Potting Mix

mrjohn

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I'm at Lowe's right now looking at some organic potting mix. I want to use it and then cap it. As I'm reading through the info on each bag I noticed that they only feed up until 3 months.

To everyone using potting mix as a base substrate.
Do you notice slower growth after a few months?

There is also a lot more phosphate in the non-organic mix. I have no idea what it's treated with so I won't put it in my tank, but why such a difference?
 

aquaticamanda

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No matter what substrate you use, you will still need to be using roottabs/fertilizer. Using soil wont make much a difference compared to a iron mineral riched substrate. Regardless, you still need to use ferts & tabs so I wouldnt get too worked up over the soil loosing nutrients, even planted substrates will but its not recommended to always replace your substrate because it can be unnecessary
 

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I don't use root tabs or liquid ferts, potting soil will lose some nutrients but it's alright. I use it. I've heard that Aztec clay for your face is a good fert options for aquaria and more fish friendly. I could find more info on that if you want to look into it.
 
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mrjohn

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aquaticamanda said:
No matter what substrate you use, you will still need to be using roottabs/fertilizer. Using soil wont make much a difference compared to a iron mineral riched substrate. Regardless, you still need to use ferts & tabs so I wouldnt get too worked up over the soil loosing nutrients, even planted substrates will but its not recommended to always replace your substrate because it can be unnecessary
Thank you. I already dose ferts and use a few root tabs with Eco-Complete but I wanted something a bit more rich for the re-scape that I'm doing. I was going for a three layer thing. Mix, Eco, and BDBS to cap it all.

I guess my last question is, is it a good idea to change the mix out once a year? Obviously a lot of work and stress on the fish but is an annual refresh more beneficial or more detrimental?

NevermindIgnoreMe said:
I don't use root tabs or liquid ferts, potting soil will lose some nutrients but it's alright. I use it. I've heard that Aztec clay for your face is a good fert options for aquaria and more fish friendly. I could find more info on that if you want to look into it.
Would that be the red clay? I would love more info on that. If I can just put a few pieces of that into the Eco and then cap with BDBS it would be a lot less messy.
 

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mrjohn said:
Thank you. I already dose ferts and use a few root tabs with Eco-Complete but I wanted something a bit more rich for the re-scape that I'm doing. I was going for a three layer thing. Mix, Eco, and BDBS to cap it all.

I guess my last question is, is it a good idea to change the mix out once a year? Obviously a lot of work and stress on the fish but is an annual refresh more beneficial or more detrimental?
Its fine to do a whole rescape maybe once or twice a year, but not all the time because your decor and substrates still hold a good amount of beneficial bacteria, your filter media does hold 90% of the BB so thats why its okay to do small rescapes here and there or 1 big one a year. Generally speaking, you should be fine changing out the substrates, i would mix in handfuls of the old substate with the new just to be safe. Also your tank may be cloudy the next few days, add some activated carbon in your filter to clear it up.
 

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That's a lot more effort and stress on you and your fish than it's worth. The benefits of soil aren't worth it. As the bag says, the nutrients are gone after a few months anyway. I've also heard that soil leaches ammonia into the water for a bit when first introduced, so be careful for that.
 
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mrjohn

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Another question! If I did go with the potting mix, how deep should that layer be? 1-2 inches?

Just need to make a final decision. Plants should all be here by Wednesday.
 

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mrjohn said:
Another question! If I did go with the potting mix, how deep should that layer be? 1-2 inches?

Just need to make a final decision. Plants should all be here by Wednesday.
2 inches and then 1 inch topped (I believe you said you were topping it with something)
 

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I couldn't find the Aztec clay thing I was looking for. But I did find a good fert I personally want to try know. Oliver Knotts plant superfood, you sprinkle it over the soil, before you cap it. I saw it used in a beautiful planted aquascape with tons of plants, which is thriving. Sorry for the late reply, good luck with your setup!
 
