Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: "Swamptown", SC
Most lowes and home depots I've seen keep their pond section on the shelves through the winters. That is both in SC and MD, two completely different winter types. At any rate here in SC they were putting patio furniture up a week after Christmas, of course thats the south for you. If you opt to go the soil route, either get some out of your yard (thats not polluted with oil or pesticides or anything) or buy the organic potting soil. It will release nutrients over a long period, and just top it with normal gravel.
Aside from that peat will alter your ph and slowly release tannins over time. As far as the shultz goes, I've had it in my tanks, it was a great planting medium, however I just would have rather had darker gravel so my guppies didn't look so washed out. Anyway, you could always do the shultz and then plain gravel, I've done that too.
Also I've these three things from lowes:
Pea Gravel (from the size of a pencil eraser up to a nickel)
Sand (playsand or the pavers sand, however the pavers sand is a PITN to get clean)
Shultz Aquatic Soil
I mixed all of those together (after much rinsing) with my aged gravel and had a great planting medium, the shultz coupled with the mulm and some trace nutrients in the sand and gravel made my swords explode and vals shoot runners faster than strawberry plants. At any rate, I had to change it b/c my banjo cats had a hard time hiding in it (became dense), that would be my only complaint long term is that it does have a tendency to settle without regular siphoning.
Now I have onxy sand and am planning to get flourite black (sand and gravel, b/c the sizes aren't that much different) for my other smaller tanks that just have inert gravel...
Hope this helps...