Lets talk substrate

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

  1. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks guys!

    The 'playpensand' I have seem pretty coarse, will go and have a look at swimming pool sand to compare.. At the moment I have very fine mozambiquan beach sand in my 200l tank, but can't get the water completely particle clear.. It is driving me nuts! So I'm going to transfer the occupants to a 250l tank with better substrate. Will pm Prof. Dirk and hear if he can help with ferts. Currently using Kent freshwater plant every week. Thanks for the advice, really want to get the new tank right first time around! Does the silica sand affect the water chemistry in any way?
     
  2. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    No the sand has no affect on your water in any way what so ever! It is just silica crystals. The problem with your water not cleaning up is due to all the dust that the fish create when swimming over the sand. With a more corse sustrait you dont have this problem.
     
  3. chrisvan
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    chrisvan Noob

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    Where might one be able to find Dirk se Druppels?
     
  4. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks good so far GDJ. Like the lay-out!

    chrisvan, for that you will have to contact Prof. Bellstedt, who is a member here on APSA.

    Regarding substrates, here is a usefull site with some good info:

    http://home.infinet.net/teban/substrat. ... Substrates
     
  5. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    GDJ, did you use some of your Daz in the new substrate? Don't think I saw it in your setup pics.

    I have been to a few garden stores and none of them have Volcanic Rock Dust, seems like Stodels might be one of the few places to stock it. I did however find some "laterite" from the building supply place mentioned earlier in this thread. Thanks to Wearsbunnyslippers for the link!!!This is what their laterite looks like:
    [​IMG]
    I am planing on using some of this as a bottom base layer.

    I also have alot of the Daz stuff, I crushed it to a almost powder like form, but I am not sure as to what to do with it:
    [​IMG]
    Would it be a bad idea to mix the 2?

    Here is how I plan on layering my substrate:

    Bottom layer;
    Clay based - Laterite, possibly covered by a thin layer of the Daz powder?!
    And then a very thin sprinkled layer of volcanic rock dust

    Middle layer
    Organic matter - Keeping it to a bare minimum, a few sprinkles of the rose and shrub mix mentioned in this thread
    This then will be covered by a thin layer of the Sera substrate, (makes for a good "starter" substrate)

    Top layer
    Fine gravel - just plain old inert gravel

    I am trying to model this as it would occur in nature. Where you would get the the organic matter towards the surface,and underneath that, the more compact clay based layers. Hope that makes sense in a way!
    O0
     
  6. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Silikube:
    Makes perfect sense.
    If you want my honest opinion get rid of the Daz. It works a treat but the problem is the sediment. If you want to take the chance use it, but my advice dont use it in a display tank. I did not want to risk it so I left it out.
    Silikube if you want some of the Rose&Shrub or volcanic rock dust you are more than welcome to come and pick some up from me.
    I dont like the Sera stuff it only lasts for 3 months, when using a soil substrate according to Diana Walstad all the nutriets your plant needs is available from day one. If you have some of the Floradepot then use it, but I would not go out and buy it.

    Hey as you know this is far from an exact science; having said that your mix looks good and I reckon it will work well for you.
    Cap it off properly, dont be shy.
     
  7. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    any particular reason why you guys are going with such complicated substrates?

    does it really make that much difference, and wont all the layering get messed up with planting anyway?

    are these going to be low tech walstad type tanks?

    for my 200l i am going with peat plates under flourite, maybe some tetra initial sticks or something but nothing else...
     
  8. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    :mad: Just used it for my new planted setup...

    @WBS: Where did you get those peat plates? I've been looking in Gauteng for them for a very long time now!
     
  9. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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  10. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks WBS! Will go and have a look this weekend, want to try them in my new 250l planted tank, makes less of a mess than soil when the substrate gets disturbed...
     
