Bord Na Mona Growise Aquatic Compost

properphatboy

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Hi,

I've been lurking for a while as I've been looking into dirted tanks and I'm considering setting one up, so thought I'd come to the experts for some advice I can't find elsewhere.

I'm more into the fish rather than plants, so I'm considering a medium energy approach and would like to know if anyone knows if the Bord Na Mona Growise Aquatic compost would be suitable as it's all I've found local to me. As far as I can tell it contains 75% peat as well as some small gravel and sand to weigh it down, which as far as I know could make up the '25% sustainably sourced ingredients'.

Anyone got any experience or any knowledge of the product, or where I could look for info about it? The only info I've found is that 'any aquatic compost should be suitable.'

Many thanks.
 

alto

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I suggest contacting the company for nutrient analysis - some of the pond aquatic soils have nutrient levels suitable to a pond but overwhelming for an aquarium

https://www.bordnamonahorticulture....s/specialist-compost/growise-aquatic-compost/

If you use this, it needs to be capped with 5-10 cm suitable texture gravel (coarse sand)

Establish plants, then check that ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are suitable for fish addition, if you add digging fish, they can easily expose the soil layer
(eg, many dwarf (& larger) cichlids will rescape when breeding )

I recommend mineralizing “dirt” before use - I think that’s covered in the sticky
 

properphatboy

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Thanks. I've emailed them and may try emailing their UK supplier.

Only considering guppies, so no digging worries.

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properphatboy

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Bord Na Mona said:
Thanks for your enquiry, we don’t provide specific nutrient analysis for Commercial reasons but am happy to give as much information as I can.

The Aquatic Compost is made from a blend of peat, green compost, grit and sand with some lime to bring the pH up slightly and a very low level of our 18-6-12 nutrient package so as not to raise the nitrate levels in the pond.

Any thoughts on this reply from the company welcome. Any further questions I could/should ask are also welcome.

If I were to set up the tank with plants, cycle it and complete waster tests would it be safe to add fish when the tank is cycled? The only parameter he mentions is nitrates which I could account for with testing and adequate water changes.

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alto

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I’d get on the phone with technical support (not sales) and try for more detail - explain that you’re intending to use this in an aquarium (details matter - footprint, soil volume/depth, gravel depth, water volume, filter, pH, GH ... the more information you can supply, the better informed the reply)

Ask for the analysis on their 18-6-12 nutrient package, and any source details they can supply on the formulations (these are often patented but a tech person may be able to provide accurate “hints”)

If you’re planning invertebrates, then any copper levels would be of interest

Whenever using a non aquarium developed product there will always be some unknowns - most instances it works out, occasionally it’s a bad gamble ... so much depends on your intended use with the tank

If planning on expensive shrimp varieties or exceptional or rare fish, I’d not use this sort of product when Tropica and other aquarium dedicated companies supply soil products (eg, Tropica Growth Substrate, Sera Floredepot etc)

If you’re trying to do a budget tank and are patient, then give it a go
BUT include kit costs in the budget
Unlike some, I’m confident that most hobby kits can/will deliver reasonable estimates of what’s occurring in your tank (greatest error generator is the human component), if you’ve limited experience, then select a kit that includes a reference standard (that shows both you and the kit are testing with precision and accuracy)

Check with your water supplier for a complete water analysis - you should receive recent data, an explanation of what/when/how tests are carried out, what may be added to water (chlorine, cloramines, etc, substations etc)
Again you likely need to be prepared to track down the right tech individual

Note that when you use a dirt product (pond or aquarium) in your tank and you decided to move plants about or any degree of rescape (even minor) - the conservative approach is to remove livestock from tank first
There will be some release of dirt “dust” into the water column, adding additional Prime (which will also bind ammonia and nitrites at higher doses) can help, but it’s also possible to release invisible toxins (rare but not so pleasant when it happens in your aquarium .... and why I always remove livestock)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
The Aquatic Compost is made from a blend of peat, green compost, grit and sand with some lime...........Any thoughts on this reply from the company welcome
It is only really suitable as a minor component of your substrate, the main issue is the green waste compost, it is the '25% sustainably sourced ingredients' on the label.

