substrate life expectancy? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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substrate life expectancy?

I know there is lots of substrate out there. So far I haven't seen anything about discarded after so and so months/years.

So does anyone have substrate that needs to be replace every so months/years??
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 02:16 PM
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Aquasoil needs to be replaced every few years depending on the type.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 02:57 PM
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You can grow plants fine in pool filter sand. Nutrient life expectancy of a substrate will vary wildly depending on tank, water change schedule, plant species, etc. A high bioload in the tank will increase it exponentially as well.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Great to know!!!! Thank you.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 06:29 PM
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Any substrate that literally falls apart should be replaced, but sands and gravels, and material that is intact never needs to be replaced.
Many of these materials will hold fertilizer in a way that the ferts are available to the plants, but not free in the water column. As the plants use the ferts they need to be added.

Throwing away a substrate like that is like throwing away your plates and bowls because the food is gone.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 02:17 PM
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Fish waste will add back to the substrate.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 02:25 PM
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Inert substrates have the durability but lack the nutrients that active substrates offer so root tabs and other fert subsidies will need to be added for plants to flourish. Active substrates however grow plants like no other due to the rich mineral content. With all things said, the minerals will be depleted and break down over time and will likely force a tear down to replace the substrate. While this isnt the end of the world, its a fairly laborious task, more so in a larger tank.

Figure out what you are willing to deal with in the long term. The life of the active substrate may be lengthened due to the quality of your tap, fert supplementing (dry ferts, EI dosing,etc..), the type of plants and the sheer amount of used in the tank. Root feeders obviously would benefit from active soils but would equally survive with inert types, though growing slower and less vibrant. Some folks gauge a year of life while others go longer or less. it all depends so YMMV.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 03:51 PM
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Aquasoil and Fluval Shrimp/Plant Stratum will need to be replaced after a while. They will either turn to mush or lose their buffering capacity. Flourite and Eco-Complete will last you forever. Same with inert sands and gravels.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-09-2012, 05:01 AM
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ADA aqua asoil is 7 years old and works fine.



I've mowed this tank good each month or so for the last 2 years now +.

Not slowing down, but I dose the water also, but over time, only the NO3 and NH4 are really depleted, all the other nutrients had enough for the next 10 years or so, much longer than most ever keep for a planted tank anyway before tearing it down and redoing it.
Now if you are one of those that never doses anything to the water column.well.....maybe 1 year or so would be a good routine.




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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
ADA aqua asoil is 7 years old and works fine.



I've mowed this tank good each month or so for the last 2 years now +.

Not slowing down, but I dose the water also, but over time, only the NO3 and NH4 are really depleted, all the other nutrients had enough for the next 10 years or so, much longer than most ever keep for a planted tank anyway before tearing it down and redoing it.
Now if you are one of those that never doses anything to the water column.well.....maybe 1 year or so would be a good routine.
WOAH! Your plants are still going that strong with only nitrate and ammonia added?!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Tran View Post
WOAH! Your plants are still going that strong with only nitrate and ammonia added?!
I add everything.

Not just KNO3, but Traces, PO4, GH etc..........

I tested the sediment for K+, Trace metals, NH4, NO3, PO4.

Nothing changed other than NH4(went from high to near zero), NO3 does not bind(which is why it's a drinking water problem) so it was not really present in large amounts either way.

After 18 months.

Like all wetland soils, Rice paddy soils, they are N limited generally speaking due to denitrification, PO4 does not have an atmospheric component. They add liquid NH3 to rice soils right before the flood and then they seed the fields via planes(In CA, USA). ADA As is similar to the rice paddy soil here in the Central Sacramento River valley.

If you did not dose anything or very little, then the life time for Nitrogen would drop to maybe 6-12 months? I'm not sure, I did not take subsamples over time for 18 months etc.

So this would suggest the best case scenario, but also the wisest. You never run out and always have a back up, except for N after say 1-2 years.

Some assume that low/absent water column nutrients somehow is a cure for algae or grows plants better, is preferred, but there is no evidence for this, there are a large no# of aquarist who WANT to believe that is true. A good myth is hard to kill.




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