Substrates get old and used up - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Substrates get old and used up

Maybe I am the only person in the world who did not realize this.

My 120 gallon tank has some substrate that is as old as the hills, and some 1 year old ecocomplete on top of that. My swords, to name the obvious example, were not growing very well.

I pulled them out of there and put them into my new 125 gallon tank that has a new ecocomplete substrate with a bit of play sand on top. Suddenly, every evening when the lights come on it is party time. The swords are going crazy.

I guess the moral is that if your root feeders are not growing "its the substrate, stupid" to paraphrase Mr. Carville.

Does anybody have good experiences with rejuvenating substrates, short of ripping them out and laying down new material?


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:02 PM
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hmmm, glad i use root tabs.
lol
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:03 PM
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What you described it is another example of what the expensive substrate is really worth.

In my opinion there is no better substrate than enriched Turface covered with small, gravel like pool filter 'sand'.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:24 PM
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enriched turface?? explain enriched


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:37 PM
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Enriched Turface

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triv View Post
enriched turface?? explain enriched
You soak Turface first in 'normal' aquarium fertilisers for several hours in, say, a bucket, then pour out whatever water is not aborbed and spread it in your tank. When capped with whatever, it makes the best substrate at the best price...
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 09:49 PM
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thats a great idea... wish i woulda known about that a few months ago...it is kinda my own fault for jumping headlong into a tank though...
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 10:06 PM
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thats why I decided on a inert substrate like flourite, I wont have to deal with the substrate going bad.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardN View Post
You soak Turface first in 'normal' aquarium fertilisers for several hours in, say, a bucket, then pour out whatever water is not aborbed and spread it in your tank. When capped with whatever, it makes the best substrate at the best price...
Why cap it?

How long before you need to start using root tabs?

Can the same be done with other substrates like eco complete or flourite, or do they not retain as much of the fertz?

Is there a recipe for the fertz mixture (how much of what per gallon of water).
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 03:46 AM
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IMHO most plants get their nutrients from the water so enriched/special substrate isn't really needed...root feeders (my only root feeders are my swords) get root tabs, the rest get liquid ferts.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 04:25 AM
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Having done sediment test for some years, I can tell you things, at least with respect to Delta clays and ADA AS, which are similar and water column doisng based on that analysis.

You will not run out of nutrients in the sediment(for those listed above), for most of the nutrients other than Nitrogen.

If you dose the water column, then there's less demand from the sediments, so they will lats longer. Common sense asks why not use both locations?

Once you add sediment rich nutrients, then they are there and no further work is really required from then on. That hedges against any errors and forgetfulness regarding the water column. the water column dosing is more flexible and you prevent the sediment from running out of certain nutrients and can dose more KNO3 later.

So now you have two locations for nutrients, both short and long term supplies. These 2 locations work together, not opposed. I'm not sure why some suggets to dose only the water column and then others that do not suggest to dose the water column using soils etc.

These are very counter productive suggestions/ideas that make the methods worse, not better.

Soil folks still need to dose some things, so a couple of N and P dosing will not add any horrid burden upon them. Likewise, water column folks are not out that much for adding some soil/clays etc, and then once done, they are set for years, they can leave for vacation and come back without having dosed all week and things look great. Maybe you want to run the water column leaner but do not want to bottom things out too much, sediment will offer a back up safety net.

Given a choice, which we do have, both makes the most sense and logic.

Then you can focus on larger things, like light and CO2 issues.


Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post

So now you have two locations for nutrients, both short and long term supplies. These 2 locations work together, not opposed. I'm not sure why some suggets to dose only the water column and then others that do not suggest to dose the water column using soils etc.

These are very counter productive suggestions/ideas that make the methods worse, not better.
So, plantbrain, I'm a total noob so pardon the possible obviousness of this:

Are you saying that using enriched substrates (or soil) and dosing the water column has two different functions because of the nutrients that they store or provide? I'm sure I'm over-simplifying this but I haven't heard this before.

Again, total noob here.

p.s. very nice to meet you I've read so many references to your work
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 06:09 AM
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Which substrates fall under the category of "delta clays"?
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 06:16 AM
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There's no reason not to dose the water column, even with a good substrate.
If your substrate is spent, dose the water column and/or use root tabs.
No reason to throw your tank out the window.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 04:48 PM
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If I understood Tom's comment correctly, only the nitrogen portion of the substrate nutrients is depleted over time. And, that, I assume, is partly because plants use a lot more nitrogen than phosphorous, for example, as well as because nitrates or ammonia are very mobile and leach out of the substrate faster than potassium or phosphorous. Also, note that potassium is a cation, while nitrate is an anion - different types of ions for the two major nutrients plants need.

Something he didn't mention this time, but has mentioned many other times, is that all plants are "root feeders" and all plants are "water column feeders". Plants with big root systems don't have them because they are "root feeders" but because they normally exist where the water dries up during the dry season and a big root system is then essential for the plant's survival. Also, some plants need roots to anchor them in place in flowing water - stem plants for example. All plants can collect nutrients through both the roots and the leaves, even most terrestrial plants.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 06:59 PM
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Has anyone run across the following substrate chart:

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...substrates.php
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...ates_chart.php

The data for turface looks better than flourite, especially the CEC rating. Is density the only real advantage flourite has here?
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