The problem is that it is the <"green waste"> collected from peoples <"domestic refuse collection">. This is then shredded, graded and composted in wind-rows. The material heats up as it composts and after about eight weeks you end up with a black, humus like, substance. You get a considerable reduction in volume (you've lost most of the easily accessible carbon (C) as CO2) and nitrogen), but all the other minerals have been concentrated in the remaining compost, so it is <"pretty "salty">. You still have some carbon content from <"wood etc.">, and this will continue to degrade in the tank, leading to a loss of volume, oxygen consumption and CO2 production.

It is also partially why the grit and sand are in there, both the peat and green waste are 99% carbon, so over time they will oxidise away and if you didn't have any mineral content the compost would eventually just disappear. If you can get one <"a clay based aquatic soil"> would be better.
......we don’t provide specific nutrient analysis for Commercial reasons....
That bit is economical with the truth, what they should have said is that they can't provide an analysis because they don't actually know what is in it, again that is back to the composted green waste, its composition varies through the year.
Check with your water supplier for a complete water analysis
It is hard water. We get <"Bristol Water"> water at work, quality is OK, but it has quite high levels of agricultural nutrients.
If I were to set up the tank with plants, cycle it and complete waster tests would it be safe to add fish when the tank is cycled?
Personally I'm not very keen on seeing cycling as a switch from "not fish safe" to "fish safe", it is a <"lot more nuanced than that">. I like to plant the <"tank fairly heavily"> and them let it grow in for six weeks.

I'm <"agnostic about water testing">, @alto is much keener on it. Have a look at the <"Duckweed Index">, it is a simple method where you use the leaf colour and growth of a floating plant as an indication of nutrient level.

The main thing for me is you don't need to add any ammonia to "cycle" and this is quite important. Anything you read about the cycling on aquarium forums isn't correct (I know this is a forum), mainly because it is based on information that recent scientific research has shown to be untrue. Having look through <"Bedside Aquarium">.

cheers Darrel
 

properphatboy

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Thank you so much for replying to this. I've learned a lot from the above and the nudges in directions to look. If you were trying to put someone off I think this would have done the trick with most people.

I’d get on the phone with technical support (not sales) and try for more detail...Ask for the analysis on their 18-6-12 nutrient package...copper levels would be of interest
I'll definitely try this, however I don't know how much luck I'm going to have.

so much depends on your intended use with the tank...If planning on expensive shrimp varieties or exceptional or rare fish
Planning for use for lots of tall background plants with maybe just a couple of foreground plants in a 35L with 5 male guppies.

If you’re trying to do a budget tank and are patient, then give it a go BUT include kit costs in the budget
What sort of kit are you talking about? I have 2 other tanks I keep at the moment, a 55L and a 10L, both of which are planted and so have everything needed for those anyway.

Check with your water supplier for a complete water analysis
Would this be it? https://www.bristolwater.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/wsz-412-2.pdf
Or for the treatment works https://www.bristolwater.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/wtw_purton-6.pdf
I get some of it, but definitely not all of it. Water tests at 12dGH, 6dKH, pH 7.5 and I now it contains plenty of phosphates.

Note that when you use a dirt product... rescape...There will be some release of dirt “dust” into the water column
The tank will be likely set up and not changed for the lifetime of the fish, so 2-3 years.

Hi all, It is only really suitable as a minor component of your substrate, the main issue is the green waste compost, it is the '25% sustainably sourced ingredients' on the label
Obviously I read more than just this bit! I've also been reading other threads on substrate on here after having to read this through properly on the actual laptop to fully digest the info provided. This may seem a simplistic question, but would the compost be more suitable mixed in with something like akadama? In which case what would be a suitable ballpark figure for percentage of compost? I was thinking possibly 50% after looking at other substrates people have made, but thought what you said may suggest it would be better closer to 25% possibly.

I like to plant the <"tank fairly heavily"> and them let it grow in for six weeks.
This was my plan, and I had read about the ammonia released from soil in the 'how to' and considered that over cycling using ammonia, but obviously changed my opinion upon reading the last quoted thread.

Have a look at the <"Duckweed Index">, it is a simple method where you use the leaf colour and growth of a floating plant as an indication of nutrient level.
Thanks again. More food for thought.

