Substrate

Discussion in 'Planted Tank Equipment' started by banjo, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. banjo
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    banjo Algae harvester

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    Hi All,

    I am going to be redoing my tank ... from scratch. I have looked at Rattail's substrate and am wanting to use its ingredients (thanks Rattail for sharing with us). My question is ... what are the comments of the other guru's on this forum? are there any improvements that can be made?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated?

    PS does any one have some mulm that i can use?
     
  2. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    I think for an el natural substrate Rattail has got it covered, I would do exactly what he did.
     
  3. banjo
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    banjo Algae harvester

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    Great thanks! :banana: :banana:
     
  4. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Just remember to keep it on the lean side, don't go too deep with the soil or you will run into trouble later on, just a thin layer will be fine.
     
  5. Anonymous
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    Anonymous Guest

    And capping the soil with a fine substrate like rivesand or playpen sand can lead to the soil going anaerobic.
     
  6. Philip
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    Philip Algae harvester

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    Hi all
    Substrate for planted aquariums is always the question that is asked. Firstly, using river sand/ playpen sand can be used, it has to be thoroughly washed. Remember, over time this fine sand compacts in the aquarium and the soil will become anearobic( oxygen free) which in turn will cause the plant roots to rot.
    On the other hand, if one had a substrate heating cable, the soil will not become compacted for the reason that the heating cable causes convexional currents which in turn prevents anearobic soil conditions. The other alternative is to use malayan burrowing snails which inturn keep your soil fresh, but keep you eye on them, they can get out of control. Suggestion to handle an outbreak of snails is to use any of the Botia fish, they really do a fine job at controlling the snail population.
     
  7. banjo
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    banjo Algae harvester

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    Thanks guys. I'm planning on using a fine brown gravel as the top layer ... its what i have already. I plan to put a thin layer on the bottom, followed by home made clay balls, then red flourite, then "river soil/roseshrub mix" mixture and then followed by another layer of gravel.

    Any suggestions on thickness? overall and individual?


    @Philip: where can i get hold of either the snails or this heating cable you are talking about?
     
  8. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Absolutely no offense to Philip but I think heating cables are an old relic from Dennerle's fancy marketing strategies all those years ago.

    I've used heating cables in the past and it made absolutely zero difference to the overall health of the plants (over 9 months or so). They're expensive and in my honest opinion HIGHLY overrated. The plants certainly don't need them.

    Of course folks don't believe this due to all the dogma that surrounds them, so I guess you will need to try for yourself to see what it does for you.

    Regards
    C
     
  9. Philip
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    Philip Algae harvester

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    Hi Cameron
    No offence taken, with reference to heating cables, but as you stated your tank is only 9 months or so old. Your gravel is still fresh, the heating cable will make a difference over a longer period once your gravel starts settling down. The idea behind the heating cable to to prevent your gravel from becoming anaerobic, the convectional currents created by the cable does not allow the gravel to become depleted of oxygen and nutrients. They are expensive, I make my own which my customers use and proof is in the pudding. Gerald has one as well. Certain plants like Cryptocorynes love warth near there roots. But everyone to himself. You do not need a heating cable but one will see over a period of months what actually happens to plants without the cable.
     
  10. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Hi Philip

    In the case of not having a rich substrate and dosing the water column only the plants will get used to taking in nutrients through their leaves only. So in this system the heating cables did nothing for me. If the heating cables are stopping the substrate from going anaerobic then perhaps using courser gravel and also not making it too deep will combat the substrate going foul.

    Do you by any chance know George Booth ? :)
     
  11. City bowl
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    City bowl Noob

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    I think heating cables come into thier own over time. For the long term health of the substrate the idea of convection currents does make sense, to me anyway.
    I do have a low tech tank as well. I will say that I haven't had problems with it in 5 years but the substrate is not so deep, and it is only planted with Java moss and fern anubias nana and some swords. George Booth was a pioneer of planted discus tanks.
     
  12. henk hugo
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    henk hugo Noob

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    i deiceded i want heating cables in my tank - thank god mom said she will buy it for me :D
     
  13. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Yip, but to this day he still gets loads of crap about them heating cables :)
    It's a contentious issue, to say the least. But if you feel they work for you then it's all good. :)
     
  14. City bowl
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    City bowl Noob

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    Never had a problem with mine, perhaps Geroge Booth should phone Philip!
     
  15. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Yes, I feel Philip and George have at least one thing in common :)
     
  16. Philip
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    Philip Algae harvester

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    Hi Cameron
    firstly I do not know Gearge Booth, and secondly a lot of plants take nutrients from the soil, and only feeding nutrients in the water column will not be totally beneficial. Nutrients feed via dosing is fine for bunch plants but when it comes to rooted plants there is a difference. Decreasing the substrate will not help entirely, plants require a reasonable substrate to root . But everyone to himself, if it works for you , by all means carry on.
     
  17. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    He's a very humorous hobbyist from the States, and is always defending himself against the flack he gets about heating cables, he has a very nice website.

    Hobbyists overseas are also stating that it's better to dose the water column aswell as having a rich substrate, so far I have not had the pleasure of using fancy substrates as there are'nt any available, so this far I've been only dosing the water column exclusively using the 'Estimative Index'. The plants are looking full and healthy, even the Crypts, not a sign of algae, so yes, it is working quite well for me. What substrates are you using in your setups?

     
  18. henk hugo
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    henk hugo Noob

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    i'll get the popcorn and beer....
     
  19. City bowl
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    City bowl Noob

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    I'll get the mud!

    I'm under the confused impression that actually it depends on the plant spieces, terrestial plants like swords use thier roots to absorb nutrients whereas aquatic spieces like cabomba use thier roots primarily for anchor. Thats why it is claimed that swords need a rich substrate
     
  20. Philip
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    Philip Algae harvester

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    Hi Cameron,
    Well Gerald want to bring mud,and henk ants to bring popcorn and beer, well I rest my case.
    my substrate is self designed which contains a small portion of peat,laterite from Malmsbery and granular fertiliser from Azoo and baked clay.
    Tell me , if everbody wants to bring something, can i bring the water?
     

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