any pointers for sphagnum only (with a sand cap) substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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any pointers for sphagnum only (with a sand cap) substrate?

I jumped the gun several weeks ago and redid my substrate with 100% sphagnum covered in sand. I have about 3-4" total of substrate evenly divided between sphagnum and a silica sand cap. I didn't really pre-soak any of the moss, I just layered it in and put enough water to fully wet the moss before adding the sand over top.

I realize this isn't very optimal after studiously reading here after the fact and I don't plan on re-doing it with another mix, so is there anything I should look out for or plan for when I start adding plants? I had hoped to add plants sooner, but my wallet just won't let me at this time.

This will be a low light, low tech setup for now. I really like the idea of a ground cover of some sort. Will this substrate be able to grow a ground cover? I'm not sure what I want to use yet as I'm still researching what I can get locally and what I'll be able to afford. I really like the look of micrograss, but really anything that tends to grow short and cover the bottom will work for me.

Would a ground cover respond to root tabs or will I have to rely on a water column fert? I've a serious n00b when it comes to plants, but I am constantly reading EVERYWHERE so direct answers aren't super necessary, maybe just some pointers in the right direction.

This is in a standard 55gal long. Not many fish at this point, but I'm shooting for a community oriented tank that will hopefully support a handful of angels and dwarf cichlids, some schoolers (rumys?) and maybe a shoal of corys to help with cleanup.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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This is what the tank currently looks like. All plants you see are plastic. Now that I'm gearing up for plants, plastics are looking worse and worse every day :P
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:50 AM
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I'd watch the pH, peat moss can lower pH greatly. When I played with peat for pH lowering, I take my 8pH 200TDS water and strip it down to 4pH 30TDS water if I filtered it enough.

Capped it should slow down that process a lot and it's just in the tank, not in direct contact with the filter or something.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 01:05 AM
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I've done it before. It takes a while to break down but you get the slow release of CO2 as it does. Eventually after two years or so, the substrate needed root tabs. It can get messy so don't do too much rescaping if you can. It's more of a set it and forget it type of substrate. As GeToChKn said, it will pull down your PH so watch your water parameters if the water you're filling your tank with is naturally soft. Hairgrass did fine for me but I had a 27w CFL desk lamp over my 5 gallon tank.



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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys!

Odd thing is my PH has gone UP since adding the sphagnum.....Originally the tank was hovering around 6.2 and now its more like 7.0. Nothing else has changed except the substrate and there are fewer fish now. Could it be from the CO2 being released? The packaging on the brick said it was just moss with no fert additives or anything.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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Just did a test and I'm wrong on my ph levels.

tap water is 7.6 and tank is about 6.8
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 08:58 PM
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Sounds about right, the water will probably have a slight tinge as well.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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oh yeah, it definitely has some tannins in it. I'm OK with the tannins as the SA dwarf cichlids I want to put in it like that kind of water, and I know in time it'll clear up too.
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