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Re: [APD] Soil and the Diana Factor -- or Don't do as I say,Do as I do?

Thaks for the clarifications and corrections, Phil. Some of
it is not entirely consistent with the book, but author's
change views toos ;-)

--- Phil Edwards <biotypical at hotmail_com> wrote:
> I have the pleasure of living not too far from Diana and
> having had her give 
> a talk at a local club meeting.  She gave us a wonderful
> explanation of what 
> her method really entails and why things work the way
> they do.  Since then 
> I've had many discussions with her regarding how and why
> she does things.  
> There have been a lot of "urban legends" floating around
> about Walstead 
> aquariums and I'd like to get on my soapbox and clarify
> some of them.
> "Based on Walstad's excellent treatise, doesn't it take
> many years for the
> soil to be depleted?"
> Based on a few in-depth conversations with her about this
> she says that most 
> potting mixes last about two to three years depending on
> conditions in the 
> aquarium.

To me, that's not very long in aquarium terms. I would be
risking the mud clouds only for the sake of two years worth
of traces? TMG is looking better all the time ;-)

> "Aren't soils from diff places very diff?"
> I'd like to stress that soils aren't what she recommends.
>  A nice, cheap, 
> non-enhanced, potting mix is what she's talking about. 
> The most important 
> element  of this is peat moss.  It's needed to maintain a
> low pH in the 
> substrate to keep the decomposition at a slow, steady,
> rate.  It's from this 
> that we get the DOC and trace elements for the aquarium. 
> Soil such as most 
> of us are thinking contains too many other elements and
> not enough peat to 
> make a stable environment.

This is in the second edition?  The first talks about soil
from the backyard.

> "As Ellen said, a coffee-can full isn't much. Actually,
> Walstad explicitly
> makes the point that you can use much more soil (on a
> volume basis) than
> you can many substrate additives, so even if it's a less
> concentrated
> source of a particular nutrient you still wind up with
> more."

Not if it's only going to last for a couple of years; the
amount is rather critical, it would seem.

The book: 
>"As to the differences in soils, Walstad specifically
> recommends using
> topsoil from a well-drained area."

New view or 2nd edition [?] :
> Again, not soil, Potting 
> Mix.  True soil is has too many
> other things that 
> can cause serious destablization in a system like this. 
> When I asked her 
> where she gets hers the words "cheap" and "Wal*Mart" are
> the ones that stick 
> in my mind.

Scott H.

S. Hieber

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