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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning on starting a new planted tank by January and redoing a current one and had a couple questions about putting together a substrate.

Tanks are 20 gallon long and 29 gallon. One will be low light (35W fluorescents) and the other high light (65W + 65W for 4hrs PCFs). Eheim classic filters and CO2 injection). Tetras, dwarf cichlids, and kuhlis will be fish species. Maybe a rainbow shark in the 29 gallon.

Now, my questions have to do with how to fertilize the substrate. I have a 5 gallon bucket of aquariumplants.com substrate as the main gravel (inert? probably). I also have earthworm castings that I am going to mix in beneath the top layer.

  1. According to Steve, http://home.infinet.net/teban/substrat.htm, there are 6 macro-nutrients used in large amounts, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K). What will the earthworm castings contribute as far as these go?
  2. How do you add other dry ferts to the substrate? If I ordered from aquariumfertilizer.com would I be able to add the ferts to substrate by mixing with clay and then into bottom/middle substrate levels?
  3. From what I've gathered I could do the gravel, ewc, and some dry ferts mixed in clay such as potassium sulfate, dolomite, a phosphate, and maybe a trace mix. Would this be okay?


Thanks,

cwb141
 

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Don't over complicate this. Just use the worm castings under the SMS, and you have a good substrate. I would mineralize the worm castings first, but just to prevent making the house smell like a swamp. You can bake them in the oven to do that.

Use the fertilizer chemicals for dosing the water, following the method in the fertilizing sticky. You won't need much, with the fertile substrate, but some will be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don't over complicate this. Just use the worm castings under the SMS, and you have a good substrate. I would mineralize the worm castings first, but just to prevent making the house smell like a swamp. You can bake them in the oven to do that.

Use the fertilizer chemicals for dosing the water, following the method in the fertilizing sticky. You won't need much, with the fertile substrate, but some will be helpful.
That's what I'm going to do. I have fert tabs if i notice any deficiencies in the substrate.
 

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Osmocote is great but the '+' version has copper so dont add any inverts if you go with that. also, a rainbow shark is too big for a 29 unless you have a 55 or bigger to put him in later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Osmocote is great but the '+' version has copper so dont add any inverts if you go with that. also, a rainbow shark is too big for a 29 unless you have a 55 or bigger to put him in later.
I'm not going to use Osmocote. I've had the shark for over a year and I got it when it was pretty small. I had a 75gal to move it too, but sold that. When it gets bigger I plan on trading it in at a LFS. It's perfect behaviorally though, so I'll be sad when I do.
 
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