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Favorite substrate

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What is your favorite combination of substrate? I like organic potting soil. The plants love it, it drains well, and is cheaper than abg/ne
 

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I voted Organic Soil. Cool poll idea, thanks for posting it!

JBear
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just use miricale grow organic soil, it only has manure, but frogs poop, plants and spings/isopods love poop, and it till be covered in leaf litter, so there's no problem really, and you get a 50 lb bag for 3$ at home depot lol.
 

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You sure that the miracle grow doesnt have any miracle grow added? I have heard several times also to not use substrate that has manure. Yeah frogs poop.. but the manure in the substrate is more than likely cow manure. Which you dont find a cow in the middle of the jungle.

I voted ABG.. more precisely.. my own version of it with stuff found at lowes for around the same price you quoted. I used scotts 100% peat/sphagnum soil. Orchid mix for charcoal and wood chips.. and loose sphagnum moss..
 

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Clay substrate. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html
My second choice would be ABG mix.
I'm pretty sure that any product made by Miracle Gro has Miracle Gro chemicals in it. Even the manure really has no business in the vivs. Completely different set of pathogens that you will introduce to your frogs. I think that you will see problems with any standard gardening soil over time. It may be well drained in your garden or in a pot, but typically our vivs will see a lot more moisture than it can handle long term. Especially if you are misting often to encourage breeding. The leaf litter won't matter because the bugs will get down under it and be exposed to, and eat, the manure. Then your frogs eat the bugs.
 

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The Miracle-Gro Oragnic line lists its ingredients as : "Composted Bark, Sphagnum Peat Moss, and Pasteurized Poultry Litter"

I am hesitant to use anything Miracle-Gro in a viv, even if they do label it as "organic."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh I see. Damn! Well, I guess I should take it out and make my own stuff. *cries* but at least I learned something. Also, the only thing in it is manure, and there's no miricile grow bs plant food, that's why I choose it. Eh, it's no biggy. Just run to home depot to get stuff for ABG mix. I read up on your clay substrate Pumilo, it sounds good, but sadly there's no clay shop for firing within 20 miles from here. But if I could make it, I might do that for a more natural substrate.
 

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Actually Johny, you don't fire clay substrates. You just dry them. You don't even need to use the oven like I did. That was just because it was winter and I couldn't set it out to dry. We have a great clay supply shop referenced in that thread, right near I-25 and Sante Fe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually Johny, you don't fire clay substrates. You just dry them. You don't even need to use the oven like I did. That was just because it was winter and I couldn't set it out to dry. We have a great clay supply shop referenced in that thread, right near I-25 and Sante Fe.
Oh really? That's also good to know. I'll have to check the clay shop out, been needing some clay things for a while. Thanks!
 

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I voted for Other because my favorite is a clay-based substrate with a thick (3-5 inches) leaf litter.
 

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I've been using a mix of peat, corse coir (the big chunky cube kind), fine fir bark, lava sand, gypsum and lfs (coarsely chopped).
 

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What's the disadvantages of using organic rated potting soil at warehouse stores?
Little/no drainage is one physical issue... Then there's almost always "organic" fertilizer added which is actually bat, cow, other animal's excrement. That's bad for a number of reasons. Potting soil in a vivarium will also almost certainly lead to an explosion of fungus gnats as it breaks down... And it breaks down quickly.

It's simply not meant to last years. It's meant to last the size of the pot, and even then the plant would usually get repotted frequently to keep the soil fresh.

From this thread:
There are a few different recipes I've commonly thought of as actual ABG mix (or equivalent):
Verison 1: 2pt Tree Fern fiber, 1pt peat, 1pt charcoal, 1pt sphagnum, 2pt coco, 2 pt orchid bark
Version 2: 2pt Tree Fern fiber, 1pt peat, 1pt charcoal, 1pt sphagnum, 2pt orchid bark
Version 3: 2pt Tree Fern fiber, 1pt peat, 1pt charcoal, 2pt sphagnum, 2pt orchid bark

I personally don't see peat being a good thing. It breaks down faster than coconut fiber would, and it can compact.

Tree fern fiber is very important, since it helps keeps the soil "airy" and virtually never breaks down. Without Tree Fern fiber and orchid bark - it's not going to work like ABG mix regardless of the other ingredients. Soil must be allowed to breathe to build beneficial bacteria, support plant life, and support microfauna.

I've heard people using "organic" potting soil mixed with orchid bark, sphagnum moss, and charcoal call it "ABG equivalent". It's not! potting soil will quickly break down, and 90% of it contains other unwanted ingredients.

A good substrate should never exceed 50% of "soil" ingredient. (meaning coconut fiber, peat, or potting soil) More than 50% will get soggy very quickly. Ideally it should be around 35-25% of the mix, as it would be in ABG. The "saving money" thing goes a long way in this economy, so I completely understand people wanting to mix substrate themselves. Unfortunately the most expensive ingredients (orchid bark, sphagnum, charcoal, tree fern fiber) should make up the majority of the mix.

Other info:
Charcoal = Fine/Medium grade
Orchid Bark = Fine/Medium grade (home improvement store bark works, but it's usually large grain. Zoo Med reptibark IS fine orchid bark. )
Tree Fern Fiber = Fine/Medium grade (I've heard just fine being used - but we've had good luck with both)
Coconut fiber & "Coir" = Same thing!
edit: AeroWRX - lol I didn't realize it was you! :p On Dendroboard too, now?
 

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Little/no drainage is one physical issue... Then there's almost always "organic" fertilizer added which is actually bat, cow, other animal's excrement. That's bad for a number of reasons. Potting soil in a vivarium will also almost certainly lead to an explosion of fungus gnats as it breaks down... And it breaks down quickly.

It's simply not meant to last years. It's meant to last the size of the pot, and even then the plant would usually get repotted frequently to keep the soil fresh.

From this thread:


edit: AeroWRX - lol I didn't realize it was you! :p On Dendroboard too, now?
haha yup! Done rolling around in marijuana forums so I decided to find out what dart frog people do. ;)

Can you define the process of soil breaking down? I made the mistake of using potting soil a couple months ago on my big tank. Thinking of thickening the clayball layer and replacing the entire substrate soon.
 
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