Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Indianapolis, IN
It helps, yes. Is it necessary? No way. I've had beautiful beautiful planted tanks using straight SMS substrate with nothing else added to it. You don't need anything else, but some extra nutrients in the substrate do help the plants who like to mainly feed from their roots.
When adding peat, use a fine dusting on the glass before you add the SMS in. Otherwise the peat will float and cloud your water. Don't make it very thick, just a sprinkle and enough to cover the bottom.
If you use laterite instead, do the same, but I'd advocate putting it mainly in the spots where large root feeders will be growing (swords, crypts, ect.). Laterite can be VERY messy, and SMS is very lightweight. Be careful when pouring in water or topping off as you might have a mess on your hands.
Dry ferts... I think the only method of using these that I've seen mentioned is making a concentrated solution of ferts and water and soaking the SMS in them. Sounds kinda risky to me though, I'd personally go with the peat or with nothing at all.
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