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  • Earth worm casting for nutrient enriched sediments, how to

    The use of earthworm castings requires some prep-work but offers excellent results: lush, healthy plant growth.

    Materials:

    - A bucket for rinsing the castings
    - Earthworm castings (without additives) - tap water
    - a stove and pot for boiling the castings

    Preparation: 1) Obtain 100% pure additive-free earthworm castings 2) Rinse the castings in your empty bucket - allow water to flow slowly thru. Turn the material over with your hand to distribute water throughout. Eliminate all that floats. 3) Boil the castings in a pot. There should be plenty of water so that the castings do not dry out. Boil 10-15 minutes, stirring occassionally. 4) Allow to cool. Deposit the castings back in your bucket, repeating step 2. Once again, eliminate all floating debris. 5) After thorough rinsing, the bucket water should become relatively clear. 6) Drain the bucket and place the castings in shallow pans or on sheets of cellophane in thin layers under the sun, allowing them to dry completely. The dried castings can be stored in ziplock bags for future use.

    Usage: Earthworm castings should be used in moderation, and do not need to be completely dry for usage. They should be diluted with washed sand in a 50-50 ratio. The combination of earthworm castings and sand should approach 1kg of mixture for every 50 liters of aquarium water (for example, in an aquarium of 100 liters I recommend to use between 2 and 4 kg of earthworm castings). It is best to use the mixture as the first, bottom-most layer of your substrate. If you plan to build an extremely deep substrate, it can be used within the middle layers.

    This is the protocol from Mr. Vladimir Simoes' method.
    =======================================

    I use a different source and method for DIY sediment. I use the delta wetland clay, then wash and screen it, allow it to settle for 1-2 days in a wheel barrow. then decant off the water, allow the soupy soil to settle more and dry out.
    I transfer to a bucket and then allow the muck to dry. When it's a nice semi soft clay consistency, it's ready for use. As it's been washed, and then dried some, the oxidation has already occurred and some mineralization has occured.
    This can be mixed with 3:1 sand: clay. Then a 1" layer of pure sand on top of this. It will be slightly N limited over time. Any sediment method can use Osmocoat time release grains, ground peat etc (This applies to sand only sediment also-they will benefit from this). I generally will add about 1 handful per sq ft for peat, and 1 table spoon for osmocoat per sq ft.

    Mineralized Soil is also becoming more popular, see TPT forum for more on that. I think one thing to consider with these, there's some user variation, it's not as aesthetic as ADA AS, however, it's very cheap, works well. It's also easy long term for a nutrient supply. So you can and should still dose the water column, but if you forget or want leaner amounts, this sediment will allow you more flexibility. Likewise, dosing the water column will extend the life of the sediment, reducing the % draw from that source. Most of the issues folks have had with soils/clays etc, are due to pulling up roots without care, not processing the soil prior to oxidize it(mechanically-washing/drying/boiling, chemically(Zeolite), or biologically).
    When that is done and folks do not too much organic matter (OM)%, then they have better results. Too much OM is bad for roots/plants and uses up too much O2, causing the redox levels to drop too far. Mineralizing it, boiling etc reduces most of the reduced OM. This is why and how several different works well. The DSM also works very well in conjunction with nutrient rich sediments and during the grow in phase, the sediment gets mineralized anyway(several weeks)

    There are various amendments. Add some K2SO4 and mix with clay to provide long term bound up K+. Some folks add dolomite for Ca/Mg. Some add Traces in clay. Clay allows the plant roots to access the nutrients but not leech away into the water. Some folks add Jobes sticks and other "tabs". For soils and clays, you may freeze the soil/clay in ice cube trays, then insert the "mud ice cube" into the sediment below plants to add and enriched the sediment over time without making a mess or redoing the entire sediment. Simple little trick.







    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    www.BarrReport.com

  • #2
    great post! thanks for the info.

    question.. with using the clay loam and a little bit of the worm castings together.. is this a long term sediment like the topsoil? I know that dosing the water column will definitely extend the life. just curious because this is the method that I am going to be doing.. of course with your help
    Learning This Hobby Everyday

    Comment


    • #3
      It should last as long, if not longer than ADA AS.

      It has more nutrients.

      Regards,
      Tom Barr
      www.BarrReport.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Tom,

        1. Is the sand required to form a more solid mixture? Can other products be used? Can just the castings be mixed with a substrate or placed as the bottom layer?

        I have black flourite and was thinking of adding the EC mixure and adding the flourite on top. A section of tank at a time. I wouldn't want the sand or clay to show.

        I would like to have a fertilied substrate but like the flourite and do not want to swap substrates completely for say ADA.

        I would like to try this method.

        Are these the castings we speak of:

        100% Pure Earthworm Castings

        Thoughts?
        Last edited by Gerryd; 04-11-2009, 09:26 PM.
        Thanks,

        Gerry.

        'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

        Current 220 scape

        http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

        Comment


        • #5
          Cool! i was asking in one of my local forums about earthworm castings.. now i found it here!

          I am starting a backyard vermiculture myself and earthworm castings are readily available to me as well...

