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Re: Muddy thoughts

Jeff Dietsch wrote:

>My dime, if your interested, I like "my mud".  
>   Hows that for a qualifier?:)  Last year when Steve P. asked if anyone
>was interested in "testing" soil setups, I volunteered a 20 gal for a
>little test of the Pennsylvania soils.  Kind of liked the idea and though
>it would be neat.  Well I finally got the thing up and running in  July of
>this year.  I am impressed with the results.  You can view the details if
>interested on my site at 

First, I'd like to congratulate you for a beautiful and well thought out
site.  There's a lot that can be learned by following the progression of a
tank like this.  And your tank is clearly thriving.

I do have a couple of comments, however.  I'm sure you realize this, but
for the novices on the list, I want to point out that talking about testing
"pennsylvania soils" is only slightly more specific than "U.S. soils".
There's a HUGE variation of soils in your state.  One only needs to drive
through Amish country, coal country and the Poconos to realize that.  

You have clearly proven that the soil you picked at least supports early
growth very well without terrible problems, although I would not find that
amount of fish loss in the early weeks acceptable.

As you point out later in your post, you would not hesitate to recommend
your source to a neighbor WITH GOOD MENTORSHIP, but the results might be
very different for someone 20 miles away.  

I also was impressed by the amount of work you went to to get your soil
ready for the tank.  My poor tendonitis would certainly not appreciate me
schlepping 5 gallon buckets of dirt out of the woods, let alone digging the
hole to get to it.  Did you happen to have a screen on hand that you could
use to sift the stuff, or did you need to buy supplies to make a screen and
frame?  It sounds like hard work sifting it out, but even if it's not hard
physically, I'm _sure_ this whole process is time consuming.  

I guess the point I'm getting at is, how much is my time and effort worth?
I still think I'm ahead of the game paying $20 for my little box of dirt
;-)  If you're the kind of person who feels that doing it yourself is one
of _the_ most important aspects of your hobby, then this approach is
probably the way to go (along with building your own aquariums from

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association