Burying plant cuttings? Aquatic compost? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Burying plant cuttings? Aquatic compost?

I was wondering if anyone did this and whether or not there might be benefits in doing so.

I recently trimmed a few of my plants (maininly Amazon swords) and I was thinking about possibly burying the leaves under the substrate in hopes that as it breaks down it might leave trace nutrients that the plant might benefit from afterwards?
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 06:34 PM
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Welcome to the forums! I bury cuttings in my compost bin in the yard, but wouldn't want plant decay and the dissolved organics that go along with that in my aquariums, personally.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 07:31 PM
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I can't see an immediate benefit to leaving decaying plant matter in the tank since it's already easy to provide fertilizer.

Wouldn't do it unless I was certain water parameters wouldn't be negatively impacted.

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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 09:06 PM
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Interesting thought, but probably not a good idea. I'd worry that the added decomp would create balance problems. Also, I don't know, but suspect that burying organic matter may lead to anaerobic decay and unwanted hydrogen sulfide.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 10:21 PM
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Many of us run tanks with organic soil, and a sand and/or gravel cap to do this.

Style: Organic soil (dirt), sand, gravel, plants, moss, algae, biofilm, mulm, snails, shrimp, small fish
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 12:26 AM
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Many of us run tanks with organic soil, and a sand and/or gravel cap to do this.
Ah, but organic soil has already decomposed into humus.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 01:49 AM
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My oldest soil tank is about 18 months old, and I still see pH changes with my Apex EL for each light period. I let all the waste and mulm re-absorb into the substrate.

I need to re-read DW's book before I comment further.

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 02:53 AM
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I let all the waste and mulm re-absorb into the substrate.

I need to re-read DW's book before I comment further.
Adding rotting plant matter whether above or below the substrate enters the nitrogen cycle as ammonia.
This type of plant matter can also become a haven for algae growth.

DW's book is not the bible or atlas of planted tanks, only a single method.
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 08:32 AM
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I dry my plant clipping, grind them, add mulm and few a pieces gravel to them so they sink, make a little 1” patty and just let mulm and damp ground up plant matter set as blob in air for 24-36hrs to get bacteria going good (higher oxygen levels) then I add those patties back into mulm bed in tank which is maintained on surface of substrate, not buried. Natural carbon and nutrient source.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 11:48 AM
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This just sounds bad.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the comments. It's cool to see everyone's take on this. Lots of valid points.

I might try this on one of my tanks and closely monitor for ammonia spikes as suggested above.

I'm just thinking (could be totally wrong) that being plant matter it should not put out more ammonia than say left over food or perhaps a root tab. And having a healthy mts population should help thi as it breaks down, hopefully converting it into usable nutrients for the plants.
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 01:50 PM
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I’m with the “why bother” and unnecessary-organics camp.

Seems to me that it’s more like adding root tabs …totally unnecessary. All nutrients can be supplied so easily, cheaply and with control via the water column. I wish my terrestrial plants could be fertilized this way.
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 04:34 PM
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I’m with the “why bother” and unnecessary-organics camp.

Seems to me that it’s more like adding root tabs …totally unnecessary. All nutrients can be supplied so easily, cheaply and with control via the water column. I wish my terrestrial plants could be fertilized this way.
Is it actually true that all plants can take up water-column nutrients equally well? I think I have seen evidence that certain types of plants (in particular those that form complex and strong root systems like crypts, lilies, or swords vs shallowly-rooting stem plants and ferns) do much better when provided with root fertilization (via tabs or preferably a rich substrate) in combination with water column nutrients.
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 04:56 PM
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Is it actually true that all plants can take up water-column nutrients equally well?

It is actually debatable. And the question has been debated many times on here. A quick search will show you those debates.
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-26-2019, 08:02 PM
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Is it actually true that all plants can take up water-column nutrients equally well? I think I have seen evidence that certain types of plants (in particular those that form complex and strong root systems like crypts, lilies, or swords vs shallowly-rooting stem plants and ferns) do much better when provided with root fertilization (via tabs or preferably a rich substrate) in combination with water column nutrients.
Nope: it's been shown otherwise.
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