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NevermindIgnoreMe said:
I couldn't find the Aztec clay thing I was looking for. But I did find a good fert I personally want to try know. Oliver Knotts plant superfood, you sprinkle it over the soil, before you cap it. I saw it used in a beautiful planted aquascape with tons of plants, which is thriving. Sorry for the late reply, good luck with your setup!
No problem! Thank you! I picked up a few bags of potting mix but I have since read more about common issues with fitted tanks. I'm going to use my Eco-complete as the base and cap with BDBS. I'll continue the root tabs and liquid fertz but I have another addition.

Just purchased red clay from Dustin's fish tanks. Hopefully the plants will thrive with all of that. Maybe I'll just use the clay and liquid fertz to start.

I have house plants so I suppose the potting mix won't go to waste.
 

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Ran dirt for 3 years in this tank, no liquid ferts, no root tabs. Miracle grow organic soil. Zero issues, only a tiny bit of diatom algae at the beginning
CE6D1D45-CF4D-4FA1-AF38-575A8924E08A.jpeg
 
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mrjohn

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Johnb114 said:
Ran dirt for 3 years in this tank, no liquid ferts, no root tabs. Miracle grow organic soil. Zero issues, only a tiny bit of diatom algae at the beginning
CE6D1D45-CF4D-4FA1-AF38-575A8924E08A.jpeg
That's awesome! I just keep reading horror stories about muddy water and what not. I was going to dampen the soil, cap it, place plastic bags over it and slowly fill it but again...those stories.
 

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What I normally do is add the soil dry to the tank, fill it with water just before the soil starts to float. Then cap with gravel minimum 2”, 3-4” is ideal. I have done 1” caps and they work fine with certain fish. Just don’t try and move plants with a 1” cap.

you are going to want to wait a month before adding fish. cover the surface of the tank with duck weed or some sort of fast growing floating plant to absorb excess nutrients.

when I move plants in my dirted tanks I slowly wiggle/pull on the base of plant and trim the roots. Doing it that way eliminates making any mess if you want to rescape
 
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mrjohn

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Johnb114 said:
What I normally do is add the soil dry to the tank, fill it with water just before the soil starts to float. Then cap with gravel minimum 2”, 3-4” is ideal. I have done 1” caps and they work fine with certain fish. Just don’t try and move plants with a 1” cap.

you are going to want to wait a month before adding fish. cover the surface of the tank with duck weed or some sort of fast growing floating plant to absorb excess nutrients.

when I move plants in my dirted tanks I slowly wiggle/pull on the base of plant and trim the roots. Doing it that way eliminates making any mess if you want to rescape
Great tips! I guess I never though about the waiting period to stock. I already have full stock on this tank. They are in a 10 gallon at the moment until I am done with this rescape. Which should be done by tomorrow.

Maybe I can attempt it on the fourth tank. Maybe a 75 gallon?
 

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Ya by all means. You could try a shorter period then a month but it that is what I usually wait. After a month most the algae/diatoms should be calmed down
 

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NevermindIgnoreMe said:
I couldn't find the Aztec clay thing I was looking for. But I did find a good fert I personally want to try know. Oliver Knotts plant superfood, you sprinkle it over the soil, before you cap it. I saw it used in a beautiful planted aquascape with tons of plants, which is thriving. Sorry for the late reply, good luck with your setup!
You can usually get the Aztec clay mask at Target or Raley’s in the beauty isle. I had no idea you could also use it in your tanks! I couldn’t find anything about it online though. How are you supposed to use it in you tank? What is it supposed to do?
 

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julifhy said:
You can usually get the Aztec clay mask at Target or Raley’s in the beauty isle. I had no idea you could also use it in your tanks! I couldn’t find anything about it online though. How are you supposed to use it in you tank? What is it supposed to do?
I can't remember exactly, or find the page I found it on for that matter, but you were supposed to shake it up with 2 parts tank water and pour around your tank I believe. I'd heard it was even used to develop colors in koi or something, don't know how that worked, but I am super into the idea of natural ferts and really natural fish keeping in general. I'm still trying to find that and if I do I will tell you guys anything I find. :)
 

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