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

Scott, I'm kinda amused, too, that she's gone to packaged potting soil
mix. John Glaeser, of Madison Aquarium Gardeners (interviewed by AGA
in 2000) sites using ACE top soil or potting soil 50/50 with profile
clay soil conditioner in the bottom layer. I followed his recipe 
faithfully in Aug 2002 but won't go back to soil-based tanks. All
my tanks will be TBM or substrate-less (bare or lava rock). Diatoms
crusting on the front glass, thread algae-from-hell, good-bye! I don't
mean to diminish those who use soil-based tanks in any way. My experiences
have been negative, is all.
TBM=Tom Barr Method wherein mulm, peat, and flourite form the "foundation,"
with his attendant nutrient adjuncts.....and 50% water changes! (Wish I had
the delta symbol on my keyboard for "change.":-)


-----Original Message-----
From: aquatic-plants-bounces at actwin_com
[mailto:aquatic-plants-bounces at actwin_com]On Behalf Of S. Hieber
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 8:05 AM
To: aquatic plants digest
Subject: 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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