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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    Hey v&a! How was your gauteng pet shop hopping? Did you see anything interesting?

    Going to start my new tank this week, decided to go with 2x7kg fluorite and the balance in pool filter sand for a 98x40cm base. Going to mix it up, no layering, want the darker colours of the fluorite visible.. What do you guys think? Good choice?
     
  2. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    If you call ink injected fish interesting... Then yes... Will give a full report later.

    About your substrait... It could look nice and it will help alot if you are the tipe of peson who likes to change and replant all the time. The flourite could settel to the bottom in time but that should not be a problem. What fish are you going to keep in the tank? Bottom feeders?
     
  3. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Hey v&a!

    Yes, going to keep some polkadot loaches and some hoplo cats as bottom feeders... Maybe some cory's later... Going to get the fluorite today, if it's too course for the catfish, I'll put it on the bottom and the pool sand on top...

    Eish, dyed fish? I'm guessing that was at a certain pet shop in boksburg?;)
     
  4. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Got some Fluorite today during lunch hour! :yes Over the weekend someone mysteriously took all the cheaper bags... :scratch: But at least when I asked, the lady still sold them to me for R173, apparently the new shipment was cheaper or something... So now, my substrate: 14kg of Fluorite, and 15-20kg of swimming pool sand. Still want to decide how I'm going to layer/mix it though, will have a careful look at the Fluorite for sharp edges, don't want to mutilate any cory's... :)
     
  5. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    Has any Flourite been spotted in and around the Cape Town area?
     
  6. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Hey Sillikube,

    If you don't come right, it looks like Animal Kingdom does do courier services, check here: http://www.animal-kingdom.co.za/
    Might cost a small fortune to courier bags of gravel to CT though...
     
  7. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    i bought all 4 bags they had on saturday, they were all marked at R248 though, so i guess i got ripped...
     
  8. Alwyn
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    Alwyn Algae harvester

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    Silikube - Been extensively looking for Fluorite in the CT area with no luck... If you maybe get your paws on some, please let me know... To courier bags might not be financially practical for a 'arm blanke' like me :p
     
  9. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Tried out the Fluorite in a small hexagonal tank last night. Tried to rinse it before I put it in, but a lot of muddy water came off, the runoff water didn't seem to stop going muddy, so stopped rinsing, didn't want to lose any nutrients... Put it at the bottom with some normal sized (3-5mm) gravel on top. It made the tank's water quite murky, but it was cleared up in the morning. Still think it might be a problem if you have burrowing tankmates... So, I think I'm going to put it under the pool filter sand. Any ideas? BTW, does anyone know if filter sand would work in a sump as mechanical filtration?
     
  10. blaster1
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    blaster1 Noob

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    Hi all
    For my lowtech tanks I used the old peat from my filters mixed with topsoil put it on the bottom with a small network of old airpipes the I chuck the grit on top . When I need to fertalize I mix it with water & inject it into the air pipes with a syringe . that tank's been running for bout 10 mnths & plants are loving it.

    G
     
  11. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    :wow thats a really good idea

    some plants still need water column ferts though, but for heavy root feeders that sounds awesome!!!
     
  12. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    Where would one find some dolomite and muriate of potash?
     
  13. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    muriate of potash is a soluble potassium feritlizer, look for 0-0-60, should be able to get that at some big nurserys or similar.

    dolomite, should be able to get at fish shops specialising in saltwater setups, ive also seen it in dischem as a calcium supplement in tablet form, depending on how much you want, you could crush those up, might be expensive though...

    i hear lots of afrikaans people mention "kooperasies" like a farmers supply type store, never seen any though, but those would probably have all the fertilizers and dry powder chemicals we are always looking for in this hobby...

    nice article with the above ingredients
     
  14. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the info WBS.

    I got the idea after reading that article, was just wondering where to get the dolomite and muriat of potash from. If I can't find any, I will most probably substitute that with some good old "volcanic rock dust"!! Thanks GDJ :thumb:
     
  15. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    hehe, glad i am not the only one that sits reading substrate articles on the weekends.
     
  16. ismail
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    ismail Algae harvester

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    Thanks WBS,
    Interesting article; also going to give it a try on my two foot tank.
    Keep us posted regarding the dolomite and potash.
    BTW, where are you guys buying the 'volcanic rock dust'?

    Regards
    Ismail
     
  17. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    i got mine at a nursery called leeways in the south. you could try that nursery at the bottom of durnford road, if its still there, been a while since i was in emps...
     
