Soil Substrate review and coment request - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Soil Substrate review and coment request


I would like your opinions. Please elaborate on you answers wether good or bad.

Below are listed the substrate materials and additives and there logic for use in the aquarium substrate.

Aquarium Gravel Atheistically pleasing. Holds down miscellaneous floating materials from the lower substrate Size = to or < 2mm.

Loam As organic nutrient supply for establishment of complex biological ecosystem. Part of pH Buffering. Has High CEC, low liableness, has a lower redox potential.

Sand Inert mineral for increasing the density of clays, vermiculite and peat.

Vermiculite High CEC used to Stabilize NH4 compounds. Higher Iron Potential.

Terra Cotta Clay Used as a low cost substitute for Laterite. Has about 4% iron content. Has finer texture thereby minerals are more readily assessable to the plants root system.

Three Layer in the Substrate consisting of 85# total weight of the following:

Bottom Layer 60% Terra Cotta Clay, 30% Sand, and 10% vermiculite, 1 1-1/2 inches deep covering over 80% of the bottom.

Middle Layer 95% Sand, 5% Loam, - 2-1/2 inches deep covering over 90% of the bottom.

Top Layer 90% Aquarium Gravel, 10% Sand, - 1 inch deep covering 100% of the bottom.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 04:32 PM
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OMG... so complicated...
Sounds amazing!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2004, 04:52 PM
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While your scientific data is quite accurate and it all looks fantastic on paper.. you are making a whole lot of work for yourself that isnt really necessary. It will definately be an inexpensive substrate though.

This mix will seperate and mix fairly quickly. The sand will settle to the very bottom, the vermiculite will float to the top (I have used it myself a few times, I no longer bother), your terra Cotta Clay will probably work its way to the top with your gravel.

In the end you will not be happy with this mix at all.

I would probably use sand on the bottom (.5-1"), then your loam, and cap that with 1.5" of aquarium gravel.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 10:38 PM
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interesting use of materials

good luck with that!

Last edited by Not Mister Green; 04-19-2005 at 03:37 PM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2005, 03:07 PM
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That depends on how you treat your tank. If done right, this will work for a while.
If you use a flat surface object and gently pat down each layer to make sure it is compact, the sand will hold the bottom layer down for more than 1/2 a year. By this time, your plans will have work it's roots down and make use of the nutrients.
- The down side to this setup is that you have to do water changes very gently and carefully.
- You can't pull out any plant that have taken root. This will over turn the layers.
- 3-4" is way too much substrate, not sure what you are planting.
- top layer of gravel definately won't benifit any carpet plants.
- eventually, when all the nutrients are used up. You'll endup with nothing but a sand and gravel tank.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-06-2005, 12:59 PM
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I had done a similar substrate about a year and a half ago and it worked great except for the fact that if you want to remove/move any plants, it will make the tank look horrible and all the soil particles suspended in the water. this is one of the articles I had written on the substrate I had done.

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