This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. We are after as many aquarium plant images that we can get, doing so will assist us in completing the aquarium plant database.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
    Dismiss Notice

Earth worm casting for nutrient enriched sediments, how to

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by Tom Barr, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Of Worm Poop And Clay And Osomocote

    Tom Barr: Huh? :confused:

    jarthel: What we have taken the They should be diluted with washed sand in a 50-50 ratio[/I]” as the rich end of the mix range and have taken the “(for example, in an aquarium of 100 liters I recommend to use between 2 and 4 kg of earthworm castings) as meaning between two and four kilograms of the mix. Depending on how thick (deep) a layer you want. ;)

    We usually use clay (cheap kitty litter) or silt (we have had a hard time finding the silt we used to get at Home Depot); we have also used play sand, Akadama clay (fired) and top soil (bagged from Wal-Mart or Home Depot).

    In general we prefer the silt or cheap kitty litter, we have two substrates using Akadama that at first we didn’t think much of but as time goes on (it has only been a month or so) they are gaining our favor. The price is obviously steep compared to the others.

    We really recommend using layers most of the time we start with sphagnum peat moss, then the enriched material to which we add bone meal, B-1 vitamin mixture and Alaska fish oil, stinky stuff. We are also adding a light sprinkling of Osmocote these days. Then in most cases, we cap that with gravel or sand.

    As far as using loamy soil, if anything we would use that to mix in the worm castings. Remember what you are doing is creating a loam soil from the sand or clay and worm castings. ;)

    The other concern we would have is the tendency for soil to not stay in place and potentially cloud the water, though really no reason you could not do that.


    bgangler: We have never used dolomite so we will not comment beyond this, it seems it would raise pH, not necessarily a bad thing.

    We now use Osmocote quite a bit and can see no reason not to use it in place of enriching substrates by other means or in addition. :)

    Montmorillonite, (Na,Ca)0,3(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2•n(H2O) sold as SMS or Pro Choice Select among other brands and names, is something we have used in the past, we did not care for it and apparently neither did Tom Barr.

    If you want it, ask around at landscape suppliers that sell bulk dirt and rocks, particularly those that supply or service athletic fields and such, the stuff is dirt-cheap. Some places will sell it bulk and even screen it for you (if you are buying it bulk make sure it has been fired). Screening montmorillonite is controversial and drive some to distraction, but it is important and certainly, SMS, Turface, and Pro Choice Select proudly state that they screen their products.

    A word of warning though bradac56 becomes really angry if it turns out you prefer something else. :eek:

    LC & B
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,691
    Likes Received:
    711
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Sure, you can use pretty much any inert type sands, or floruite, EC, dolomites, silicas etc.
    Add osmocoat etc.
    Up to you.


    Dolomite is much harder to dissolve than say aragonite/calcite(Onyx sand is iron rich calicite FYI). Limestone will bubble like mad if you put Vinegar on it, dolomite will not.
    Yes, it will harden water, but not much really if you do routine water changes, if you never do, well...........

    Regards,
    Tom barr
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,691
    Likes Received:
    711
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    I read it to mean that you use about 2" of WC and then cap with 2" of sand. Another way you can look at it is to mix the 2" bottom layer with 50:50 sand and WC and then cap that with 2" of plain sand. That will reduce the total volume of nutrients, but will make it more stable and not as messy. If you trima nd uproot carefully, then it's not much of an issue either way.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,691
    Likes Received:
    711
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Well, we can do it just to bug him then;)

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. bgangler

    bgangler Junior Poster

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Thanks guys!
    I would like to know does the dolomite has an possitive CEC?
    Also, do you really think there will be an issue using monthmorilonite with sodium exchange ions?

    regards
     
  6. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    The Diligent, Not-So-Diligent And The Lazy

    Hi,

    Dolomite would certainly seem (to us lowly peon, fictional characters anyway) to have a net positive charge as great as calcium carbonate, CaCO3, which we believe is the standard measurement, some dolomite could well exceed that, so yes it is a net positive. We hope this helps, we are not sure we understood the question. :eek:

