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using garden soil while cycling tank


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Hi.  I read you could use garden soil to introduce biodivesity into the water column. 

  1. Has anyone tried this? 
  2. Anyone know how much to add? 
  3. Would it be better to grab the soil that's a few inches deeper into the earth or top soil is fine?
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Garden soil, composted manure, pond muck,potting soil form a house plant that has been growing for a while…


basically you are innoculating your tank, substrate, filter with beneficial bacteria.


I used 1/4 cup of Black Kow composted manure in a mesh bag to cycle my last tank. Just set it near the filter and a few days later gave it a few light squeezes.

in around8-9 days  a 20 gallon tank was able to metabolize 2ppm ammonia to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites 24 hours after dosing.  Bag of Black Kow cost me under 10.00 at HomeDepot.

compared to $15.00 for Bacteria in a bottle taking over 4 weeks…

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Wow nice. I tried finding cow manure in home depot's website, but they only had expensive stuff.  I did find earthworm composted manure for about $10.  I'm guessing it'd work as well?  


I have a 20H tank as well.  So I guess I'll use like an old t-shirt or sock and mix some composted manure and my garden soil together and see how it goes.  Thank you @Pepere

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  • 5 weeks later...

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