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RE: smelly soil substrates

Steve <spushak at CCGATE_HAC.COM> wrote:

<Moral: use your nose when getting soil. Avoid a sour smelling soil. It 
<     already has high H2S content and that's definitely going to
<     the growth of your aquatic plants.
<     A strong smell could also be ammonia and this is not really a
<     (although any soil with enough manure to smell of ammonia is
<     too rich to be used without mixing with sand, gravel or
<     The ammonia smell is easy to learn; it's the smell of manure or
<     take a whiff from the ammonia cleaner bottle.

Although I agree with most of what Steve said, one small observation. In
"hot" mulch pile the odor of ammonia will always be present, from my
This doesn't always indicate a high level of manure. In my experience,
bacteria, present in the mulch, produce large amounts of ammonia. When
"digestion" is complete the ammonia production drops off. Maybe my only 
disagreement is in what I think of as manure. Maybe the ammonia is just
"manure". :-)

PacNeil at worldnet_att.net *   Life is what happens to you 
Neil Schneider		 *   while you're busy making other plans
Poway, CA USA		 *  The Feynman problem solving Algorithm
        		 *	1) Write down the problem
        		 *	2) Think real hard
        		 *	3) Write down the answer
                	 *		Murray Gel-mann in the NY Times