I'm having troubling figuring out the best substrate to use for my purposes - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm having troubling figuring out the best substrate to use for my purposes

I am creating a Sealed one gallon glass bio jar that will contain a few pond snails, lake water with some daphnia hopefully, and plants.

I was going to use about 1.5 inches of wetland soil, but after I sealed the jar and let the dust settle for 4 days, opened and placed a rock on the surface of the soil A LOT of stinky bubbles came out.
I had just done research into anaerobic layers and bacteria to see if it was something I could maybe work with. I knew anaerobic activity released smelly gas, but I did learn that they actually released a few toxic gases CH4 (Methane) and H2S (Hydrogen Suflide). I was hopeful because I later found there were processes, a few by anaerobic bacteria but the most beneficial in aerobic layers where these gases could be turned into harmless beneficial substances like H2O and CO2. However, they require 2 O2's for every one molecule of gas. And after seeing all that gas that was released....(assuming it was all H2S, smelled bad) I knew the plants wouldn't be able to produce double that in oxygen in order to break it down into something safe for the organisms in my jar.

So, I had to figure out what to use for substrate. It has to meet a few criteria though, based on the idea that no nutrients will be introduced after sealing, and the goal is to have the plants and organisms last the longest. In order to fit my criteria I will most likely have to use various different components. But ideally the total substrate combined should:

-Be as nutrient rich as possible

-Contain very long release (years) nutrients like colloidal rock phosphate 20% of it's nutrients are released between 3-5 years, longest slow release of a macronutrient I could find. I also looked into Muscovite or Biotite a kind of Mica rock dust because it's high in potassium although I am unsure of the processes that release that nutrient. I am also considering if soaking STS clay in the individual Seachem Macro nutrients, binding ammonium(N), Potassium (Phosphorus wont bind) to the clay would be an option for long release fert or something like it (because technically, it's always available to the plant just doesn't seep into water column) If anyone knows of very slow release ways to get nutrients let me know

-Little to no anaerobic layers, so be thin enough, coarse enough, or set up in a way so that the substrate doesn't go anaerobic

-I will include a small amount of organic matter from lake soil to provide food for microorganisms in water to start.

My idea so far is to somehow utilize the STS clay by soaking it in pure seachem nutrient products.

-Soaking STS clay in Flourish Comprehensive for example would yield a clay that could theoretically include:
NH4, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Mn2+, Zn2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, Na+
Although I'm not sure if any of one would be capable of being favored by the clay or not. They are all one +. So maybe not.

-Using Fluval Stratum

-Root tabs

-Colloidal Rock phosphate

-Cap with untreated STS
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 11:06 AM
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If you haven't planted your jar yet, don't forget that plant roots as well help prevent substrate from going anoxic. The roots break up dense areas of substrate for better flow, as well as directly introducing oxygen. So that might help with your current substrate, too!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by germanblueramlover View Post
If you haven't planted your jar yet, don't forget that plant roots as well help prevent substrate from going anoxic. The roots break up dense areas of substrate for better flow, as well as directly introducing oxygen. So that might help with your current substrate, too!
I am definitely including sosomsosome heavy deep root feeders. Maybe a trumpet snail too.

Mike

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 02:58 PM
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If you can make mold, it will kill the bacteria, as penicillin is derived from mold. I'm considering making a sake box with an incandescent light bulb in a metal tin, with a humidifier and grass clippings or hay to grow it. But it will just grow mold and you'll have to convert it to foam. So I might have inside the sake box a small amount of water in a dish (doing away with the humidifier), and having the hay grow mold, and having a small bubbler with airline tubing and a few poked holes in it with a safety pin, and hot glue to cap the end of the airline. The bubbler might be too strong and maybe a drip thing like in growing spirolina in their kits might work to slightly churn the water.

Edit: If you make the airline tubing poked with a safety pin every inch for a foot and a half total length of holes, and the end capped by hot glue, the holes furthest from the aquarium bubbler, are the strongest, and the ones closest to the bubbler are the weakest, so you could just elevate the end part, and have very small amount of bubbles coming up, as I can see under my light that I just got that there are bubbles coming out of the weakest bubbles, whereas before I didn't think any were coming out because it wasn't lit. --- I'll say that it may not be the mold part that is killing the bacteria but just the foam, so something that just makes foam. Same with CO2, something that makes bubbles of the size that a CO2 cartridge makes.

Last edited by ntdsc; 09-13-2019 at 03:56 PM. Reason: ...
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 05:34 PM
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Only some molds kill bacteria... I'm also not sure that it's very relevant to OP's goals as they want an aesthetically pleasing system, not a sealed box with grass clippings and foam.

But yes, rooting plants should help break up anaerobic substrate, and trumpet snails could also help to dig up and aerate the substrate. It might be enough to make your current soil work!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by germanblueramlover View Post
Only some molds kill bacteria... I'm also not sure that it's very relevant to OP's goals as they want an aesthetically pleasing system, not a sealed box with grass clippings and foam.

But yes, rooting plants should help break up anaerobic substrate, and trumpet snails could also help to dig up and aerate the substrate. It might be enough to make your current soil work!
If my goal is a long lasting sealed eco system. I'm thinking I need all the nutrients I can get. So I'm trying to put in as much organic matter amd nutrients for plants and organisms to last a while but at the same time do it in a way that discourages anaerobic metabolism.

Keep the soil only as deep as it needs to be while being able to stay oxygenated and hold the most nutrients.

Mike

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 07:24 PM
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What I was saying was making foam in a sake box, that's then spooned into the container, but I revised it to say, that there is something in foam that is antibacterial. I don't think you'd want to add foam from mold because you're just adding more problems from the mold. If I had to guess, there's a tricky design adaption of an airline hose and bubbler to make a different kind of bubbles than the ones existing, but I don't know what that would be, or some arcane not presently understood area of physics that relies on something that could do everything you want ie make foam, co2 bubbles, etc. through a design change in something. And I'll go further to say, that mold that ends up in a natural reservoir occurs because water is flowing through channels towards a low spot, so it's pushing things down that would grow mold. But it may be deeper and there may be a solution due to the idea that there is a sink and everythign is flowing towards a sink, and make use of that idea, to draw everything you need.

I would think that you could solve everything by modifying the light fixture, as there is a pressure that light exerts on objects, and could cause it to stir it up some way.

Last edited by ntdsc; 09-13-2019 at 07:51 PM. Reason: ...
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ntdsc View Post
What I was saying was making foam in a sake box, that's then spooned into the container, but I revised it to say, that there is something in foam that is antibacterial. I don't think you'd want to add foam from mold because you're just adding more problems from the mold. If I had to guess, there's a tricky design adaption of an airline hose and bubbler to make a different kind of bubbles than the ones existing, but I don't know what that would be, or some arcane not presently understood area of physics that relies on something that could do everything you want ie make foam, co2 bubbles, etc. through a design change in something. And I'll go further to say, that mold that ends up in a natural reservoir occurs because water is flowing through channels towards a low spot, so it's pushing things down that would grow mold. But it may be deeper and there may be a solution due to the idea that there is a sink and everythign is flowing towards a sink, and make use of that idea, to draw everything you need.

I would think that you could solve everything by modifying the light fixture, as there is a pressure that light exerts on objects, and could cause it to stir it up some way.
That is interesting but the purpose of finding a substrate like this for me is for a 1 gallon jar I will seal so it qont have any technical side

Mike

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