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Re: Old smelly soil?

>About a year ago I was going to use a topsoil / sand mix under my
gravel bed
>in my planted tank.  So I mixed the sand and soil in a tub and soaked
it all
>in water to leech....
>For a year....
>now its nasty and smells funky, if I drain the water and let it sit in
>sun or something for a bit is it still usable?  or should I toss it and
>start again?   
>There will be fish in the tank.

Mark -

You're probably fine. The reason it smells strange is probably because
the organic material in it has been decomposing in an anoxic (no-oxygen)
environment, producing smelly byproducts such as H2S and CH4.

My guess is that this soil will be significantly more stable in your
aquarium than fresh topsoil that hasn't been soaked. Once you have plant
roots in it to keep it oxygenated, things should improve quickly.

If you're really nervous about the fish, you can set it up as a
plant-only tank first, and just add fish food. If, after a month, the
plants are healthy and all the water parameters look fine, then it
should be safe for fish.

- Jim