Lets talk substrate

Discussion in 'Plant Problems' started by GDJ, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    That looks AWSOME!! Verry nicely done! Looks like a real jungle in there!
     
  2. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Thanks V&A
    Now it just the waiting game to see if the substrate performs they way I hope and to see how the tank grows in.
     
  3. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    What are you adding to keep the amonia down? MTS?
     
  4. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Yes, I chucked a handfull of them in to mix up and assist with aeration of the substrate.
    I also added some mulm from the old substrate (so that rose and shrub mix is filled with the bacteria by now) and the rose and shrub mix I used had very little organic material in it.
     
  5. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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  6. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    What fish are you keeping?
     
  7. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    At the moment I have the following in there:
    Hyphessobrycon columbianus (Culumbian Tetra)
    Rasbora caudimaculata (Red Scissortail Rasbora)
    Corydoras sterbai (Sterbai Cory)
    Ctenopoma acutirostre (Spotted Climbing Perch)
    Pterophyllum scalare (common Angelfish)
     
  8. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    Hi Gawie

    Your tank is looking very good. It should be nice to see how it turns out.
     
  9. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Thanks Andre.

    Cant wait for this one to grow in a bit. There's 6 Barclaya longifolia scattered in there...Burst of red to break up the green.
    And the Echinodorus aflame is still very small and green once it starts coloring up... oh my goodness.
     
  10. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Hey GDJ,

    I've got a question W.R.T. the rose and shrub mix. Is it normal plant fertilizers? I found a bag of fertilizer for flowering plants in the garage, will this be ok to use? The ratio of N:p:K is 3:1:5. What problems can plant fertilizer cause? It says it is 100% organic ingredients, but there isn't any organic material in like in compost. It has quite a strong smell.
     
  11. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Hotdog83: I would be very careful, don't just add anything to your tank.
    The rose and shrub mix is a garden soil not fertilizer.
    Most Nursery/Store bought fertilizer especially fertilizer for flowering plants are not suitable for aquarium use at all.

    Edit: And the organic material I am referring to would be stuff like decomposing wood, plant roots etc. Where the volcanic rock dust I used is an organic soil enrichment.
     
  12. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thank GDJ, can you maybe post a pic of the packet of the soil, if you still have it? Thanks for the advice!
     
  13. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Your wish is my command sir ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks GDJ!

    Starting up a planted 2ft to experiment a bit, and think I'll follow your example.. Went to ask a nursery today about volcanic rock dust and they just looked at me like I'm from another planet..:) Saw some Sera substrate at the LFS today for about R100 for a 2ft, might try that instead of soil. Looked at the soil today at a nursery, they had some mix for roses, but it seemed to have a lot of organic material in(had to tear open a bag or two while no-one was looking..:)). Will try again tomorrow.. Thanks for the advice! Does the soil release a lot of tanins?
     
  15. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Hotdog if this is your first try at a planted tank rather use the store bought stuff for now.
    buy a small tank that you can experiment in using different types of substrate and then once you are satisfied try it on a bigger tank.
    If you are new to all this you can save yourself a lot of heartache and pain by using commercially available substrates like Seachem Flourite and such. It works very well and it wont complicate your life.
    To be honest at this point I have no idea if this substrate I put together will work or not or if it will work better than any of the other seachem stuff.
    If you are interested in a different take on planted tanks aquariums buy Diana Walstead's book The Ecology of The Planted Aquarium. Read it and only then put together you own substrate.
     
  16. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks GDJ,

    Yip,this is my first try at a planted setup, I've kept fish for years, but my aquarium botany never progressed further than the LFS's swords,anubias and java fern until now.. The thing is that I'm busy planning a 250l tank as a planted community tank and fluorite might just break the bank as a student at that amount needed. So, I'm looking at alternatives. I've seen amazing planted tanks with just normal compost under the gravel. But the tanins bug me a bit.. Any suggestions? Maybe normal play pen sand and then just dose liquid ferts and a few nails in the sand? Any thoughts? I appreciate your advice!
     
  17. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    So far I have not had any change in the water except for it getting more and more "polished".
    I'll keep on reporting on my progress in this thread so only time will tell if I have problems with tannins.

    Theres loads of different substrate mixes that people try, for instance Diana Walstead uses normal garden soil capped with gravel or sand and she reckons it works a treat. Get hold of her book she gives great advice on setting up "low cost" tanks.
     
  18. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks GDJ, much appreciated! BTW, your tank looks good!
     
  19. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    @ hotdog: It is not always nesesary to have soil under your gravel! i run my tanks without it and my plants are doing verry well! As you say... a few nails and good ferts is all you need! Plants can take up nutiriants from the water colum as well, so even if there is not alot of nutriants in the soil they can still do verry well. One thing I would say thou is do not use play pen sand. It is realy fine! A bit tooo fine. Rather get swimingpool filter sand. It has a grain size of 0.95 where as play pen sand is 0.0***? The finer the sand the more hassel it is to clean...

    Just my 2c
     
  20. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Thanks V&A
    Finally a different opinion ;-)

    I ran tanks with sand substrates for a long time, unfortunately I kept eels at the time so plants didn't work.
    You are quite right about the playpen sand, its no good as a substrate. It compacts a lot quicker than the swimming pool filter sand too.

    BTW if you are looking for a good fertilizer try "Drik se Drupplels" Prof. Bellstedt's very own mix of the good stuff your plants want. I am sure you can work out a way to get it to you.
     

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