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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
will this soil work for walstad tank?

HI folks. First time posting! I'm still new to the hobby (started 1/19 with planted tanks) and I love them. I want to try a walstad tank and have been working on getting through her book. I just got a new 54 gallon corner aquarium.

So. Soil.
I was able to find this easily enough:
https://www.miraclegro.com/en-us/pr...-performance-organics-all-purpose-ground-soil
But I haven't been able to find if it is ok for a walstad tank. I'm trying to prove to some folks in the house that dirt will be successful in an aquarium and I also just want to succeed for myself.
The product, if you don't want to click on the link, is the Miracle Gro Performance Organics In-ground soil. The fertilizer comes from various sources including soy meal, feather meal, and bone meal. It has a higher nitrogen percentage but lower phosphate and potash percentage.

I have tap water that is hard (dGH is 9-100) with KH of about 4. So Not sure if the peat will greatly affect my pH, which is usually around 7.4-7.6.

Any help would be awesome!
 

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I would stick w/Walstead's Miracle Gro Organic Choice potting mix. This product you are looking at appears to have fertilizer in it and that is asking for trouble. Stick w/what works and not what appears to be something w/more horse power and save yourself aggravation and grief.
 

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Welcome to APC!

This soil is a little more fertile (has more nutrients) than ideal for aquarium use. If you use it straight from the bag you may see ammonia spikes or a lot of algae. You can deal with this in several ways:

1. Lots of water changes during the first few months.
2. Do several soak and drain cycles with the soil before it goes in the tank. This is part of the mineralization technique which is discussed in detail in this forum and the library.
3. Mix the soil with some inert, high CEC substrate, like cat litter, Safe-T-Sorb, Turface. A 50/50 mix is good.

Good luck and keep us updated!

P.S. Miracle Grow has stopped selling the Organic Choice potting mix, but it had similar high nutrients as the soil you are considering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wasn't sure if it would work and figured I'd put it in my terrestrial garden if it wouldn't work. I can go to the store to see what else they have. What should I look for with the ingredients? What's considered the fertilizer? I don't know that the mgom is available in my stores. Are there any other brands or specific things to look for or avoid?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
will this soil work for walstad tank?

So actually taking the time to look at the ingredients, I see what you mean by it having fertilizer. I'll look for the organic choice potting mix. But has anyone had any success with nature's care organic raised bed soil? The nutrient analysis is a little higher than the potting mix but doesn't list fertilizer as an ingredient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to APC!

This soil is a little more fertile (has more nutrients) than ideal for aquarium use. If you use it straight from the bag you may see ammonia spikes or a lot of algae. You can deal with this in several ways:

1. Lots of water changes during the first few months.
2. Do several soak and drain cycles with the soil before it goes in the tank. This is part of the mineralization technique which is discussed in detail in this forum and the library.
3. Mix the soil with some inert, high CEC substrate, like cat litter, Safe-T-Sorb, Turface. A 50/50 mix is good.

Good luck and keep us updated!

P.S. Miracle Grow has stopped selling the Organic Choice potting mix, but it had similar high nutrients as the soil you are considering.
At this point, i'm going to look into the 50/50 option. I don't have the space (or the patience.... mostly patience) to mineralize the soil. Here's hoping it works!
 

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Plain topsoil from Wal Mart works great. It's cheap and has no fertilizer added. That's what we used on a 90, three 55's, and some smaller NPTs.

If you haven't got through reading the book yet, add fish slowly to let the nitrogen bacteria build up over time. If you add a bunch at once, you'll need to monitor the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels for a while and do water changes until you have enough of those bacteria to process the fish waste. After that, if you use RO or distilled water to top up the tank, you can extend the water changes (removing and replacing 10% or more of the water) since you won't be building up minerals through evaporation and adding more water with minerals.

An RO system is nice if you are going to go big with this. But you can just do the recommended water changes instead of using RO or distilled water to top up the tank after evaporation. It's cheaper but more labor intensive, so if you have a large tank or several tanks, you might consider installing an RO filter system.

Once the nitrogen bacteria take hold, you have an almost closed ecosystem that nearly takes care of itself. Other then feeding the fish, you can "neglect" the tank for a long time. But until you get the feel of how long you can leave it to itself, take occasional water samples and test them to make sure everything is OK.

Donald
 
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