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Does the soil mineralize if you use it for a DSM aquarium?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by aman74, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    I'm considering MTS as well as the DSM. However, I hesitate on the MTS because I don't have the best setup to make it in currently and I'm only doing one small tank so there won't be any cost savings for right now. Also, I have concerns I may stir it up as I'm not an experienced aquascaper.

    So, I've seen it mentioned a couple times that if you use soil during a DSM it will mineralize. If that's the case then it takes care of one of my concerns about the MTS. Is this the case and how long does it take? Would I just layer the bottom with the dolemite and potash and then mix the soil with clay ahead of time and layer that on top? I know I can make borders ahead of time with the capping material as well.

    It seems like with how popular both DSM and MTS that more people aren't combining the two methods if I indeed read correctly about the DSM causing mineralization. Seems like a no brainer.

    How long does the MTS last? I've heard success up to eight years. How would that compare to ADA AS and does AS still have a clumping problem after a couple years? I realize the nutrient ability is going to vary based on several factors, but I'm looking for generalizations when comparing the two under like circumstances.

    How close can ADA AS come to MTS in delivering nutrients if we add the potash and dolemite to it's bottom layer?

    Thanks,

    Anthony
     
  2. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Also, meant to ask what kind of top soil to use if going the MTS route. I saw Diana Walstead mention Miracle Grow organic, but I can't remember if that was the recommendation for MTS or just using the regular soil method. There was an article where she was talking about using one over the other depending on the use and now I can't find it.

    I think that Miracle Grow product is mostly peat though.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes it does as the process takes about 4-8 weeks or more.
    Most sediments like these last perhaps a decade.........but they are extremely limited in nitrogen after the first few months.
    So a large amount of N needs to come from fish and/or KNO3 etc later to maintain the similar growth.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Other who know a lot more than I can filll in the details

    To answer the first question, Yes dry start will essentially mineralize the soil and avoid the NH4 release that would occur using straight top/potting soil. its a good way to get your carpeting plants started out well. You could also boil the soil and get the same result.

    However, as someone who is setting up a brand new tank, the safest route IMHO is ADA Aquasoil. It will supply what your plants need, its easy to work with and looks good. A good way to do this is to add the plants first, which would utilize the NH4 and then add fish later once the plants are established. This way you can get your plants in and complete your scape before you add fish, mimizing the stirring up, moving plants around, and not having to deail with the nitrogen cycle and worrying about killing fish early on in the process

    If you go the soil route, for MTS you should buy standard ordinary top soil, the cheapest one, it has to be dirt. If you use potting soil you need to get the cheapest potting soil, and make sure its not a "soiless mix". Another good choice which I did with my new setup is to add a this layer of oscmocote to the bottom as a longer term source of nutrients.

    The Aquasoil is good because its a single layer you don't need to worry about a cap or an underlayer.
     
  5. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the replies, 8 weeks is quite some time for this project.

    What about any AS clumping issues and how long does it remain effective at supplying nutrients?

    What about Osmocote, dolemite, potash, clay, peat, etc... Which would be most appropriate and how long will they last? I've heard, as Fred said that Osmocote is a good option, but not sure on the others.

    Sorry, about all the questions and I realize people won't have the time to answer throughly, but if this last post could get answered it will go a long way to me figuring out what direction to go. I'll know if the time and trouble of the MTS is worth it.
     
  6. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Tom says 6-9 months with ADA aquasoil with CO2 and sufficient lighting, but your mileage may vary. If you use EI as your fert regime you get more time out of your substrate nutrients, if you choose not to fert your supply will be gone relatively quickly. Best to do both, plants feed via water column and substrate as sources of nutrients.

    The osmocote will probably last about 6 months too, but you can always replenish the substrate with osmocote using the ice cube method, as suggested by Tom, you can also work in clay, peat, osmo, etc, this way without doing DSM or going through the process of MTS.
     
  7. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Thanks. So it's definitely much shorter than with the MTS.

    I'm assuming though that it's still not going to last a decade like the MTS though. I guess I can deduce that by the fact the normal soil tanks don't last very long either and I'll assume it's the mineralization that gives it the lasting effects?

    When you add a layer of Dolemite or Osmocoat to the bottom of an MTS tank are they only lasting months as well and not years? I assume it's only whatever properties that are initially in the MTS that lasts for many years and whatever it doesn't have that needed to be added with the dolemite and peat will continue to need replenishment?

    I thank you for your patience. I've done quite a bit of reading, but have not really since it broken down into specifics.

    Thanks,

    Anthony
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    What’s The Plan Stan… Er-Ah… Anthony?

    Hi Anthony,

    What are you trying to accomplish? :confused: All of these decisions need to be made based on you plan, your desires. :)

    Biollante
     
  9. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Hey Biollante, I appreciate where you're coming from with that question. However, right now I'm wanting to educate myself on a few of the finer points that seperate the 2 soil methods so that I can implement the best choice for me at the time. Currently it's not a matter of having to do a certain kind of tank right now, there's even a chance now that I may even just do a moss tank, where these matters won't even come into play.

    I enjoy learning and I also like to make informed decisions, especially ones that involve time and money. :)

    Thanks,

    Anthony
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    So You Are The One Person Who Likes To Make Informed Decisions, What A Concept!

    Hi Anthony,

    Informed decisions are great and wanting information is laudable, but … :p

    What do you think the differences are? Are they mutually exclusive?

    I think Tom Barr gave a succinct answer. :cool:

    For the record Miracle Gro Organic label says
    Ingredients
    This product is regionally formulated with organic materials (derived from one or more of the following: forest products, peat humus, or compost), sphagnum peat, composted manure (in Florida, cow manure) and poultry litter.
    In California and Texas, regionally formulated from forest products, compost, sphagnum peat, composted manure and poultry litter.
    Good luck,
    Biollante
     
  11. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    I keep answering your questions, funny how this is going... ;)

    I'm not qualified to talk about the chemical differences, but from a practical point of view the main differences would be, ease of use, length of time the product provides nutrients, less dosing with one vs. the other also changing drastically over time, cost and possibly length the product lasts physically.


    No, plenty of overlap.

    I appreciate any info I can get and noone owes me any answer whatsoever, but I certainly didn't cover much ground here. To be frank, time would be much better spent giving your thoughts than wondering about my motivations.

    I still have no clue what the current thinking about AS clumping is. I have no idea how much more maintenance free I could make AS and for how long by adding additional products.

    I think those are pretty reasonable questions and ones that you can easily see why an aquarist would want to know from a practical perspective.

    Thanks for the ingrdient list for the Miracle Gro, but I still don't know if that's the sort of thing I'd be looking for when making MTS?

    Umm, thanks, I'll need it apparently.
     
  12. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Not sure what went wrong here. I thought my questions were pretty relevant and the answers not easily found via search or google. I hope I didn't rub anyone the wrong way, I was just being direct and answered the questions asked of me.

    I did find out, at least from what I can tell, that the Miracle Grow would not be the type of soil one looks for when making MTS. I wish I could find that article from Diana and see what manner she's using it in, but it actually seems like it would be a bad choice for both MTS and NPT as it is high in organics and I thought that's what we were trying to minimize.
     
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