          I shall surely give this a try!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gerryd View Post
            Tom,

            1. Is the sand required to form a more solid mixture? Can other products be used? Can just the castings be mixed with a substrate or placed as the bottom layer?

            I have black flourite and was thinking of adding the EC mixure and adding the flourite on top. A section of tank at a time. I wouldn't want the sand or clay to show.

            I would like to have a fertilied substrate but like the flourite and do not want to swap substrates completely for say ADA.

            Thoughts?
            I have the same questions as Gerryd for the 11gal I'm dry starting in a couple of days. Mixing with Flourite Black Sand for a bottom layer and putting a second Flourite Black Sand layer on top would work like when mixing with sand?

            And could I use some Biological guarantied casting, not earthworm made and follow same procedure?
            Last edited by jonny_ftm; 06-22-2009, 11:21 AM.
            Aquatic Natur Cocoon 7: 11gal, dry start success / low light / CO2
            >>Follow it here<<

            Aquatlantis Evasion 120: Stopped ---> Malawi setup = No Plants

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gerryd View Post
              Tom,

              1. Is the sand required to form a more solid mixture? Can other products be used? Can just the castings be mixed with a substrate or placed as the bottom layer?

              I have black flourite and was thinking of adding the EC mixure and adding the flourite on top. A section of tank at a time. I wouldn't want the sand or clay to show.

              I would like to have a fertilied substrate but like the flourite and do not want to swap substrates completely for say ADA.

              I would like to try this method.

              Are these the castings we speak of:

              100% Pure Earthworm Castings

              Thoughts?
              Yes, these are what you want to use.
              I see little issue with flourite use.

              Regards,
              Tom Barr
              www.BarrReport.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                Many thanks for the precisions Tom
                I can't find any worm castings in my area so just ordered some garden compost with a "Bio" Label. Would it work the same you think? Any fermentation risk once immersed?
                Aquatic Natur Cocoon 7: 11gal, dry start success / low light / CO2
                >>Follow it here<<

                Aquatlantis Evasion 120: Stopped ---> Malawi setup = No Plants

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you use it as prescribed above, there should be no issues.

                  Regards,
                  Tom Barr
                  www.BarrReport.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Many thanks again Tom,

                    Now, it's all clear for me. Getting the tank/compost tomorrow. I'll feed back soon on my nano starting dry using this mixed soil
                    Aquatic Natur Cocoon 7: 11gal, dry start success / low light / CO2
                    >>Follow it here<<

                    Aquatlantis Evasion 120: Stopped ---> Malawi setup = No Plants

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow this made me feel like a kid again, thanks for the direction Tom. I lined the bottom of my 120gal and I covered it with eco at the back of the tank where all the larger plants go, and fluorite black sand at the front half where my HC goes. But what a process, I had to do three batches before I had enough and it took me all night. I started elbow deep in mud mixing off the floaters. After I had several pots of boiling mud on the stove at once and got hit with many boiling popping mud bubbles, had to do a few rounds of this. The rinsing after you boil them was next to impossible for me. I let the mud pots cool and by that time most of the casing had dropped to the bottom, I would try to carefully poor off the watter on the top trying not to let the castings mix into the watter again. Once I had most the watter poured off I would fill with watter again and repeat. I did this over a dozen times on each pot but never did my watter run clear. I dried them under my tank lights over night and was able to mix them with sand the next day. In the end I ended up with about an inch of casting mix to line my substrate. It was a tone of work so I hope it work as good a people say.

                      About rinsing till the water goes clear, was I doing that wrong or does anyone get it clear?

                      After adding the rest of my substrate, filling the tank with watter and planting it I still had no water clouding.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Personally, I didn't rince Flourite Black Sand and the boiled worm castings had the floating removed, but no rinsing process: really unhappy to loose any nutrient with rinsing...

                        Removing floating parts means really loating debris on surface, parts that will not sink
                        Aquatic Natur Cocoon 7: 11gal, dry start success / low light / CO2
                        >>Follow it here<<

                        Aquatlantis Evasion 120: Stopped ---> Malawi setup = No Plants

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Which one do you think Would prove to be more beneficial mixed with soil and used for frozen fert plugs:
                          osmocote or earthworm castings? and why?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just an update. Before I had the castings under my substrate I had HC in my tank for 3+ months and had minimal growth. Now two weeks after adding worm castings and planting HC, it is already starting to carpet with good growth daily.

                            Thanks again Tom.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              From this report http://www.barrreport.com/attachment...ilanalysis.pdf

                              May be ADA AS a less messing choice with better CEC, more clay, and higher nutrients?
                              (I know the report doesn't include worm castings, but...it seems AS is generally better than others
                              in the report)

                              And may be cheaper too. Because for a 100 liters tank, you will need just 1-2 kg of AS mixing
                              with 1-2 kg gravel to make 2-4 kg material. I think about this after seeing earth worm casting
                              price + shipping cost. A nearby LFS sells ADA AS, while earth worm casting must be mail
                              ordered (same country, not international). A bag of 9 liter ADA AS is about 9 kg I heard.

                              (I like sand/gravel surface better)
                              Last edited by nipat; 11-12-2009, 01:48 PM.

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