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Earth worm casting for nutrient enriched sediments, how to

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

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Should work fine as long as the boiling part was done, but make sure to do more water changes for the next 3-4 weeks, till things settle, then back off to normal WC's.
    I'd say every 2-3 days, do 50% or so.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. slb

    slb Junior Poster

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    Must of done something wrong

    OK. I like the WC idea and am in the process of trying it. I bought some 100% natural worm castings and followed Tom's original instructions exactly: risings, removing floaters, boiling 15 min, rinsing again... This is where I am stuck. I have rinsed the castings numerous times after boiling and the water still looks like dark coffee. Any suggestions what I may be doing wrong.:confused:
     
  3. slb

    slb Junior Poster

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    OK. I like the WC idea and am in the process of trying it. I bought some 100% natural worm castings and followed Tom's original instructions exactly: risings, removing floaters, boiling 15 min, rinsing again... This is where I am stuck. I have rinsed the castings numerous times after boiling and the water still looks like dark coffee. Any suggestions what I may be doing wrong.:confused:
     
  4. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    How long does the WC substrate last? I saw mention that it should outlast AS, but it seems that people aren't talking about it lasting in terms of a decade like MTS does. What accounts for the difference? The MTS method sounds great, but I'm trying to find a method I could do without the resources of a backyard, tart, sifter, sun, etc...
     
  5. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    From Tom's 18 months used ADA AquaSoil sediment analysis in which it was
    compared against new AquaSoil, pond and delta sediments. AquaSoil has more
    nutrients and seems to last longer (nutrient wise – because the pellets break
    down overtime) since its CEC is among the best.

    I think MTS is comparable to those pond and delta sediments.

    No WC in the contest though.
     
  6. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    That's where I'm getting confused. Tom had said the MTS would last a decade. In reference to WC he had just said it would last a bit longer than AS. When he refers to using soil sediments, the MTS, delta, WC are all lumped in together as if the are all similar. However, if some last 2-3 years and another type a decade or more, that's a big difference to me even if they are all similar to start. In doing a lot of research and reading old threads you see conflicting info so I'm trying to get it straight.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I'll look for that article.
     
  7. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    In the report, even the 18 months used AS contains more nutrients
    than the (new – I suppose) pond and delta clays. Except NH4 that
    the amount is about the same.

    Tom also said AS would last a decade too, with N supplementing.
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7263-Battling-BGA-and-BBA-at-The-Same-Time?p=50399#post50399
    http://forum.aquatic-gardeners.org/viewtopic.php?t=1303&p=6585
    http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/substrate/109955-does-any-substrate-expires-after-certain.html

    My common sense says that all these are clay based (WC in nature is also clay based).
    So they should be similar. And if you dose NO3 regularly,
    there should be no problem. Actually the 18 months used AS
    is a bit higher in some nutrients than new AS because of EI dosing.

    I'm about to use ADA AS capped with gravel, in the same way as using MTS.
    I like fine gravel surface and like the convenience of ADA AS.
     
    #67 nipat, Sep 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2010
  8. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Color me confused then on the confilicting info.

    Thanks for taking the time to post links.


    That was my thought as well, but when asking and searching Tom and others were saying the MTS was a much longer lasting substrate. So, like I said, definitely confused.

    I do realize dosing extends this and dosing along with the substrate nutrients is ideal, but for some tanks and even just for knowledge sake it would be nice to get this clarified.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Since I have NOT measured WC's after 18 months, I am not sure, but.........if ?I where to speculate .......I suspect they'd be pretty close to the same per unit volume than other soils lacking clay like MTS which often lacks the clays.
    Depends on the brands, where you get it etc. Clay loam seems pretty good overall.

    So you cannot generalize so much about MTS, because it means MANY different soil types, so saying much about them really does not inform anyone about specifics and teaches us little.

    Plenty of aquarist speculating and wanting to think they know it all..........but none doing any testing or confirming.
    And the myths keep coming and nothing gets solved.

    Go figure.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Decades Maybe, Years Certainly

    Hi,

    Frankly I agree with Plantbrain and Nipat. I do not know about decades but I have got years, of course replenishing N.

    While I am sure there are differences between various minerals, a lot of differences of opinion.

