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Regardless of additional benefits that might happen/w the newer type MTS, I have read at least a few post on the original being great so why fix something which is not broken would be my impression.
People very regularly use just PFS for a cap on it also. In fact, they say it works best.
But of course what would you expect the ones who use it to say ?
As long as you know you'll be putting Osmocote+ into it in a year or so because it ran
out of nutrients and just like the idea of MTS in general, I'm sure you will be happy/w it.
I might speculate that others are not willing to co-sign such an extensive list of
substitutions for ingredients which you are proposing. Because following the directions
seems to work better in most cases/w other things as I'm fairly sure it would here.
Pretend I'm talking about someone else and see what you think.
My friend wouldn't follow the directions on how to fertilize his tank.
So now he wants to use MTS instead so he don't need to fertilize the tank.
But he won't follow the directions on how to make MTS either and thinks it will work out better this time...what do you think ?
Pick one of those list of ingredients and follow it. Organic top soil only cost $8 at Loew's.
I haven't read those directions for a long time but I do believe that leaving organics(undecomposed plant matter) inthe soil
causes ammonia to be formed as it deteriorates. The reason they tell you to sift it first.
I know it's a lot of options, but the fewer changes to an ingredient list or additins to it, the closer you will come to the results
they got by making what they did. 1 proven list of ingredients + 1 proven cap material = 1 proven substrate.

· Banned
5,927 Posts
I recently heard a couple of people mention that less than 1.5" of cap is more
prone to having issues/w soil getting into the water and related problems.
I would like to say that all I use is fine gravel. As long as I eventually may need to use root tabs(never "needed" but always helpful as plants get nutrients both ways if planted of course) then why not just use them from the start and skip the fancy sub.
But one tank has a Flourite cap on the gravel but just because it was there in the closet. I never have wanted a fast growing tank anyway for lack of wanting o be locked into daily maintenance, or even weekly except for the Excel that I do use daily.
But also I plan on dopping that after that tank is established well. Just re-did the sub. Bought Laterite and(should I say this is part of the reason for my reply to your question?) didn't read the directions well enough. Just thought well if some is good then more is better. Burnt up all my plants/w iron as in way too much. So put in
plain fine gravel(see link) and had the rest of the Flourite that I had mixed the Laterite/w left over so used that on top.
But the other tank has Eco-Complete/w Laterite under it and it hasn't burnt the plants(yet). My tanks are off the beaten path to most anyway so don't be shocked at them.
I consider them both to be experimental or "work in progress" type as the built in filters and wall coverings are just that.
Don't know what Azomite is but Aragonite is high in Ph as far as I know(think).
If you add one extra ingredient, at east you will know what is causing a problem if it happens but how can you if multiple add ins are used.
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