Pure Mud Layer Using Bottom Screen - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Pure Mud Layer Using Bottom Screen

I have this idea of putting a pure mineralization mud layer under a perforated metal sheet with lots of 1 or 2 inch legs. The screen would let the roots through, but keep something like 4 inches of eco-complete above it. Just putting a layer of mud down and gravel on top, the heavier gravel will eventually make its way to the bottom and the mud will just fill the spaces between the gravel and that makes for lots of clouds if the bottom is disturbed. I am thinking that with this system, normal debris from the tank would have room to settle into the laterite gravel and the tank would not stir up too much with maintenance work. I need to research what type of metal to use so that it does not effect the eco system and lasts for years. So, has anyone ever tried this? Does this make sense?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:31 AM
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Stainless steel.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:36 AM
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The trouble is that if you start pulling plants you'll pull the whole thing out. Or leave a significant root structure behind to rot and go anearobic.

There should be no need for such complex structures.

Or FOUR inches of ecocomplete. 2 inches is plenty, particularly over 1 inch of dirt.

If it is fine enough to prevent settling it will be fine enough to prevent much transfer and root development. Otherwise it will do nothing other than the above problems.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:36 AM
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What about the plastic sheet that is used for needle point?


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Well, this would be for a large deep aquarium with some larger plants, so 3 to 4 inches of ecocomplete is needed IMHO. As for pulling up, I only ever take plants out to keep them from encroaching on others. In that case, if they were wrapped on the screen, I would just cut the crown.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 03:51 AM
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But like I said, leaving behind large amounts of roots would lead to rotting roots and anaerobic conditions.

If you don't move plants more than the bare minimum, settling won't effect you.

plenty of people keep sand capped mud with little problem at all. I honestly do not think you will gain anything, and will likely have more problems doing it this way.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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You are probably right, but this still makes sense to me. It seems to me that a small gravel cap over soil will eventually bring the soil to the surface. I am now thinking I would actually put about 2.5 to 3 inches of MTS below the screen and about the same eco-complete on top. In fact, I am thinking of adding something even MORE potentially ruinous - putting in a permanent fertilization system in the mud layer using a porous tube line (same tubing used for garden drip systems). I would attache the tube to a metal fitting and small diameter metal pipe running up the corner. I can then SLOWLY pump controlled amounts of liquid aquarium fertilizer into the system and deliver it directly to the mud layer, leaving the water column undisturbed as much as possible. It seems to me that we are all trying to create this little cube of amazon river with only about 3 or 4 inches of gravel. That is a paltry amount of substrate given what the plants grow with in the wild. Given all the talk on the forums about proper substrate and the evolution of planted tanks in just the last 20 years, I do not think a full solution has evolved. It seems to me that this would create a richer and more easily maintained substrate.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 05:24 PM
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What you're talking about is an experiment. Let people poke holes in it so you know what you're getting into before doing it. Remember that permanent solutions make changing things around impossible.

With 5-8 inches of substrate, you'll get anaerobic pockets. With a tube underneath it all, when it clogs you're screwed. Plant roots will crawl through the mesh, making moving plants impossible. As far as gravel settling, more important than weight (well, density, actually) is particle size. sand will settle down more quickly than Eco-Complete.

There are many many threads about both using "dirt" and capping. And we can't possibly make an environment in a little cube that's identical to the real world. The best we can do is "close enough".
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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I definitely want holes poked in this. I can get obsessed with ideas sometimes and I many not see the cliff behind me. I have looked on the Internet and so far I have not seen this tried. As for the tubing, I have used underground drip systems for years and they do not seem to get clogged nor do roots grow into them (underground at least). As for the anaerobic pockets, I have not had much experience with that, BUT I could occasionally pump gasses into the tubing (oxygen, co2, etc.). Wouldn't that alleviate anaerobic pockets?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 08:48 PM
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Seems like you'd be better off with an inch less laterite or whatever gravel your using and an inch more mud.

As opposed to the metal barrier layer I'd be more inclined to just have a layer of very fine sand between your gravel and mud, once its compacted I dont think much settling would occur, and the mud shouldnt be able to get through the sand except for when uprooting plants.
Sand that gets pulled into the gravel layer will look fine, and eventually settle back down to the sand layer.
If you really wanted to prevent stirring you could pull the plant till the roots are about half way out and then snip the roots off - but that's the same thing your metal contraption is going to be doing except it wont be on purpose.

As for what material to use, I'd probably go with acrylic instead of Stainless Steel, easier to drill through and lighter.
Just dont drill large holes quickly or you can crack it.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 11:18 PM
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I dont see the point in this sorry. In my 29g RCS tank i have approx 1 inch of MTS mixed with 1 - 2mm gravel it is set in the bottom of the tank like a rock... when i have pulled plants out or re planted if you are gentle there is almost no clouding.

You talk about creating a real "chunk of a river" most plants that grow in rivers (atleast the ones we use) have very shallow root systems because thats where the nutrient is, the long roots are, in most cases, just to hold the plant down as opposed to feeding. Thee deeper you go into the substrate in a river the less available oxygen, so you dont need more than a total of 3 - 4 inches of substrate in a tank.

If you are owrried about the "mud" making it into you water column, mix it with a fine gravel before you put it in the tank and only to a max depth of 2 inches, then cap with your desired substrate to a max total depth of 4 inches, any mud that you stir up will very quickly settle in to the substrate.

As for pumping the ferts into the substrate i think you would be better off dosing the water column as the mud provides the nutrient needed for the root feeders and the ferts would be more available to the water column feeders. That said i would be interested to see how effective this method is.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 11:24 PM
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You are grossly over thinking and over-complicating this. Having had a tank with an UGF in it with plants, I can tell you that it ended horribly with roots intertwined and stuck. The screen will be just as bad and might stop stuff from settling down, but not mud from coming up....

Further, in your aquarium adding liquids to the substrate is silly... And why are you going to use a highly nutrient rich substrate if you are going to try to add liquids to them? I've seen attempts at adding liquid to the substrate and saw no difference--just pipes and tubes running down the side cluttering it up.
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