Organic Miracle Grow as a Substrate

  1. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    Hello All.

    I am thinking of using Organic Miracle Grow as a substrate, my question I have to put a layer of gravel on top of it?
  2. CichlidSWAGA Well Known Member Member

    yes! as fine of gravel as you can find or sand. I prefer gravel
  3. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    thank you. Is there a reason for putting a layer of gravel on top the Miracle Grow?
  4. CichlidSWAGA Well Known Member Member

    Because if you did not have it the dirt would float all over the place in your water and you would not even be able to see the back of your tank. Also when you do put dirt in your tank make the dirt muddy and let it soak up water before you put gravel/sand over top of it, this will also keep the tank a little cleaner in the beginning. After you have put your gravel/sand on top fill the tank up 1/4 full, empty it and repeat a couple times this will save a lot of cleaning down the road. Dirt takes a lot more effort to get set up but the plants will love you for it.
    What light(s) will you be using? What size is your tank?
  5. jerilovesfrogs Fishlore VIP Member

    ohhhh you want something over the soil for sure. if not, it will be a mess. i'd try to do 1.5 inches of soil, and 1.5 inches of fine gravel, or sand. i like tahitian moon sand.

    acutually you don't need to empty and refill. i just set up my 4th NPT yesterday, and just put it all in, filled it, put the plants in, then the fish. it's a teeny bit hazy...but that goes away in a few days. :)
  6. CichlidSWAGA Well Known Member Member

    Better to be safe then sorry
  7. iRun Member Member

    On The Planted Tank forum, I've seen people making the distinction between MG organic soil, and potting mix. Apparently the potting mix is the better choice because it has less or no cow manure. I think I've got that straight, but you may want to poke around a little on the subject.
  8. kinezumi89 Fishlore VIP Member

    Actually (correct me if I'm wrong), but I believe the potting mix has those little white balls that absorb moisture (and float), while the gardening soil does not. I used garden soil and have no complaints. (Well, there were a few pieces of plastic in it, but nothing that couldn't be picked out... :) )
  9. iRun Member Member

    Originally Posted by Michael in Texas
    Use the potting mix. The garden soil has an additional ingredient, manure, which could cause some problems. I have used the potting mix in two tanks with excellent results. One tip: if you soak and drain the potting mix a few times before putting it the tank, you will have almost no tanins to deal with. When you drain the soil, pour the water off the top to remove the floating bits. This way you do not need to screen the mix or pick out the big pieces before you use it. That said, I have used it straight from the bag with no problems except tanin-stained water which was solved with a few water changes.

    Complete agreement with what is stated above by M in Tex."

    Here is an example of a post from The Planted Tank. I was just pointing out that there are differences and some people have fairly strong prefernces so it is worth doing some checking into. I, don't use it but plan doing some nano/bowl tanks with it soon!
  10. jerilovesfrogs Fishlore VIP Member

    i have used the MGOC garden soil... in several tanks....and it's been fine. i've not had hardly any tannins, and i just put it straight in. i'd have to look at the bag, but i don't think it has manure in it. not sure if all the potting soils have those little white balls in it or not....haven't used those. but DO stay AWAY from topsoil, ime, that gives off way way too many tannins.

    i looked at the bag....and the ingredients vary by region. in FL, it could have cow manure....but other regions don't use that. it does talk about manure of another kind, but it's not 'fresh' manure...which is something you wouldn't want.

    but really, it's up to you on which you use...potting or garden. but you'd want a potting soil without the white styrofoam balls. which i don't *think* MGOC potting soil has...but i'm not 100% sure.

    in the beginning of setting up an NPT, or natural planted tank, you want to do more water changes...and after about 6 weeks or so....they can become less and less. i've noticed in my 12g, which was set up in jan....the plants have really taken off, so really i'm just topping off now.
  11. CichlidSWAGA Well Known Member Member

    NPT's are awesome! thats why i did mine less water changes and very good plant growth!
  12. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    Okay, Dirted Planted Tank is the way to go for me. I have another question about the process of setting it up.

    1. Soil placement
    2. Plant placement (?)
    3. Thin layer of gravel or sand (?)
    4. Water

    Did I get step 2 and 3 mixed up or do I do layer of gravel or sand then plants?
  13. Fall River Member Member

    That's probably a preference thing but, I imagine it would be easier to add the sand/gravel before the plants.
    Don't forget to take some pics for us. We love pics!!!
  14. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    I will. I don't get my tank until next Saturday April 14
  15. jerilovesfrogs Fishlore VIP Member

    yes soil first, then sand/gravel....plants. using plant tweezers is the only way to plant...without disturbing m much of the substrate

  16. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    I went over to Home Depot to check out the ingredients for the Organic Miracle Grow, it consisted of : Regionally formulate for California from forest products, compost, sphagnum peat moss, composted manure and pasteurized poultry litter. Is this safe?
  17. CichlidSWAGA Well Known Member Member

    Pretty sure that's what mine is
  18. ZeeZ Well Known Member Member

    I've read peat moss can cause mold issues.

    I went ahead and bought a bag of Orangic Miracle Gro Potting Soil anyway.
  19. jerilovesfrogs Fishlore VIP Member

    I don't think it causes mold....I've never read that before. sounds like what mine is made out of.......... ive had a bowl of plants and shrimp set up since the fall, and its going well.

  20. AmazonPassion Moderator Moderator Member

    I know peat moss is perfectly safe because I put peat moss in my filter to lower ph, I am just not sure of poultry litter and compost manure.