The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - The *BEST* (Tom Barr's) low-tech start-up tank method. Easy to read beginner's guide!
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 04:01 PM
Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,015
How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate (MTS), by Aaron Talbot is a good article on how to "mineralize" soil. Mineralizing means converting organic nitrogen compounds to inorganic nitrogen - nitrates. The article explains how to let bacteria do it for you, or you can bake the soil in an oven to accomplish the same thing faster, but with a good possibility of stinking up the whole house.

ADA Aquasoil contains ammonia, which leaches out into the water for a couple of months or so. That means you need to do lots of water changes for the first couple of months after setting up the tank. But, if you do a dry start, much, if not all of that process is accomplished before you ever fill the tank with water. (I think I am remembering right on this - perhaps someone will correct me if I'm not.)

The problem with deciding which plants do well with "low light" is that there is no easy way to define what "low light" means, without using a PAR meter to measure the light. Some people's "low light" tanks, where plants X, Y, and Z grow well, may well be "medium" or higher light when a PAR meter is used to measure the light. Maybe, the better list would be plants that do well with no added CO2?

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