Vermiculite / aquatic soil / UGF compatability? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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This is probably a very dumb question, but, can I use a mixture of Vermiculite and Schults aquatic soil covered with pea gravel on an undergravel filter, or will it eventualy turn to mush and get sucked thru the filter?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 11:08 AM
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Underground filters in general are a bad idea for planted tanks.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 12:02 PM
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I agree with George here, UGF are really bad if u want to keep a planted tank. The aquatic soil will probbably be pulled up through the filter and spread into your tank or it may clogg the filter.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 12:31 PM
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Plus the roots will eventually reach down and clog the filter plate anyway.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Good points...
So since I cant afford to put a heater under my substrate, whats my best alternative for getting oxygen in the substrate?

Maybe something that burrows like trumpet snails?
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 01:08 PM
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Most of us use Trumpet Snails for tightly packed substrates that need help with aeration. Most loose gravels will do just fine without any turnover of the substrate.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 03:01 PM
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Plus, what you're planning on using is not so small that it will compact and become anoxic too easily. MTS are good for gravel aeration though as sam said.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 03:36 PM
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Putting oxygen in the subtrate is bad! It will cause many of the nutrients oxidize, thus they'll be useless to the plants...
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 04:00 PM
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You get more of a gradient, the whole substrate will not be oxygenated, just the upper layers, the lower levels will still be able to reduce the nutrients.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks for the great info!
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 11:56 PM
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So what do you plan on doing?

You won't need anymore oxygen with your substrate, usually people with 100% sand need to worry about that b/c it compacts well. UGF are pretty much a terrible choice for planted tanks too, plus IME are horrible filters. I hated my old UGFs!
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2004, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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well I think I am going to go with about an inch of vermiculite / schultz aquatic soil mixture, covered in about 1 1/2 inches of pea sized black gravel.
For filtration, a fluval cannister with sponges on the intake and exit.
2 yeast co2 injectors into small overturned dishes, and 1 air pump... hopefully it wont take out too much of the co2.. but I just want to be sure my 46 cardinal tetras and 2 rams have something besides co2 to breath lol.


If my wife can get her digital camera working before the weekend, Ill start a journal, something like "Poor mans planted tank" lol
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2004, 12:32 AM
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Pea sized gravel IMHO is much too big in a planted tank. It doesn't grip the plants at all and too much junk falls into it. Normally one wants a substrate in the 1-3 mm range for a planted tank.

Also running an air pump with your projected CO2 system means the CO2 system is worthless. Either don't run the air pump or get a better CO2 diffusion system and still don't run the air pump. If you live in the US you can get the Hagen ladders for around $10 each and they work great for smaller tanks. What size tank are we talking about here anyway?
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2004, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Its a 46 gallon tank... the type with a bowed front.
Im curious how the fish will aqcuire oxygen without water agitation or an airstone? Either will remove co2 from the water.

I have a 10 gallon where the c02 is injected under a small dish and it has 2 over the side filters as well as an air stone, yet at the same time I find the water to have plenty of co2 (enough to cause ph crash)

Keeping in mind that the water is VERY agitated and has an airstone going as well, my conclusion is that since the co2 is trapped under the dish, it will continuosly dissolve into the water, and there will always be co2 present.

I admit im new to growing plants, and I know just enough about water chemistry to get me into trouble, but I see no other way to explain the high co2 levels in a highly agitated tank with an airstone....

In any case, what would be the proper poor mans way to provide oxygen to my fish, and co2 to my plants at the same time?


PS: I am so glad I found this forum.. you guys /gals have really been a great help.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2004, 01:05 AM
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Plants expire oxygen, fish use this oxygen. An airstone is not putting any oxygen in the water. An air stone creates a surface disturbance there by increasing the surface area of the water allowing more oxygen to be absorbed into the water. And hence CO2 to be released. Your tank should not need an air stone if it is planted....

Jason

120g, Flourite & Sand. DIY Stand and Canopy. CF lighting 3wpg, Pressurized C02, DIY reactor. 2-XP3's, 500watt heater.
Heavily planted
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