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The truth is...it just plain ROCKS!! This ABG Mix is 8 years old! It was in my salamander viv. It was kept even wetter than a dart frog viv. Totally closed top, no vents, with a fourth of the viv being a pond. A waterfall leaked all over it for many years.
I found a new home for my salamander and we are tearing his viv down. My dad (Pumilo) said it was going to be rotted and stinky when we dug into it. We churned it up and guess what? It smells fresh and clean! Like it was just put in! Dad said to point out all the air pockets you can still see in there. That's how it gets such good drainage! He said it's still perfectly good but we can't reuse it anyway because of germs.
It was developed at Atlanta Botanical Garden (thus the name, ABG Mix)

Here is how you make ABG Mix. My dad helped me make sure the recipe was right.

1 part milled peat

1 part milled sphagnum moss

1 part fine charcoal (We usually at least double this)

2 parts fine tree fern fiber

2 parts fine orchid bark

Here are a couple threads about ABG
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/be...fused-about-couple-substrate-ingrediants.html
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/62607-what-substrate.html
 

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I agree that it is good - but it is too "rich" in comparison to what we are trying to emulate. Plants grow way too fast in it. I'm kind of weird in that I want my plants to grow slower (I pluck and toss plants that grow too fast).

Of course us saying we're trying to emulate a jungle in a small box is pretty ridiculous as well.

One excellent use for "used" ABG mix is for use in flower pots. I used mine mainly in African Violet pots. For those you need a "light" soil, and ABG works splendidly.

s
 

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He's talking nutrient poor, so Scott is most likely referring to a clay substrate.
 

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Can all of the ingredents be picked up at a Home Depot or Lowes to make this mix?
 

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Everything but the tree fern fiber, you'll have to get that online most likely, or leave it out/ substitute coco fiber.
 

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Thanks for the info Frogboy. I usually do not use "soil" in my vivs, as I have seen lots of gnats in the soil. Have you experienced any issues with soil gnats? I just use premium New Zealand spagnum moss, reptile bark and lots of leaf litter. Great thread too!!
 

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I am Frogboy's dad. I have some answers for you. The tree fern fiber adds aeration and drainage. I don't think cocofiber would be an acceptable substitute for the tree fern. For the peat and sphagnum maybe, but not the tree fern. I feel that the tree fern is an important part of AGB.
First, AGB Mix is available at Josh's frogs.
Second, Every component for AGB is available at good prices, here. OFE International Web Page

Colleen, as you mentioned, just about every soil mix can have fungus gnats. ABG can have them too. They will clear up after a short amount of time. They may be present for a month or so, but they have cleared out of every viv I've ever set up, soon enough.
 

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I would definitely work on advancing it if you can. Part of the fun of this hobby is the hands on part of it. Trial and error. I have mixed clay into my own version of the ABG mix and the micro fauna exploded. I live near ABG and have been by there more than my share of times to talk substrate and plants. They seem to be set in their own mix so I say there is always room for improvement.

Michael
 

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Michael...I was thinking the same thing about adding clay and maybe some sand to the current ABG mix. What type of clay are you using and how much are you adding? I'd be interested to hear your substrate recipe as the exploding micro fauna has peaked my interest.

Are the ABG ingredients listed on this thread the same ABG mixture that Josh's Frogs sell?

David

I would definitely work on advancing it if you can. Part of the fun of this hobby is the hands on part of it. Trial and error. I have mixed clay into my own version of the ABG mix and the micro fauna exploded. I live near ABG and have been by there more than my share of times to talk substrate and plants. They seem to be set in their own mix so I say there is always room for improvement.

Michael
 

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Josh's mix appears to be made according to this recipe.
 

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not sure if his includes ground charcoal as well, but the stuff i got had chunks of charcoal. My first experience with ABG, we'll see how it goes. I also came up a bit short for all three of my tanks so I cut it with a little extra coco soil
 

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Michael...I was thinking the same thing about adding clay and maybe some sand to the current ABG mix. What type of clay are you using and how much are you adding? I'd be interested to hear your substrate recipe as the exploding micro fauna has peaked my interest.

Are the ABG ingredients listed on this thread the same ABG mixture that Josh's Frogs sell?

David

Ive tried adding in everything from sand to calci sand, vermiculite and other mulch's and barks. The only two things I have seen in the last years that made a real difference in the quality of the plants and abundance of micro fauna when added to the ABG mix are shredded leaf litter and Clay mix.

Ive used baked and wet clay and both did great. I use shredded seagrape leaves. Both the leaves and clay I use 1/4 the volume of the ABG and mix it in well. Drainage is great as we use false bottoms and I'm working now on new advancements for it and my culturing media which also have clay and shredded leaf litter.

Michael
 
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I do a mix of half ABG mix and half hand crushed leaf litter (oak from my backyard) for my isopod cultures and they are flourishing in it!
 
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About how much clay added? My first tanks were done with "by the book" ABG mix...was/am pleased with the results. Tried clay substrate, and am not pleased with how the plants responded (which has been poor). The purported benefits of clay for the animals is the reason to use it, but, in me experience, plants hate it.
 

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About how much clay added? My first tanks were done with "by the book" ABG mix...was/am pleased with the results. Tried clay substrate, and am not pleased with how the plants responded (which has been poor). The purported benefits of clay for the animals is the reason to use it, but, in me experience, plants hate it.
I add in 1/4 the volume of the ABG of clay. So 4 1 gallon bucket of AGB, I mix in 1 bucket of clay and a bucket of shredded leaf litter. Same with the shredded seas grape leaves. It has shown great increase in micro fauna and plant growth so long as there is decent drainage. I have broms planted in the media doing well.

Michael
 

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About how much clay added? My first tanks were done with "by the book" ABG mix...was/am pleased with the results. Tried clay substrate, and am not pleased with how the plants responded (which has been poor). The purported benefits of clay for the animals is the reason to use it, but, in me experience, plants hate it.
When I do clay, I put two big handfuls of ABG mix at the base of every plant, surrounding the roots, with a light layer of clay over the top. Plants have liked that so far.
 

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I'm going to give that a try...sounds just about perfect. Thanks Michael.

Ive tried adding in everything from sand to calci sand, vermiculite and other mulch's and barks. The only two things I have seen in the last years that made a real difference in the quality of the plants and abundance of micro fauna when added to the ABG mix are shredded leaf litter and Clay mix.

Ive used baked and wet clay and both did great. I use shredded seagrape leaves. Both the leaves and clay I use 1/4 the volume of the ABG and mix it in well. Drainage is great as we use false bottoms and I'm working now on new advancements for it and my culturing media which also have clay and shredded leaf litter.

Michael
 
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