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Mineralized Top Soil Killed My Livestock

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by CaptMicha, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. CaptMicha

    CaptMicha New Member

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    So I went to Home Depot and bought a cheap, big bag of the stuff and followed the instructions. It was during the summer so I was able to lay it out under the sun (what do you do during the wet, dark, cold winter?) and mineralize it until it got that grainy texture.

    Added clay and dolomite and the potash, but I never got very good plant growth and it slowly killed the livestock in every tank I used it in. I never made thick levels with it and used caps, and fully cycled biological filters.

    I'm not sure what went wrong here. It's been suggested to me that the top soil may have been contaminated.

    I'm in need of plant sediment again and I'm afraid of the same thing happening. How would you even know?

    It happened over time. Not right away.

    I was able to save some fish and they've gone on to spawn in another tank with none of the stuff.

    I've been using what I have left to grow some immersed plants and they've been doing poorly until I added Osmocote.

    I've had similar problems with submersed plants too.

    I think it was Miracle Grow top soil.
     
  2. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    Often the most suitable soil is the one that is least toxic. Soil can behave differently when it's submersed and transitioning in to sediment. I'd use something else instead just to be on the safe side. Try something that is tried and tested for aquatic life. I use aquatic compost, the type used in ponds and sometimes mix in some added moss peat. Something like this below. Don't be too hung up on mineralising it first. I always let mine mineralise in situ in the tank. Take a look at this for more info https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/the-soil-substrate-or-dirted-planted-tank-a-how-to-guide.18943/
    [​IMG]
     
    CaptMicha and sarpijk like this.
  3. CaptMicha

    CaptMicha New Member

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    Thanks for the reply! I've never seen that before but will look around for it.

    That's great, bc the wait for it to mineralize sucks!

    I've used Miracle Grow organic in limited experiments before with good results, mainly in little pots with pebbles to hold it down in there neatly in tanks with fish. No deaths that I can recall.

    I might do that again, or possibly worm compost from my red wigglers.
     
  4. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    I think it's a UK brand but I'm sure there will an equivalent in the US.
    You have quite few options both Miracle Grow and worm casts are both tried and tested ;)
     
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