    Edit:Found this link http://forums.qdma.com/showthread.php?t=16370 seems to be a pretty good explanation/answer.--LC

    Edit #2: Just found this link http://www.umassvegetable.org/soil_crop_pest_mgt/soil_nutrient_mgt/soil_basics_II.html. --LC

    No we do not believe the net sodium ion exchange would be a serious, or for that matter any issue in the use of Montmorillonite, (Na,Ca)0,3(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2•n(H2O). We found no problems in the 18 or so months we used it as a substrate component. Neither did we test for it nor since we change a lot of water do we have the trouble that the not-so-diligent-water-changers have. Still I seriously doubt a sodium problem, even for the not-so-diligent-water-changers. :cool:

    LC & B
     
    #46 LoudCreature, Dec 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2009
  7. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Upon Further Review...

    Hi,

    Let us try answering the “Also, do you really think there will be an issue using monthmorilonite with sodium exchange ions?” again.

    Upon further review, interspersed with a significant amount of cartoon-like-violence, the Loud Creature with whom I share space with aided by the Thing-What-Spawned-The Loud Creature prevailed upon Biollante to reconsider the previous answer.

    (Since Biollante has been banned from the use of this site under the so-called “Lifetime Charter Membership,” said membership purchased for the Evil Plant Monster by the Loud Creature. In addition, Biollante made such a fuss when the Loud Creature posted a couple of replies under Biollante’s account (okay so a couple of facts were off and everyone jumped all over the evil plant monster). Since Biollante got kicked off the site for making everyone angry, the Loud Creature will not let Biollante post alone, ‘cause the Loud Creature doesn’t want to be banned, it is embarrassing, here we are going to Spain for Christmas and have to explain why the big dumb evil plant monster got kicked off the Barr Report. It isn’t quite as bad as the thing in Japan, but gee-whiz!) :eek:

    We believe our previous answer was correct as far as our personal experience goes.

    The Thing-What-Spawned-The Loud Creature (evil incarnate it may be) is a world-class gardener, pointed out that the reference may have been to a concern that terrestrial gardener’s have with the ‘salt filling the pores’ thereby not allowing proper gas, moisture and nutrient movement. Generally, considered a soil enhancer Montmorillonite beyond its use as a top-dressing for athletic fields, baseball in particular, it is used to help create loamy soil and is often broadcast spread over grassy areas. This seems to us inconsistent with a material having a salt problem.

    Another possibility is that back before Biollante had proper supervision (aka the days of Biollante’s misspent youth), Biollante used Bentonite, didn’t even know it was really Montmorillonite to create holding ponds, catchments mainly to contain nasty’s and keep them out waterways and such. Certainly, the clay as was used then indicated the lack of porosity; it contained the water, in at least one case for 40 years now.

    The Bentonite/Montmorillonite had another useful property and that was, yes, an ion exchange, NA+, that is right sodium, that held some of the nasty’s and helped clean the water in addition to settling out sediments, some stuff it reached out, grabbed and held.

    Which takes us back to our original answer, “No we do not believe the net sodium ion exchange would be a serious, or for that matter any issue in the use of Montmorillonite, (Na,Ca)0,3(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2•n(H2O).” If anything in a world of weekly water changes it would be a good thing.:cool:

    LC & B & TWSTLC
     
  8. bgangler

    bgangler Junior Poster

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Thanks guys,
    accordingly to the http://www.umassvegetable.org/soil_crop_pest_mgt/soil_nutrient_mgt/soil_basics_II.html it seems like the dolomite has a positive CEC, because it has cations for exchange. From this derives that dolomite would be suitable for use as a plant substrate in the aquarium as long as we do regular WC and do not keep fussy shrimps and fish - the dolomite is a lime high in Mg

    About the montmorillonite -well I cant agree, because I'm not really sure, what the effect of the sodium scavenging of ions will be in aquarium. well Im not a chemist, but first of all is that Na bentonite swells in water quite a lot. This could be controlled by firing.
    second it will scavenge the Ca++ ions of the water until it reach an equilibrium and will replace them with sodium once, which I think will affect the Ph and the Kh and also will leads in some cases to Plants salt ion toxicity.
    which is not good for the plants
    Thats why IMO the fullers earth, SMS and whats so ever are made of Ca montmorillonite.

