Substrate for dry starting HC - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate for dry starting HC

What substrate and fertilizers do I use?

I only have the inert Tahitian Moon Sand right now, but I read somewhere I can use some sort of soil that is gardening, but I can't find it so here I am asking.

I don't want to buy another bag of Eco-Complete or stuff like that because I'm dry starting in a very very small tank and the extra stuff would be wasted. So if there is a safe gardening soil I want to get that to dry start the HC and plant some tomatoes and strawberries.

And for ferts, I have most Seachem liquid minus the Excel and Trace.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 08:03 PM
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I just finished setting up a 10gal emersed HC tank last week. I used Shultz Aqua Soil (SAS) that I had left over and it seems to be doing well but I'm misting ferts daily. Any substrate should work well it's just up to you as long as you stay in the 1mm-3mm range.

If your not going to flood the tank at any point then Miracle Grow would work very well. That's probably what I'm going to use when I transfer the HC to when it outgrows the 10gal it's in. But I'm a bit nuts this is going to be a permanant emersed tank so I can give portions of it away at the local HAAS auctions.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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So I bought some topsoil and some sand to top it off, will I still get dead spots. Cuz I got dead spots with the TMS.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2010, 02:37 AM
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I actually had some luck with using flourite with a couple roots tabs underneath. Then every few days a misted the hc with a solution of dry ferts and RO water. This method seemed to work pretty nice and easy to maintain, IMO. But it looks like you want soil so I couldn't help you there. My only suggestion would be to try out some mineralized topsoil if you feel like trying some different than commercial products.

I see you went with soil and a sand cap. That sounds like it should work. Just watch when you finally fill it. Be gentle to make little disturbance and let the tank cycle before adding fish. Sometimes topsoil will cause an initial ammonia spike and possible algae bloom depending on how intense your light is initially.

Good luck,
Bryan


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