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How to Mineralize Soil Substrates?

Discussion in 'AquaScaping World Magazine Discussions' started by John N., Apr 10, 2008.

  1. JDowns

    JDowns New Member

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    About the clay that is used.

    Not all clays have the same make-up. What would be a recommended clay.

    Examples of clays from a store in my area. As you can see not all clays are created equal. And one may be better suited for our needs than others.

    Raw Clays

    And what all those elements are:

    Ceramic Oxide: P2O5 Phosphorus Pentoxide

    To me the Alberta Slip looks to be the best out of the list that is available locally.

    Ceramic Material: Alberta Slip Archie Bray Slip Albany slip substitute
     

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  2. AaronT

    AaronT New Member

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    I'm not sure what "type" of clay to use exactly. I do know that the redder the clay, the better as it usually contains more iron. I got the clay I used at a pottery supply store in Baltimore, MD. I forget the name of the place though.
     
  3. naman

    naman New Member

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  4. Rattail

    Rattail New Member

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    Hi
    Great Article! Thanks.
     
  5. Robert Hudson

    Robert Hudson ASW Sponsor

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    I curious if anyone who used this method back in 08 when this was written is still using it today with the same enthusiasm or if your opinion of the method has changed any? I know three people who have since turned away from this method saying the amount of effort required is not worth the short term reward.
    Is this a shared feeling?
     
  6. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I think folks are still actively using dirt.
    I prefer good old rice paddy soil myself, not like there's any lack of it.

    It's perfect for growing aquatic weeds and is similar to ADA AS.
     
  7. justo-23

    justo-23 New Member

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    alrighty, as i'm still a sooper noobie at all this, the article refers to "Mineralizing" ... um ... what the heck is it specifically? i mean, you wet it and dry it and wet it and dry it and all of a sudden it's "mineralized" .... like POOF, WALA, ABRA KADABRA! :%3 ok, so i'll trust that it's mineralized, but i'm just curious if anyone out there can help me understand what happened to mineralize it during the process, and what exactly got mineralized during said drying.

    thanx :D

    Justin
     
  8. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    Hello Aaron,

    I've been meaning to contact you to ask about the topsoil mineralization process. I bought Earthgro Potting Soil which claims it's all organic. Is it really necessary to add the soil in the tank in a slurry form after the process? Can it be added dry instead then wet it? Also, many people add plants with water half way in the tank? Can't this be done with just enough water but not completely submerged?
    I don't have a CO2 system and frankly, I will not get one, but will be dosing API CO2 booster. Is this a good method? I also have Seachem liquid ferts I'll be using.
    What is your opinion on this?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  9. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    JL

    AaronT
    , May 22, 2008

    Aaron posted a few replies in 2008 and has not been seen since to the best of my knowledge.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  10. 1077

    1077 New Member

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    Would want soil that does not contain perlite which often get's loose, work's it's way to the surface, and float's about in the tank.
    Plain topsoil (lowe's) is what I use ,and wet it (spray hose or spray bottle) after I dump it in the tank to help prevent air pocket's.
    I mix peat,and plain unscented cat litter with the soil, and cap it all with fine gravel or Black diamond blasting media or play sand .
    Has worked pretty well.
     
  11. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    What's the purpose of litter? What does it do?

    Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
     
  12. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    Thanks Keith. He's probably tired of answering the same questions over and over

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  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    litter is a clay material that has good cation exchange capacity (CEC), which means it is able to bind and release various nutrients for the plants. It serves as "storage" for nutrients until the plants use it by releasing it from the material. This is why many commercial planted tank soils are baked clay soils.

    Really not much of a reason to DIY soil anymore with all that is available these days.
     
  14. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    So, is it the same as natural clay like terracotta? Does it have enough iron in it to benefit the plants? What is a good organic brand to use that does not have any chemicals or scents?
    How much you have to put in the soil?

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  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I cannot answer those questions off the top of my head. I do know cat litter was a commonly used DIY substrate before there was so many good commercial options. You could check The Krib for info. It was the premiere planted tank forum at the birth of the internet and should have done specifics. You'll have to look into it. Is there a particular reason you are opposed to a commercial substrate like aquasoil or seachem flourite?

    I cannot recommend a soil brand, I've never looked or used.

    sent from tapatalk on my phone so auto correct and other errors are bound to happen
     
  16. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    I'm not opposed to those brands, I'm more of a DIYer and want to try making some myself. Also, with real dirt there is more nutrition to the plants for far longer periods of time than those ceramic pre-made substrates and less CO2 to worry about. I want my aquarium as carefree as possible. I put too much time varying for it and I don't want to quit this hobby because of that. So once I'm done with the conversion to real dirt I'm hoping it's a self maintaining system with minimal effort on my part.
    I have not seen any aquarium real dirt being sold out there yet. But if I do them I could determine if I wanna buy it depending on the cost.

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  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Aquasoil is real dirt. Its clay loam...from somewhere. Akadama bonsai soil is another cheap alternative. Tom Barr has recommended rice patty soil, which is probably very similar to the rest. I suppose these clay soils lack the organic bits, which would create the soil CO2 production I think to which you are referring. A layer of peat moss under some fluorite might work for that.

    You'll notice the posts are from 4-5 years ago. People just don't mineralize and use DIY soil that often anymore as it doesn't provide an advantage over the baked clay soils. Its still done...just very rarely.

    Aquasoil is enriched, so is Seachem fluorite with plenty of iron. Aquasoil will stick to a magnet. While I can appreciate trying to setup a maintenance work free tank...there should be some input even if very minimal. You would still need to put in some fertilizer on occasion as all nutrients cannot be accounted for within the soil or from fish waste. A slow moving slow growing system would need little. I have seen wonderful "zero" maintenance tanks. I cannot remember what substrate was used.
     
  18. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    Interesting. I'll check into Aquasoil. Thank you for the info.

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  19. JL1219

    JL1219 New Member

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    Wow, forget Aquasoil that is just too expensive. I will give eco complete a try. I do have eco complete but not the black substrate type. I will still add the dirt I'm mineralizing and set it as a bottom layer, then the existing eco complete as the second layer, finally the black eco complete substrate as cap. Man I have a lot to do, I even have to redo the entire sump to convert it to use filter socks. Oh boy. What a hobby. This is the third of fourth time I do major changes. I hope this is the last one.

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  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    eco complete is a good substrate as well. High CEC and available minerals and micronutrients in basalt (known as rock dust to agrarians)

    you could toss some root tabs down at the bottom before everything else for an added boost and longevity.
     

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