making gravel better - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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making gravel better

I am putting together a 45g. I bought 50lbs of natural gravel. I have low tech tanks and want to make sure that the roots get fed. I think that is the main reason why you use Eco and such. The way I vac I think I would kick up dust if I put growing media under the gravel. Is there any other way to feed the roots? My Crunum is green but not lush. I will be adding a large sword and I have heard this needs extra nutrients. I have always been a moss gal and so adding these other plants is a step at a time. I use Excel once a day and Flourish at water changes. I looked at different root tabs and was not sure what I needed. Or should I add another Seachem product along with the other dosing? I know there are a lot of dry ferts people use but I can't seem to get those in my head so they balance.
I just read about this guy who used a course filter pad on top of his media. I wonder if this would still feed the plants and stop me from stirring it up so much. Or will this just make a mess?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 06:26 PM
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Try using a potting soil base layer underneath the gravel. With plants in the tank, you shouldn't have a need to vacuum the gravel except to skim the very top to pick up any excess detitrus. You can also use fert tabs along with the soil for even better growth.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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I get a lot of mulm each week or every other when I vac. I do weekly water changes to lower the TDS not because the ammonia or nitrites or nitrates are up. Won't the build-up of this mulm get to much if I only surface vac?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 08:49 PM
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Mulm should only accumulate at the surface of the substrate, so if you vacuum once a week you should be fine. I have tetras and other small fish in my 20G and i only vacuum the surface of the substrate once every couple of months and i don't have much buildup.

With a good colonization of bacteria in your substrate, the mulm should break down into nutrients for the plants, this way you won't have much mess and you'll have extra ferts for your plants. If your fish are big and put out a lot of waste, you will need to vacuum weekly to keep ammonia from spiking.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 09:22 PM
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IMO I would not try potting soil with your first planted tank- it can get extremely messy and you need to know which kinds to avoid.

Planted substrates not only provide nutrients to the plants, but the finer size also helps with root growth. Coarse gravel often can inhibit plant growth because the roots are unable to establish. Once you have roots growing through the substrate, you should't push a gravel vacuum into them as you will damage them and possibly the plant in the process.

You need to read up on the fert needs of plants; they need the right amount of ferts, lighting, and CO2 to grow properly. No substrate is enough by iteself to provide all that plants need to grow. www.RexGrigg.com is a good place to go learn about the macro and micro nutrients needed by plants that can be provided through ferts.

Swords in particular need high iron plus develop massive root systems; fert tabs are often very helpful with swordplants.

You could replace the gravel in the areas of the tank where you want plants with a planted substrate, or you could plant inside pots, and bury or hide the pots?





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