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Old 09-01-2002, 05:07 PM   #1
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Planted tank substrates?

Ok.

On the subject of planted tank substrates.

I know that florite (sp?) is the 'prefered' substrate for a planted tank but I curious about the use of sand.

I have some old gravel from my old freshwater tank that has been sitting dry for quite some time. I was thinking of mixing this substrate and some silica based sand.

I know if I add the sand I will not be able to syphon the substrate anymore. Is it desirable to syphon the substrate in a planted tank?

Will a somewhat sandy substrate casue negitive issues in a planted tank?

How deep should the substrate be?

I guess that will do as far as questions for now.
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Old 09-01-2002, 09:49 PM   #2
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Substrates for plant tanks

I only used sand once and didn't have much sucsess except with bulb type plants. Maybe it compacted a little to much for the roots to spread. As far as the depth of the substrate, We don't go any less then 2 " this covers most potted type plants. When siphoning the tank I would suggest not to break the surface as you can destroy the root system of the plant and kick up whatever plant substrate is below the top layer of gravel. We have great sucsess using Cory Catfish to clean the bottom of the tank.
The recommended stocking amount is 2 per 10 gallons of tank. Very friendly and active fish.

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Old 09-09-2002, 09:41 AM   #3
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Test tank

Insofar as substrates go, I tried a test tank this weekend. My 45 high in the basement has always been there just to overwinter babay goldfish from my pond. Little guys (under 3 inches) don't seem to survive the winters well so I catch what I can and put them down there, along with 1 tropical lilly (variety directo George T. Moore, STUNNING purple flowers.)This tank has 80watts of light (common shop light). It has kept my water lilly alive for 2 winters so far, we'll see what happens now I have yet to decide what to do with the lily, and "his" tank is now being used for submerged plants and he has to have his own tank. I do have an unused 20 right now....

Well, I decided to try something I read from Diana Walstad's book and use a soil substrate. That's right, DIRT as a substrate! I used 1-2 inches of commong garden soil (mixed in 5-6 double handfuls of loose peat) covered by 1 inch or so of gravel. Then planted about 20 plants from my pond in there, along with 3- 2 inch comets. Muddy water when I filled it, cleared up in 5-6 hours. It should be very interesting to see what happens. Will the plants grow? Will it become an ungodly mess of algae? Will the soil rot and stink? Will the Creature from the Black Lagoon arise from it and terrorize my entire household?

WHO KNOWS???
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Old 09-09-2002, 04:42 PM   #4
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Plant Substrate

I read breifly about this, Don't know much about it.
I would be interested in hearing how you make out.
Just watch out for the Monster from the Black Lagoon
Good luck with it if it works I may just try it.
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:47 PM   #5
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I had a friend who used peat and I tried it a little too. Made for a messy tank if you stirred it up.

In the end the best thing for my plants with direct sunlight. My friend had all the fancy gadgets, C02, nice lights...you name it he had it.

I on the other hand had my tank with sunlight for 6 hours a day. I had so many plants I had to chuck some out! Mainly Java fern but there were some other nicer pricer plants, some bulbs and the like. Sorry i don't know the names of them though.
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Old 09-09-2002, 08:18 PM   #6
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Well I mixed the peat very well into the soil, (mud really, it's just plain old sticky mud) and the peat isn't breaking loose at all. Nothing is dead yet, that's all I realy can say at this point, fishes are happy enough, Ph still kinda high. I thought the peat would bring that down some, but nothing doing yet. Will cover fancy gadgets in another post.
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Old 09-12-2002, 11:19 AM   #7
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added CO2

Well I made a DIY CO2 generator for the test tank. very cheap, 2 liter soda bottle, airline, yeast, sugar and water.

Full instructions here http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/

It is bubbling away, put the airstone by my pump, hundreds of tiny little bubbles constantly shooting in to the tank. Looks good, dropped the Ph from around 8 to 7. No evidence of oxygen bubbles forming on the plants yet, but no disaster yet either!
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Old 09-12-2002, 10:42 PM   #8
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Soda bottle CO2

Hi. I started with the same setup, Worked great. Judge when it is slowing down and try to have another bottle ready or Ph will rise fast. The only bad feature I had with this setup is every now and then the airline would blow off and spray the wall and boy does it STINK .
Other then that it was an inexpensive unit and my plants loved it.
Sounds like your well on your way to a beautiful tank

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