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Old 02-10-2007, 02:07 AM   #1
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I guess I never thought to mention this...

I started my tank originally w/ the idea, spend as little as possible. My original setup/advice comes from this link.

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html

My substrate too. This leads to my question on my substrate.

I never read the sticky on substrates...but now that I did I saw this:

"Soil-layered substrate - This is considered an advanced substrate setup. Typically consists of layers of peat, soil, sand/gravel...you really have to know what you're doing before you attempt this."

Well I'm pretty good at self judgement and........I don't know what I'm doing and it seems I have a soil-layered (of a cheaper type), so...


Should I just continue to work w/ this? Should I replace it? The plants that I remove/move have HUGE roots so maybe it is good but the guy at the LFS said I'm going to run into issues all the time. He said I'll always have the topsoil breaking down and causing changes in the H2O chemistry. I have all kinds of algae issues but they are not major outbreaks right now. You all have helped through past ones but I guess I never thought to mention my substrate. I think things are looking good right now but looking for advice. Should I change out my substrate somehow or leave it and work w/ it? Is the guy I talked to right in that I'm fighting an uphill battle w/ roller skates on?


Thanks.
Jim
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:22 AM   #2
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If you go to the plant forums, you will see that if you are going to use topsoil, it should be "mineralized". What that essentially means is that you allow all the organic material, to rot away before using it. There are directions on one or two of the plant forums. I have lost my links, so I can't offer one right now. An easier way is to use poor quality soil, with little or no organic material in it, such as subsoil.
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Old 02-10-2007, 10:20 AM   #3
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I have soil layers in two of my planted tanks. It works better on my higher light setup - everything runs perfectly. Lower light tank has some algae issues, but more from neglect than anything else.
I will say that I'm with you - I'm not advanced at all. I think keeping on your testing and PWC will help keep things stable. But like I said, I'm no expert.
The worst part of soil, though, is it makes a terrible mess when planting or uprooting. I wish I had gone with eco complete.

I never mineralized the soil. I followed Walstad's method and it was never mentioned. However, both tanks had a long fishless period (one is still fishless), so at least nobody was hurt if I did something wrong.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 02-10-2007, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosaic
I The worst part of soil, though, is it makes a terrible mess when planting or uprooting. I wish I had gone with eco complete.
That is one of my big issues. I try to mess w/ it as little as possible but when i do it kicks up so much "dirt" no matter how careful i try to be.

Every now and again I get a big bubble from the substrate and that makes me thinkg it is breaking down as the guy i talked to said.
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:09 PM   #5
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For soil methods. I saw a wonderful talk by Dorothy Reimer where she discussed soil methods. She had suggested putting the plants, with soil in pots. Then cover the pots and spaces in between them, with medium Chick-grit (the gravel for chickens). This allows single plants to be moved/replaced without making a big mess.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:44 AM   #6
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That works ok if you're only going to be keeping a few. Maybe it's even a good idea for single big plants with large root systems, like amazons or crypts, in a planted tank. But to do densely planted tanks or if you're wanting to aquascape the potted method just doesn't seem as feasible.

Pitt- I get the bubbles too, although they doen't smell like sulfur, or anything else for that matter. The MTS aren't very good at going through soil. I just go through and poke the substrate when I'm working in there and they've definitely decreased over time.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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