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Old 05-09-2013, 09:23 AM   #11 
Deanna01
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I have read multiple places that recommend "pond soil," and that contains manure....
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #12 
Nicci Lu
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The potting mix has poultry litter, but does not have manure. It looks like you have the soil, which does have manure. The soil recommended by Oldfishlady, and by Diana Walstad (who came up with the idea of NPTs) is the potting mix. Personally, I would not use any soil that has manure in it- this is going to be a very hot soil. If it were my only choice, I would mineralize this soil first to break down some of the organics. Google 'mineralize top soil' and you'll see how to do it. Basically, you wet the soil and let it dry out repeatedly. Or, you could also do a 50/50 mix of MGOC soil and something with a high cation content, such as flourite. The flourite helps to keep the ammonia released from the soil within the soil.

I have two dirted tanks, one with the MGOCPM and one with a mixture of a mineralized cheap top soil (no ferts added, no poultry litter at all), dirt from my yard (which is a clay loam soil) and plain, non clumping kitty litter (this also provides cations). The one with MGOCPM, I have had ammonia issues with for a month. The other one has been doing great from the get-go. Personally, I would never use the MG again- even with only the poultry litter, it is still too hot.

That's just my opinion. I know it works for many, including Ms. Walstad (but she could make anything grow in any substrate and still have it be fish-safe). Heck, I once saw a thread on another forum where a guy mixed dog poop in with his soil and it worked.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:11 PM   #13 
Kuronue
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Location: Chautauqua County, NY - My mind is in my fish tank usually
I used a home mix for my npt that I mineralized before use.

Organic is good, I'd avoid manure from cows or poultry. If its been sterilized, not a huge worry, I'd still mineralize the stuff just to be safe. Fussy step, but it never hurts to be extra careful.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:54 AM   #14 
Deanna01
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My tank has been set up for a week now with the Miracle-Gro Organic Garden Soil. The parameters as of this morning are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 10 nitrates. So far, so good, at least.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:53 AM   #15 
redchigh
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The manure is surely composted, so i wouldn't worry about sterility.

I prefer dirt out of my yard, but you should be fine. Just test before adding fish.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:59 AM   #16 
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Hi, Red. Thanks! I ended up starting over anyway, for a variety of reasons. I tried to make the process amusing, anyway. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...no-npt-178394/
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #17 
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Personally I find the soil is too rich for the tanks without mineralization or mixing with something more inert. Often times without burrowing snails people will get pockets of anerobic gas buildup which can poison and kill the fish within a matter of hours or less if they come to the surface.

I suggest using a small amount of worm castings mixed 50/50 with blasting grit (or other even-sized grit sands) and use that as a base. You can mix in some of the garden soils but I'd use very little. If you're not using co2 and don't have high light you'll build up a concentration of water soulible minerals that, while not deadly, can be uncomfortable for the fish and don't show up on regular A/N/N test kits.

If you do want to use slightly richer soils, I would stick with those that only contain rabbit, goat, or worm compost.
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