  11. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    WBS:
    I have never had success with growing plants using a lean substrate. Probably because I did not use the right ferts etc.
    For me using a rich substrate just makes life a lot easier, for more than a year I did not dose any ferts at all and had really good plant growth with 5 x 30w lights on a 1.2m tank. Make no mistake I've seen some really nice tanks with nothing but sand as a substrate so I reckon in the end is a matter of preference. I am quite lazy so I prefer an approach with less work for me ;)

    Hotdog: Sorry man I missed the fact that you mentioned "sera substrate stuff" in your post the other day.
    I am referring to Sera Floradepot specifically, If memory serves somewhere on the packaging it states that ideally it should be replaced every 3 months. I know Andre used it in some of his tanks before with some very good results, you might find that you will have to increase your liquid fertilizer dose as time goes by, but that should be the only problem you run into.
     
  12. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks GDJ,

    It is Floredepot and it probably says that somewhere on the packaging, that should teach me not to be so hasty in my decisions! :'( No matter, will just dose ferts later on, I need to move out of my Uni home in pta anyway at the end of the year, will just change it then, it's luckily only a 2ft... For me the Walstad setup seems like the way to go, it's good to try and keep things as natural as possible... But the peatplates seem pretty nifty as a substitute for soil, especially since the tank might get some Discus later on, and a pH of 8 in pretoria just won't work. Maybe peatplates on top of the soil to sort of seal off the soil? And then silica sand on top? This thread is becoming quite useful for newbies to the planted setup!
     
  13. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    The peat plates look very interesting, it seems you ous get all the good stuff in JHB while we have to make do with home made substrates:)
    I have no experience with peat plates in aquariums so I am just as interested as you to see how it works.

    WBS: Please keep us posted on how the peat plates work for you.
     
  14. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    Gawie, you can actually get peat plates in Pick n Pay. I have seen it at the old Basils in Boston.

    I would think that Peat plates have a bit too much organic matter and would decompose over time? Are the Prodac plates specifically designed for planted aquaria?
     
  15. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    Well if you look at the link then.... Yes that is what they say... Nothing MTS cant solve right?
     
  16. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    @ andre - from their website:

    prodac specializes in aquarium products, they are quite big in italy apparently, the also have fertilizers, substrates etc.

    i dont think the ones that you would buy in pick n pay, builders warehouse and nurseries etc. would work any different, i would just give it a good wash first...

    in my 100l i used peat, vermiculite and tetra complete substrate capped with river sand, it makes too much of a mess when replanting, i end up with little pieces of peat twigs and vermiculite everywhere, that i have to vac up after, so for my new setup i want to keep it as simple as possible, i am only adding peat coz of the discus, otherwise i would just use plain flourite.
     
  17. wearsbunnyslippers
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  18. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    I think that a main contributor is the hardness of your water. If you are going to choose a substrate for your tank then you first have to look at what water you are going to be adding to the tank. This will influence your decision greatly and could save you a lot of trouble later. The question is what quantity should one add to get a good end result? Adding peat is great if you want softer water but adding too mutch will result in problems down the line. Now if you are like me and you can not test for all these kind of things, where does this leave you? In trouble?
     
  19. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Why is there such a big problem with adding peat and organic matter? I know of some great planted setups with good ol' compost (and some lime to even things out) under the gravel. Surely in nature there is a lot of decomposing plant matter in the water (especially where discus are found)?
     
  20. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think its all that complicated, think I have seen some really complex setups from the guys overseas, especially the Japanese guys, they are on a complete different level! Have a look at this guys lay-out:
    http://www.aquascapingworld.com/forum/a ... -rain.html

    Now that is like substrate engeering if you ask me!

    My tank will be a mid-high tech setup, with atleast +2wpg as a rough guide, I will also be injecting CO2 and adding ferts on a regular basis. With a thick enough cap, you don't disturb the bottom layers when planting. Also if you plan accordingly you do not do that much planting. It is the uprooting of plants that pull with their roots, all that the bottom layer has to offer, and you are left with muddy waters that take some time to clear up again.
     

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