    Regards
     
  9. LoudCreature

    LoudCreature Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Bye All, Merry Christmas!

    Hi,

    With regard to the dolomite, the only thing that makes it acceptable for freshwater aquaria is that it is so hard.

    To the Bentonite/Montmorillonite, I really do not want to be in the position of ‘defending’ the stuff; many people have used it including Tom Barr and myself. By experience, I can tell you there were no bad results. Personally, I didn’t find it all that special, but I also found nothing wrong with it either.

    Most clays including Bentonite/Montmorillonite do better fired, aside from the benefits described elsewhere on this site, places had I access, I would link, I think Bentonite/Montmorillonite would be rather messy unfired and unscreened.

    I will say it is my policy to soak most substrate materials for a couple of weeks and that included the Bentonite/Montmorillonite material. I have buckets and tubs of materials soaking all of the time.

    You are of course welcome to your opinions, in this case I do not believe your opinion is supported by the evidence. (This is the kind of thing that gets you in trouble.—LC) :eek:

    Happy holidays, Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to all. :cool:

    I have enjoyed my time on this site immensely and wish you all well. :D

    Biollante
    (Under the Loud Creatures supervision)
     
  10. bgangler

    bgangler Junior Poster

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Thanks Biollante,
    accordingly to your statement for the bentonite/ Montmorillonite I must confess that I have not tried it, but did quite a research about its chemical composition and on the products already available on the market.
    Yes you didn't encounter problems with the bentonite, because you have probably used Ca bentonite, which is the right material. The Soil MAster Select is made of Ca bentonite/Montmorillonite. Taking into account where the material for SMS is mined from :/northern Mississippi and southern Illinois - only ledges of Ca montmorillonite are found there/ we can donclude that either Ca Bentonite is most common in the USA or there is a purpose of using only Ca-bentonite.
    I will bet on the second one, because of the chemical properties of the Ca-bentonite, which I briefly described in my previous post.
    I do like to the empiric way of exploring stuff, but when the facts talk about them selfs emphatically I must agree.
    Anyway I do not want to press my view on, just to finish my research on substrates!

    Regards and Merry Christmas to everyone!

    Antoni Dimitrov
     
  11. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Now that's shocking, someone even knows my handle ... ;)

    I won't get angry if you don't like the SMS/Turface products the only reason I speak up from time to time is when people discount it as a good product usually without actually trying them. Funny enough the best reason I’ve heard of not liking SMS/Turface/Kitty litter is because they do not like the look or color which is fine with me as you should enjoy your hobby first and foremost.

    I really like using non-ferted topsoil as my base as well.

    - Brad
     
  12. DaBub

    DaBub Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Exactly it is a hobby, Biollante simply answered based on personal experience that Montmorillonite, while nothing really wrong with it, was in Biollante's opinion not significantly better than no-name clay kitty litter, that at least in Arizona is apparently in Biollante's opinion easier to obtain.

    I also note that even though Biollante is no fan of Montmorillonite, the posts offer suggestions on finding Montmorillonite for those wishing to use the material.

    Funny how Biollante, an evil (though lovable) plant monster, has the common decency to answer, thoughtfully your tortuous questions and comments, yet you are not capable of even the common decency and courtesy of reply to Biollante's questions.
     
  13. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Ok that third person naritive must be confusing me, I don't think your talking to me specificly correct?
    I'll have to re-read this thread to try to figure it out.

