Re:Subject:earthworm castings

Stephen.Pushak wrote 30 Oct
Subject: Re: earthworm castings

Paul Krombholz wrote, 28 Oct
 Subject: Re: earthworm castings
 Anne Seales wrote, Oct. 27:
.......Their worm castings are available in 1/2 cubic foot size @$9.95, and 1cf
@$15.95.  Shipping is steep as this stuff is heavy - add $5 per 1/2cf bag,
and $10 per 1cf bag.  .......
Before you shell out all those $$ for earthworm castings, are you sure that
there is anything special or magical about earthworm castings?  What is in
earthworm castings that isn't in ordinary topsoil that would befefit
aquatic plants?  Please, whoever sets up some plants with earthworm
castings, do an experiment for us.  Set up one tray with castings and
another with ordinary topsoil, and plant the same kind of plants in both
trays.  Let us know if there is a noticeable difference in growth between
the two trays.

I don't think we will find a really big difference between good quality
black loam and earthworm derived humus aside from higher proportions of
sand or clay in the former which may not matter. Sometimes it's just
hard to find black loam. The dirt available here in Vancouver is pretty
sandy or clay with low humus. That's why I didn't use it.

The point of using earthworm castings is to provide a high quality,
fully composted humus. It would be useful for Aponogetons, Ludwigia
and other species which tolerate a rich substrate. If used in moderation
it would also do well for a general purpose substrate and would be very
similar to plain dirt or topsoil. It has the (possible) advantage over
potting soil in that it does not contain uncomposted organics such as
peat. Of course, Neil Frank is using a peat and vermiculite substrate with
good success. Neil, is that substrate designed for a specific type of
plants or kind of general purpose? What was the composition again? I
also recall you mentioning that mud substrates are very commonly used
by the academic types for research on aquatic plants. In your opinion,
are these soil based substrates trickier? Karen, are Crypts generally
lovers of rich, muddy substrates too?


Soil old Good Soil 
Hello this is Pavlos from Greece
I use topsoil collected from Greek Forests for the past 14 years. I mix this
with laterite I collect from a laterite mine in Evia a province in Greece.
For me aquatic plants and this mixture go together. I have had sucess with
virtually all the plants I encountered in Greek aquarium shops. The quality
of soil affected a lot the kind of growth I had, so the choice of soil makes
a big difference in the end. Basically though a rich smell  indicates a good
soil. I use 5 cm of soil with lateritte on the bottom of  the aquarium and
on top I add 3 cm of gravel stone-size 3 mm. I add plants and water in the
aquarium, I leave it without fish for 15 days then I add some Ancistrus and
a number of fish. For light, I have used Metal Halide lamps and at other
times fluorescent tubes. I use CO2. After the water is added, the soil
leaches and the water turns tea-colored. I do a water change and in the 15th
day I add the fish. It seems that the soil starts up the Nitrobacteria
culture really fast. The fish are happy with the the tea - colored water
that lasts for 6 months with gradual loss of color. Within the 14 years of
having plants in aquaria with these parameters  no disease appeared in the
aquaria. Therefore I believe that soil makes the difference.       
Hello everybody out there nice not to feel alone
freakbrothers at prometheus_hol.gr