The main thing for me is you don't need to add any ammonia to "cycle" and this is quite important. Anything you read about the cycling on aquarium forums isn't correct (I know this is a forum), mainly because it is based on information that recent scientific research has shown to be untrue. Having look through <"Bedside Aquarium">.
Wow, that opened up a whole world of new understanding for me. Especially having ammonia cycled my current 2 tanks, although my 55L began cycling with only hardscaping and was planted part way through the cycle during prescribed major water change and reading about somebody on a forum's "instantly cycled" tank when set up planted and then and my 10L only has moss, java fern and anubias nana petite on wood with inert substrate.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
That will do. <"Bristol Water"> comes from a range of sources, Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes, the Severn (via the Sharpness canal) and some ground water abstraction. There is a new pipeline, that connects the Barrow Tanks with the Cheddar reservoir, which allows them to move water around between their differing areas, so you will get some variation.
I get some of it, but definitely not all of it.
It is only really the nitrate (NO3-) reading that is directly of any use to us. The company only has to report levels of the substances covered by EU legislation, which is now pretty tight on lead (Pb) etc.

Because you have elevated NO3 levels, you are very likely to have elevated phosphate (PO4---) and potassium (K) levels as well from agriculture. The sodium (Na+) levels are <"also elevated"> and that strongly suggests that you are likely to have higher calcium (Ca++) levels as well as. The source of both of these is likely to be limestone (CaCO3). How much magnesium you have will depend on the <"exact nature of the limestone">.
This may seem a simplistic question, but would the compost be more suitable mixed in with something like akadama?
You could cap it with Akadama or with sand etc.
but thought what you said may suggest it would be better closer to 25% possibly.
I wouldn't use more than 25%.
This was my plan, and I had read about the ammonia released from soil in the 'how to' and considered that over cycling using ammonia, but obviously changed my opinion upon reading the last quoted thread.
Especially having ammonia cycled my current 2 tanks, although my 55L began cycling with only hardscaping and was planted part way through the cycle
I think the "cycling" concept will be around for a while yet.

My suspicion is that people tend to like both simple <"black and white answers"> and instant gratification. Which makes the idea that you can add a bacterial supplement, add ammonia and within a very short period of time your tank is "cycled" and fish safe, appealing.

It also offers opportunities to sell test kits and bacterial supplements, in a way that "time and plants" doesn't. There is a line in the film <"The Big Short">, which sort of sums it up.
The truth is like poetry. And most people f*cking hate poetry.

cheers Darrel
 
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properphatboy

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Because you have elevated NO3 levels, you are very likely to have elevated phosphate (PO4---) and potassium (K) levels as well from agriculture. The sodium (Na+) levels are <"also elevated"> and that strongly suggests that you are likely to have higher calcium (Ca++) levels as well as. The source of both of these is likely to be limestone (CaCO3). How much magnesium you have will depend on the <"exact nature of the limestone">.

I know you're not so much a fan of testing kits, but when I have tested the unaltered tap water nitrates has come out at 20mg/l. In my 55L the levels have dropped over time and after a 15L water change the nitrates will get dropped to around 0.25% a week later whereas they are round 5mg/l 30mins after the water change, to me indicationg their use by my my plants. I think the amount of algae which grows without me dosing Flourish Excel proves the high phosphates too. Carbonate hardness tests at 6dGH and general hardness at 12dGH.

How would all this affect my substrate choice if I'm only considering heavy planting and guppies?

You could cap it with Akadama or with sand etc. I wouldn't use more than 25%.

I was thinking of mixing say 75% akadama (or possibly cat litter) with 25% aquatic compost then capping with inert gravel. Or have I got the wrong idea here?

I think the "cycling" concept will be around for a while yet. My suspicion is that people tend to like both simple <"black and white answers"> and instant gratification. Which makes the idea that you can add a bacterial supplement, add ammonia and within a very short period of time your tank is "cycled" and fish safe, appealing.

Quite true. I can confirm that this seemed to simplify things a lot for me, and of course I liked that. Though paying for bacteria didn't appeal so much when I knew there would be suitable bacteria already on/in the equipment. What I have done is got the sponge for the tanks filter in my 55L tank's canister filter.
 
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