    - Brad
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    1
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Enough

    DaBub, LoudCreature, All,

    I appreciate your care for me but if this last dozen years have taught me anything it is the bradac56's of the world are who and what they are. Do not worry about it. :)

    The exchange speaks for itself.

    I am happy to be allowed back on this site. :)

    For the record I saw no problem with Montmorillonite, which without regard to bradac56's libel, I used for about 18 months, in my experience I simply saw no great advantage over the somewhat cheaper (they are both cheap) Wal-Mart brand clay kitty litter that is much more readily available at least around here. Fired (calcined?)

    Montmorillonite versus calcined Diatomaceous earth clay, I don’t know which is better I just know I can get calcined Diatomaceous earth at Wal-Mart cheap and it works well for me.

    My views are available at http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6513-SMS-questions/page2, honestly, I was only trying to answer Gerry's question.

    My health is recovered, my legal travails are for the most part past, the press so far has been kind, I am able to go public and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

    All I really want to do is grow plants and raise fish. I thought I had learned a few things others might find of value or ignore as they chose, apparently I was wrong.

    Above all else, I am no longer Barr'ed from this site. :D

    Thank you,
    Biollante
     
  15. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Sorry if I've offended you Biollante, I really didn't remember until I re-read your link and I had stopped reading after Tom's #16 post.

    I'm happy to hear things are going better and that your back on the site (?). As long as your happy doing what your doing and your having good results then all's good, to each his own. I took the holidays off of the various forums myself and feel much better now that I'm back and rested.

    - Brad
     
  16. d0lph1n

    d0lph1n Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Hey Tom, thanks for posting the recipe.
    Biollante pointed me to the earthworm casting formula.

    Guys, could you tell me please where can I find 100% organic casting in LA area?
    I've tried to contact somebody close to me from this lists; no reply so far:
    http://worldcentric.org/sustainability/wormcompost/#9

    Also, I was wondering if the boiling part is really necessary?
    Here is the certified master composter's opinion:
    "I would NOT boil the casts. All the necessary items you want for healthy plant growth will be lost. Aeration is the key with casts and a constant temperature which is +/- 10 to 15 degrees of 55 to 75F."

    What are all the pro & cons of boiling the casts?
     
  17. csmith

    csmith Guest

    Local Time:
    2:01 PM
  18. d0lph1n

    d0lph1n Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Thanks for the link.
    Because I need it this weekend, I'll get it tomorrow morning from a local grower for $1/lb.
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    1
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    Too Much Hurry...

    Hi,

    Plants can wait a bit no need for being in a big hurry. :gw

    Get a tub or buckets or whatever do a water change in your tank and use the old water for the container and toss the new plants in they will last quite a while and may even do some adjusting and acclimating. :)

    Biollante
     
  20. d0lph1n

    d0lph1n Junior Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    8:01 PM
    I did as you said. The plants were kept in a bucket with old water (under the main lighting system) for at least 48h.

    2 weeks ago I replaced my old substrate with:
    1. peat moss on the bottom (and some bits of bamboo charcoal)
    2. thin layer of organic castings (boiled once) mixed with kitty litter (half-half)
    3. osmocote plus
    4. thicker layer of earthworm castings & kitty litter (same as 3.)
    5. gravel

    All the plants are shooting new roots (especially the Cabombas and the Brazilian Pennyworth) and new leafs. The riccia was very affected by the move, but now, it is recovering slowly. The dwarf lilly's old leafs have some kind of burn damage but its new leafs look healthy.

    I haven't lost any fish in this transition. Only few shrimps decided to commit suicide.

    I have few questions, if you don't mind:
    The water is still amberish, even after 2 x 30-40% water changes, but I have new driftwood (boiled before...). Is that ok?
    Especially in the evening, I see a lot of bubbles coming out of the substrate. Is this normal?

    Thanks again for all your help.
     
    #60 d0lph1n, Sep 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2010
Loading...

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice