Is it worth the hassle to change my substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Is it worth the hassle to change my substrate?

Hi guys,

6ft, 95 gal, high tech high light tank, see sig.

Dosing water column with EI, finding it expensive, and if I miss a day or two, unstable.

I have been looking into dirt, Aquasoil, etc.

It will be an enourmous mission to change my substrate.

Also, the inert gravel is over a year old and is teeming with decomposing organic matter.

I have been reading about the oppurtunistic nature of the plants, but it makes sense that the root system would be a primary source of nutrients.

Is it really worth the hassle, for an older tank?


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 01:54 AM
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Are you dry dosing? Because that shouldn't really be expensive.. unless the ferts are hard to come by in Australia?

Anyways, the tank in your sig looks nice, I wouldn't go through the hassle of tearing it down.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 02:32 AM
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Ultimately only you can answer that question. If you are asking if the plants health warrant changing it, I would say no. If every time you walk past that tank you grind your teeth and say "MAN I HATE the way that thing looks!" then maybe you should.

Obviously there will be pros and cons to either way to consider, such as can you afford to replace that much substrate and can your flora and fauna make the transition.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 03:28 AM
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If it's a hassle to change the substrate, how about just using a bunch of root tabs? It could save time but it'd definitely be more expensive. I've also read that some people freeze dirt or tape it up in wax paper and place them under the substrate. It seems too complicated to me though, especially since the frozen stuff could float up.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 04:34 AM
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I would say do it, you may loose plants, but I would try getting baggies filled with your mature substrate, putting holes and what not in them, and then placing them under your new substrate and over a few weeks/months you can possibly remove them?

Just a random idea I just had.. lol

But I would still change it out either way.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2012, 05:51 AM
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The decomposing matter in the substrate is providing nutrients to the plant roots. It is basically the same stuff as terrestrial compost. There may be too much in there, pull up the plants and vacuum some of it out if you feel the need but it is good stuff. If you do change the substrate be sure to leave a good layer of that mulm in the tank under the new substrate.

If you decide to go with pushing root fertilizers down get something that is complete, NPK+micros. I am very erratic about feeding roots but did notice stem plants had very well developed roots a month after adding substrate sticks and after 5 months, stem plant roots aren't as strong. Didn't help the hairgrass much though.

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