  18. ismail
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    ismail Algae harvester

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    Thanks, they closed last year, ...but will try the other ones around here, and we have a new one in Richards Bay.

    Kind Regards
    Ismail
     
  19. Dirk B
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    Dirk B Aquascaper

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    Hi Guys,

    A few of you have asked me to comment on this thread, and about substrate feeding of aquatic plants and water feeding of aquatic plants.

    With regard to substrates, my opinion is very conservative. The reason for this is that if you use a substrate which may be good for the plants, it may also leach a lot of additional components into the water which are not good for your fish, such as nitrate. In addition some of these leached components may also stimulate algal growth. When most persons think of growing aquatic plants, they think of how they would plant normal above water plants in their garden. First of all, you would dig through the soil to loosing it and then add compost and perhaps some fertilizer, something like phosphate in the form of bone meal. In soil, phosphate is bound to clay and will stay there as a reserve for later feeding. You would then plant the plants or the lawn, get it established, but then if you wanted to get them to grow really well, you would add some more fertilizer. In spring and summer this fertilizer would contain large amounts of nitrogen, less phosphate and some potassium. Some fertilizers contain trace elements, but often not, assuming that the soil has enough reserves of these elements.

    Aquarium plants also need these ferts, but the substrate medium can just simply not supply all of this on an ongoing basis. One must do water changes in all aquaria, so many of the fertilizers are removed in this way, so the medium becomes depleted rapidly. So, in order to feed nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, the substrate is in actual fact completely insufficient and these components must be added as ferts to the water. A lot has been written about feeding the most important trace element, iron, through the substrate. This is where we read of laterite soils which are rich in iron, and many substrates claim to be iron rich. In spite of all of this, these substrates just simply cannot supply enough iron to actively growing aquatic plants and they must be supplemented with trace elements via ferts added to the water. An added complication is that iron in solution is highly unstable and is oxidixed rapidly from what we call iron 2 to iron 3 (I am trying not to use fancy chemical symbols here). Iron 3 is no longer of use to the plants, and for this reason iron ferts are added as iron chelate which supply stable iron 2 for a limited amount of time.

    There is one other very important point that must be added here, and that I have seen appearing in this thread again (we have discussed this before on previous threads as well). Plants need BALANCED nutrition. By that I mean that there is an optimal ratio of the different components relative to one another. If you add too much of the one, the absorption of the other components is upset, and a shortage of another element then appears and the plants do NOT grow properly. If you add potassium alone without the other components, then there is an imbalance and the plants do not grow strongly. For this reason, I have prepared my ferts as a balanced mix and I do regular water changes after which I add the complete mix. In this way, I feel that the plants can use what they need, and then after a water change, I add everything. This means that I do not have to measure single components and add one component at a time. If you are willing to do this, I am not saying that it is wrong, but it is very labor intensive and although I run my own lab, I am not prepared to go to the hassle of measuring all the different chemicals needed for good growth, I simply add my mix and then I know that I do not have to worry. If you want to see what my tanks look like, check out other threads on this forum.

    So, to get back to the substrates, my opinion is that I will not add all the fancy substrates to my gravel, especially if they are as costly as you say. I am not saying it is wrong, but remember that water ferts are almost more important than substrate ferts. I just simply add iron nails to the substrate. These then rust, releasing iron 2 and I have observed the roots of the plants growing into this rust. I also do NOT add peat of any organic components to my gravel. What are the plants supposed to get out of these? They do not contain any trace elements or nitrogen, phosphate or potassium. In your garden you add this to assist in what is called soil structure. The organic components aid soil microbes and improve aeration in soil, but they do not do this in the bottom of an aquarium. There they lie UNDER the gravel in an area which is poor in oxygen, so in my opinion, they can only rot and cause problems. I also do not add any slow release ferts to the gravel as I do not want excess nitrate levels in my tanks and my fish, through being fed strongly are adding nitrate in large amounts all the time. Much the same applies to phosphate in that it is released by the fish. Cameron and I have had debates on this thread about this in the past, and it would be good to add nitrates and phosphates when starting up a tank and the fish have not released this into the water, but thereafter they are not necessary as a matter of fact it is detrimental.

    I leave you with this food for thought (and also food for your plants).

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
  20. Gertjc
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    Gertjc Algae harvester

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    Well said Prof Dirk!
    That is why I only use your plantfood ( Dirk se druppels) and nails!
    It works, believe me, I have seen Dirk's tanks!
    Gert.
     

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