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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have Flourite in an old tank that's been running for about 9 years and in rather neglected condition for the past 5. I'm about to give the tank a complete makeover and am wondering what I should do to the substrate to prepare for it's new life.

Years of fish poo are in there, so the substrate is very rich with mulm. There is also a bit of BBA and a fair bit of diatoms in the tank now. Seems that I wouldn't want to clean away all of the nutritious mulm, however am I significantly increasing the risk of BBA problems in my new tank if I don't blean the substrate? Should I try a weak bleach solution, then neutralize with dechlorinator?

Also, any suggestions of additional substrate fertilization I can add before I rescape the tank? I'll be dosing the water column, but I'd like to supplement.

Thanks!
Jeremy
 

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Bleach is an oxidizer so it's going to attack the algae, mulm, and bacteria without prejudice so it will kill the good and bad. I would keep a cup full of it untouched (with tank water) for cycling the tank and wash the rest in tap water. That way most of it is clean but you have the cup for a quick cycle.

If it was me I'd go to a local landscaping or orchard supply store and get a bag of sphagnum peat moss (lowers pH), potash (for potassium), and Iron Chelate (Fe) mix them together and put a light dusting on the bottom of the tank before adding the substrate. All together that should be $10-$20 and will last longer than a years worth of root tabs.

- Brad
 

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I have Flourite in an old tank that's been running for about 9 years and in rather neglected condition for the past 5. I'm about to give the tank a complete makeover and am wondering what I should do to the substrate to prepare for it's new life.

Years of fish poo are in there, so the substrate is very rich with mulm. There is also a bit of BBA and a fair bit of diatoms in the tank now. Seems that I wouldn't want to clean away all of the nutritious mulm, however am I significantly increasing the risk of BBA problems in my new tank if I don't blean the substrate? Should I try a weak bleach solution, then neutralize with dechlorinator?

Also, any suggestions of additional substrate fertilization I can add before I rescape the tank? I'll be dosing the water column, but I'd like to supplement.

Thanks!
Jeremy
I used to have BBA on the top layer of Flourite in the front of my tank but, I would suck up only the affected gravel and throw it away. If it's to much gravel to throw away, you could treat just the affected gravel with Hydrogen Peroxide, rinse and reuse. Maybe just lightly gravel vac the remaining flourite. All of this is labor intensive but, new flourite needs alot of rinsing which is labor intensive as well. Old Flourite is really good stuff. I grow crypts very well with dry ferts, no root tabs necessary.

I do like Brad's idea of dusting the bottom with Potash, iron and Peat though. I wish I would have thought of that when I started this tank. In the beginning, I spent alot of money on root tabs and I can't say that it worked any better than my well used Flourite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Brad: Does the peat contribute nutrients, or just lower the pH? Since I'll be injecting CO2, I'll already have to contend with keeping my pH from getting too low. I've read just a little about Tom Barr's technique of using earthworm castings, which has my interest piqued...

Hbosman: Treating only the top layer of gravel does make a lot of sense. I wonder if there will be dormant algae deeper in the substrate? That probably doesn't matter, as I suspect that algae exposure is nearly unavoidable in a planted tank...
 

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Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Brad: Does the peat contribute nutrients, or just lower the pH? Since I'll be injecting CO2, I'll already have to contend with keeping my pH from getting too low. I've read just a little about Tom Barr's technique of using earthworm castings, which has my interest piqued...

Hbosman: Treating only the top layer of gravel does make a lot of sense. I wonder if there will be dormant algae deeper in the substrate? That probably doesn't matter, as I suspect that algae exposure is nearly unavoidable in a planted tank...
Don't be concerned about the pH drop caused by the CO2. My tank and many others here have a daily drop of .5 to 1.0. I run CO2 during lights on and turn it off at during lights out using a timer/pH controller set up. It will not harm your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can KH2PO4 be used in the substrate in lieu of potash? Did a little searching, but not much information. One posted suspected that there may be a risk of potassium overdose as this inorganic form of potassium would immediately be bioavailable...
 

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Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Brad: Does the peat contribute nutrients, or just lower the pH? Since I'll be injecting CO2, I'll already have to contend with keeping my pH from getting too low. I've read just a little about Tom Barr's technique of using earthworm castings, which has my interest piqued...

Hbosman: Treating only the top layer of gravel does make a lot of sense. I wonder if there will be dormant algae deeper in the substrate? That probably doesn't matter, as I suspect that algae exposure is nearly unavoidable in a planted tank...
What I have read over the years is algae spores are in the air, waiting for an opportunity to infest the environment. With balancing co2, ferts, and plant density with the amount of light provided, we hope to not give the ever present algae that opportunity.
 
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