to the soil after it has been mineralized?

I'm absolutely new to NPT's. There seem so many, not just different approaches, but contradictory. The youtuber - Foo the Flowerhorn - uses half worm castings and half chicken manure, which -- in the context of this forum discussion -- would seem overly rich with nutrients?
 

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Please do not use kitty litter! It is for cats, not aquariums. It quickly turns to mud and reacts with the soil to generate aluminum toxicity. It also forms a dense, thick, gooey mass. I don't think mineralizing will help. One hobbyist (maico996) has already described a disaster using a kitty litter soil mix. He had to tear the tank down and start over.

In my book, I advise using either pure potting soil or pure garden soil as an underlayer. That hasn't changed.

If you are worried about excess nutrients or what-not, then I would suggest mixing the soil half and half with sand or STS clay. STS is baked at a higher temperature so that it doesn't immediately break down into mud like kitty litter does. Sand is inert and won't leach aluminum or iron and cause metal toxicity. Or just use pure soil and mineralize it according to Michael's procedure.

There are all kinds of pitfalls when you start mixing soils or when you substitute bizarre soil amendments (worm castings or chicken manure) for ordinary soil.
 
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