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Dirt for substrate

This is a discussion on Dirt for substrate within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I think I'm going to give it a shot to. I have a great window in our office which I may toss some soil ...

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Old 08-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #11
 
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I think I'm going to give it a shot to. I have a great window in our office which I may toss some soil in a 10G tank I have and just see what happens with soil and sunlight....

I think you're right that companies add tons of additives to their soil, although I'd like to think that the most basic, cheapest, inexpensive soil may be just dirt.

Danielle - becareful where you're diggin' out in vegas, we've all seen casino!
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD44 View Post
I think I'm going to give it a shot to. I have a great window in our office which I may toss some soil in a 10G tank I have and just see what happens with soil and sunlight....

I think you're right that companies add tons of additives to their soil, although I'd like to think that the most basic, cheapest, inexpensive soil may be just dirt.

Danielle - becareful where you're diggin' out in vegas, we've all seen casino!
I think I will try the same thing for a 1.5g for my pond snails (if it is recommended..I still need to read up on it) ..can't believe I am admitting I own a tank less than 10gs. I was so anti-little tanks...I only got it for my pond snails I didn't have the heart to crush..was supposed to be a holding tank for feeding my puffers some day..lol now they are probably going to work their way up t a 55g..

you know I can't imagine the bodies you would find here..we (local PD) just recently found one. If you want to shut someone up this is definatley a place to do it..so desolate..
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:46 PM   #13
 
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Hey if you guys start this please post progress, pictures would be excellent. Let us know how it goes, I will do the samething if and when I do this project.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:20 PM   #14
 
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I use this:


but any cheap topsoil should work well enough. Organic choice is the only thing I've used, and I'm probably not going to experiment with anything else. (If its not broken, dont fix it.)

To prevent some of the problems, you could soak it in water for a few weeks...

I'll post pictures of my 5 gallon soon, and I'll log my soil conversion.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:28 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
I use this:


but any cheap topsoil should work well enough. Organic choice is the only thing I've used, and I'm probably not going to experiment with anything else. (If its not broken, dont fix it.)

To prevent some of the problems, you could soak it in water for a few weeks...

I'll post pictures of my 5 gallon soon, and I'll log my soil conversion.

Wow, I was definately thinking I should steer clear of MG products. I love MG but I they are who I had in mind when I was thinking chemicals.

I haven't seen the organic though maybe I will try that. Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:04 PM   #16
 
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Yes it does have some fertilisers in it, but apparently it's organic stuff.

I did have an ammonia spike, but I think it was from the organic matter rather than the ferts...
Might want to soak the soil a while, or else run it without fish for a month for the plants to use it up.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:20 AM   #17
 
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sounds good Red! I'll be looking for your 'soil substrate' progessive pictures in our picture section!
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:08 PM   #18
 
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I am a major supporter of soil based planted tanks. I am currently using soil in 75% of my tanks. I am using local topsoil and clay based soil as well as soil made from composted cow manure. There is no need for fertilizing or adding co2 which is all released from the substrate. Natural plant decay, shedding, and waste from inhabitants refuels the nutrients in the substrate for long term use. Layering soil on bottom and gravel on top seems to be the way to go. The only problems I have encountered is you need to have twice as much gravel above the soil to prevent the soil from surfacing which will cause cloudy water when disturbed. The other problem is some clay based topsoil will compact and become very hard making it difficult for plant roots to penetrate. Mixing play sand or gravel with the clay soil greatly reduces this problem. Soil based planted tanks in my opinion removes all the guess work. It provides everything needed in a few easy steps.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:18 PM   #19
 
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Are the plants you're selling pulled from your soil-based tanks? I had no idea you could use cow manure in a tropical aquarium!
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Old 08-20-2010, 03:21 PM   #20
 
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Yes alot of the plants we sell are kept in soil tanks especially the heavy root feeders. We have found that using soil as a means of natural fertilizer is easier on the plants when being replanted to customers tanks which show little to no shocking. Plants that come from liquid fertilized tanks seem to have a hard time adjusting to tanks without it. It seems a little weird but, It is a trend we have experienced and at least for us works really well.
I would not use cow manure in a tank unless it is in soil form. Which means it has to be composted for a long period of time and all chemical reactions during composting no longer exist. The soil derived from the manure seems to yield a much higher nutrient content than regular topsoil and it will definitely show in the plants growth and appearance.
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