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Old 07-17-2015, 03:08 PM   #11
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I am also a noob aquarium owner but I am also a Golf Course Superintendent who knows soils very well. The only way I would use dirt from m back yard is if I could sterilize it. Depending on how old your house is may give you an indicator of what kind of pesticides could have been used. Some of the older pesticides have really long residual rates containing heavy metals. You could be playing Russian roulette
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:27 PM   #12
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My house was built in 1949, and, yes, they had some rough stuff then. Who would think about building with creosote saturated lumber today? I think Agent Orange was also in use then. Still, I got away with it. I bet using dirt from away from all buildings helped.
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:49 PM   #13
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I agree. You should have used some organic potting soil with no added fertilisers.

Soil tanks can take weeks to settle.


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Old 08-18-2015, 03:58 PM   #14
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ah I know that color well, its just tannin (sp?) from the wood in the so called dirt..I have tried 3 brands now and looked at many more and all have a high percentage of wood in them, saddly shifting only gets the large bits out. That said the more plants you have the faster its removed without doing anything else, I've heard the purigen does a nice job, but I can't find it in a small(ish) amount that my pocket says I can buy it at.


So far all my planted tanks how settled out with my 125 taking the longest at about 4 months (no plants at the start) with my 45 tall showing clean in a few days (Xtremely heavy on plants)
buy it off amazon for $13
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:22 AM   #15
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I think that you make a big mistake with this soil.
Soil usage is a legal practice, and nothing wrong with it, in general. Many Russian aquarist using it for many years, especially who living in a small towns without a good specialised stores. The better soil should be from a deciduous tree forest, but a backyard may be good enough, too.

But the problems are:

1. Bad water circulation. Without a good water circulation, you will have putrefaction шт your soit which is not good in many reasons. To prevent it, you have to use the bottom layer with a medium fraction (5-10 mm) of lava rocks or at least gravel. Also, you have to made your soil layer more porous, mixing your soil with a sand (1-2 mm fraction).

2. Any soil contain ALOT of a raw, unprocessed, organics. So, soil should be properly prepared. The main technique, as I know: put a pure water in your soil (ALOT, to receive a liquid mud) and put it to a sun for 2-3 weeks, mixing each day. Bacterias will processing all raw organics, create the great humus from a soil. When you will see that any active process and gas secretion will stop, just dry the soil at the sun and mix it with a pure sand 1:1. This will be a great substrate. And it will not cloud your water too much, even with replanting.

With a raw soil in the tank, you will have much longer cycling with a high level of ammonia, and probably other toxics, at the first stage. But all will be OK finally, just have a patience

3. Also, according your photo, the rocks over your soil are tooo big. The top layer should be with smallest fraction of a gravel, for many reasons, these big may be added as decorations only.

I did something similar for my tank just about a month ago. I used Ada Power Sand Special as a bottom layer, and I used not a soil but biohumus (same thing n general just more concentrated). Instead a soaking, I boiled the biohumus (about 15 minutes of boiling), for a same reason - oxygenation of any active organics and ammonia; soaking is better because you will receive the bioculture of a proper bacterias in your soil/biohumus, but boiling is much faster


This tank is (about one month old):
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:50 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Krakozavr View Post
I think that you make a big mistake with this soil.

Soil usage is a legal practice, and nothing wrong with it, in general. Many Russian aquarist using it for many years, especially who living in a small towns without a good specialised stores. The better soil should be from a deciduous tree forest, but a backyard may be good enough, too.



But the problems are:



1. Bad water circulation. Without a good water circulation, you will have putrefaction шт your soit which is not good in many reasons. To prevent it, you have to use the bottom layer with a medium fraction (5-10 mm) of lava rocks or at least gravel. Also, you have to made your soil layer more porous, mixing your soil with a sand (1-2 mm fraction).



2. Any soil contain ALOT of a raw, unprocessed, organics. So, soil should be properly prepared. The main technique, as I know: put a pure water in your soil (ALOT, to receive a liquid mud) and put it to a sun for 2-3 weeks, mixing each day. Bacterias will processing all raw organics, create the great humus from a soil. When you will see that any active process and gas secretion will stop, just dry the soil at the sun and mix it with a pure sand 1:1. This will be a great substrate. And it will not cloud your water too much, even with replanting.



With a raw soil in the tank, you will have much longer cycling with a high level of ammonia, and probably other toxics, at the first stage. But all will be OK finally, just have a patience



3. Also, according your photo, the rocks over your soil are tooo big. The top layer should be with smallest fraction of a gravel, for many reasons, these big may be added as decorations only.



I did something similar for my tank just about a month ago. I used Ada Power Sand Special as a bottom layer, and I used not a soil but biohumus (same thing n general just more concentrated). Instead a soaking, I boiled the biohumus (about 15 minutes of boiling), for a same reason - oxygenation of any active organics and ammonia; soaking is better because you will receive the bioculture of a proper bacterias in your soil/biohumus, but boiling is much faster





This tank is (about one month old):

This is fantastic advice. I believe the term used for what you describe in point 2 is mineralisation. I am starting my mineralisation process this week. It is to prevent (as much as possible) the chaotic start to a soil substrate tank.

Basically put soil in a container of choice and fill water to just above the soil line. After a couple of days drain old water and replace with new. After two days pour water out and let the soil dry outside (if possible). This is when the bacteria will begin the breakdown of organics. Once dry you soak and repeat the drying process 3-4 times. You will know when the soil is mineralised because is will be a very powdery soil with no smell.

You can add whatever you want to it then, clay, lime etc.


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Old 08-25-2015, 05:05 AM   #17
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drain old water and replace with new.
Hi! Yes, "Mineralisation" should be correct word, sorry my english
I'm not sure about water changes, if you suggest to pour out old water. It may be turning process faster, but with an poured water you will washed out many of useful minerals. But what about some cycles of draining and soaking, I know one very experienced man at the Russian forum who advised this way, too. I believe it is a very good suggestion.

When I boiled my biohumus, I did not poured water out, but I drained it "as is".

And you are right, the final soil should have no bad smell, and almost no any smell at all.
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Krakozavr View Post
Hi! Yes, "Mineralisation" should be correct word, sorry my english
I'm not sure about water changes, if you suggest to pour out old water. It may be turning process faster, but with an poured water you will washed out many of useful minerals. But what about some cycles of draining and soaking, I know one very experienced man at the Russian forum who advised this way, too. I believe it is a very good suggestion.

When I boiled my biohumus, I did not poured water out, but I drained it "as is".

And you are right, the final soil should have no bad smell, and almost no any smell at all.

Pouring the water out initially is just preparation before the mineralisation and is a preventive just incase the are any harmful chemicals in the soil as well as useful. You can also remove the floating particles this way


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