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How To: Mineralized Soil Substrate

Topsoil: $2.00 / 40 lb. bag Potash: $22.00 / 50 lb. bag Clay: $8.00 / 13 lb. block (Could also use Laterite) Dolomite $12.00 / bag (Could also use crushed coral) Top Layer $ variable depends on preference How to: Mineralized Soil Substrate Materials Needed TIME TOP SOIL POTTERY DOLOMITE MURIATE FINE GRAVEL OR CLAY OF POTASH COARSE SAND Only Add if Potassium Chloride (KCI) Red, Gray or Yellow Clay Potassium Muriate pH < 7 Potassium Monochloride Equipment Needed PLASTIC STORAGE WINDOW SPLIT MESH LARGE PLASTIC TARP CONTAINER The Process Add water. Stir around to break up big Distribute cheap topsoil in the container for soaking purposes clumps and evenly distribute the water days I2" above soil Dump the water off of the top. Add more water. This water changing process helps to "rinse" the soil of any possible fertilizers or other harmful water soluble chemicals. I3" above soil days Drain excess water. Lay out muddy soil and spread relatively thin over the tarp, preferably in direct sunlight. Allow soil to dry completely. This part of the process could 9 be done indoors as well. The drying process allows the microbes in the soil to begin mineralizing the nutrients.Exposing it to air oxygenates the soil. days Repeating steps is necessary to further mineralize the soil and remove any lingering fertilizers. The soil mineralizes the most during the time while it is still moist and exposed O to air. By re-soaking, we reintroduce the needed moisture for this process to take place. When the soil is near fully mineralized it will have a very grainy texture and virtually no smell. repeat times 12 days day days Screening the soil helps remove any large organic materials that the short mineralization process employed thus far cannot remove. Adding this step to the process helps to further eliminate algae issues after a tank is newly setup. Place a few handfuls of soil on top and gently push the soil across the surface of the screen. Sticks, leaves and stones are removed during this step. The resulting sifted soil will feel like airy sand. POTTERY CLAY AMOUNT: 4 pound/ sq. ft of tank bottom TOTAL TIME REQUIRED or 5% to 10% of soil The higher iron content in red clay will bring out the 'reds' in plants under I Sppm nitatre levels. 18 This ratio provides good flocculation to allow the soil settling when plants S days are moved around and to bind nutrients in the soil. Another way to mix clay- is to set out the clay and flatten it out. Once it's dried out crush it into a powder and mix it into the soil. Powdered form from pottery supply stores will work as well. SOIL is now ready to use Set up Aquarium Add gravel of your choice along the front and side edges of the aquarium bottom. Wet it just enough that it holds a slope and press it up against the sides. This step ensures that we will not see the different layers of substrate when viewing the tank from the front and sides. 3M Colorquartz T-Grade Black Sand is preffered as it is very dense and holds a slope for a long period of time. The finer granules also allow for easy planting. gravel border I2" from base GRAVEL Sprinkle a light dusting of both the dolomite and muriate of potash on the bottom glass of the tank. The bottom of the glass should still be somewhat visible. Start liguid dosage of Potassium (KH2PO4) after 4-6months of setup. Follow I nutrient calculator. DOLOMITE MURIATE OF POTASH Add enough water to soil+clay mixture to form a nice runny mud. Fill in the borders you've created with the runny mud mixture of mineralized soil and clay. This layer should be anywhere from 2" to 1" deep. Deeper levels of soil result in anaerobic pockets which lead to toxicity and I decay of plant life. mud mixture =1" from base 4. Cover the mud with the same border gravel by about 1" in the front to 2" in the back of the tank to create a nice sloping substrate effect. I2" at back gravel =1" at front 55 Begin planting and filling the aquarium as you would any other planted aquarium. Use caution when filling the tank with water. Go slowly to avoid disturbing the sub- strate and uncovering the soil. Follow below parameters. 18 PLANT DENSLY days NO HEAVY REDUCE FREQUENT FISH CO2 LIGHTING WATER Remove any floating soil or wood particles. CHANGES Yellowing of water may be the e start of a green water algae bloom. This will go away once the tank has cycled. Try minimizing moving plants in the substrate. Switch off the filter during maintenance TOTAL TIME ESTIMATED Measure Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite levels frequently. Once permissible levels are achieved, you may adjust CO2 and lighting levels and then add fish to the tank. Time durations will vary and are subjected to water, soil and maintenance parameters, Going slow and observation are vital elements of the process. days Content adapted from APC forum members Aaron T FISH may now be added to tank. and others. Design by Amit Bapat. A COLLABORATION between abDESIGNWORKS and AQUATIC PLANT FORUM (APC), March 2010

How To: Mineralized Soil Substrate

shared by IGEmp on Dec 27
This infographic provides step by step directions on how to mineralize soil substrate in an aquarium.


Amit Bapat


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