    I cannot vouch for the quality of Plantbrains research, but I have found it good enough to grow a few weeds. :)

    So d0lph1n and aman74 while there may be a lot of speculating going on, sometimes that is all we have to go on until the research is in, which in a case like this can take, well decades, so we will forgive Plantbrain (and Nipat for repeating what he said) because it is the best information we have to go on and as we do and share our experiences and perhaps in our own small way add to the body of knowledge. :)

    d0lph1n you have a nice tank and a lot of growth sucking up a lot of nutrients, if you do not want to disrupt the tank, add the fertz.

    Add plant tabs, do-it-yourself or store bought to reenergize and revitalize growth and keep on keeping on.

    Simple fact for myself I have found cheap kitty litter and pool filter sand about as good as it gets. Sometimes I like to enrich, I like the worm poop method, but oddly enough most anything you do along with a little diligence, following a plan and consistent use of fertilizer these things work well for years and years. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  11. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    So intent was I at following this thread, I forgot where, and who it was that asked the question , what harm would come from Worm castings that were not boiled and were placed under a layer of Sand,or fine gravel.
    I also wonder if boiling the worm castings would not boil out some nutrient's that would be of benefit to the plan'ts?
    Perhaps this has been answered and if this is so,my apologies.
    Have come across a used 55 gallon and am thinking of expierimenting with the Worm castings and perhaps a layer of kitty litter followed by a layer of fine gravel.
    Have no problem with boiling the worm casting's but if no grevious harm could come from not doing so....?
     
  12. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Algae.

    Others I am sure will correct if I am wrong. Boiling is necessary to prevent NH4 leaching. With WC, because they are pure worm poop, this is a much bigger issue than with potting soil that is used in the Walstad methods. Tom, believes in boiling soil as well before use in the tank. NH4 is a likely trigger to an algae outbreak. Best not to deal with that. You can add a thin layer of osmocote with traces to the bottom if your want an additional nutrient source. Its important to follow the instructions in this thread to the letter, otherwise your tank could be a mess.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That said, I think others and myself have also observed that ADA As leaches high amounts of NH4 as well, for about 1 month till the bacteria take over basically.
    So the NH4 might be some of it..........but...........ADA AS also adds a fair amount of peat and this drops the pH way down for about 1 month really strongly also.
    They also suggest 2-3x a week water changes during this time as well.

    We can also have cases where we have high fish loads, or dose say up to .8ppm per day of NH4 etc.
    How much gets to the plants and how much is converted/transformed into NO3 remains to be answered.(This can be measured by aquarist IF THEY ARE CLEVER)
    Or if the NH4 makes it in significant amounts to the algae, also remain and likely outside the ability of aquarist to test.

    I think that NH4 alone is not a trigger by itself for some algae.
    I think we also need high light and CO2 variation in conjunction.

    Many who have used soils, WC etc.....have not done the required water changes initially, or had too much light, poor CO2 etc........while others, particularly ADA AS users..have not had much issues.
    I do not think NH4 alone plays a strong role.

    pH drops with peat, water change frequencies, light PAR(something rarely ever tested), age of the sediment in the tank, CO2 etc.........

    Now it's a lot more complex than a simple NH4 model I hypothesized some 10 years ago.
    But.....my test could have had issues like high light(It did) and poor CO2( perhapos, hard to say either way given I used pH/KH and it could have been off by 10-20ppm).
    I did not use peat, but others have reported it helps initially with some species of algae, you get mostly just diatoms which are easy to deal with.

    I cannot go around telling folks lies and not accepting these results/observations about NH4, they falsify my old hypothesis.
    I have to let it go and see what else I can come up with.

    If you dose a lot of NH4 to a tank and the light/CO2 are "fragile", then even a well established tank can get a nasty algae bloom.
    So it's part of the equation I would suspect, but certainly not all of it.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Will do.Now, where did the Old lady put that stock pot?
     
  15. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Me think's I shall boil the worm poop, add some mulm from another tank to the bottom ,sprinkle some osmocote,add a layer of plain kitty litter ,and cover it all with a fine gravel.
    how's that sound? Maybe a little calcium and Epsom salt as well.
    Don't plan on adding any fishes for some time,and tank will be NonCO2 low light.
     
  16. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    So, the Earthworm castings are mixed with equal parts washed sand and used as a bottom layer.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of a DIY soil (CEC, etc.) as apposed to a Laterite substrate or "cheap kitty litter and pool filter sand"?
     
    #77 Tug, Dec 19, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2015
  17. BigFlusher

    BigFlusher Prolific Poster

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    Mike—you might ask Bio, I am sure the answers run toward kitty litter and diy
    It seems like Bio did stuff on cec’s around here
     
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