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soil as a substrate

1088 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  danakin
i have been reading ecology of the platned aquarium (which is a great book) and i noticed that the author touted the use of normal garden or potting soil as a substrate underlayer to provide nutrients. comparing analyses in the book to the levels listed on seachem's website, pound for pound, garden soil contains more nutrients. according to the book, it also contains a source of carbon, which, in my tanks with no CO2 injection, would be a big plus. but as i read, soil has a tendency to be disruptive when first submerged. so my question is, has anybody tried using soil? what were the results? is it superior to commercially available substrates like flourite or eco-complete?

also, i have a low light tank that i started out with using bare gravel (bad idea, i know better now). the tank is a few (5) months old and i'm considering switching from bare gravel to a nutritive substrate. what are your thoughs on how to do this?
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I'd suggest using peat moss instead myself.
I have it in variable depths under SMS in most of my tanks.
ive used soil twice i

bofe tanks been running around 6 months so not sure long term here but plants grow like mad i have one mid tech tank with diy co2 (29 gal )

and a no tech natural tank (5gish) looks great too

i just used top soil from my garden with a thin layer of fertalised soil under it just for the hell of it lol . then topped with gravel soo farr i got heavy leaching of tannis in the first 32 days after a water changed almost stopped completely after that .
I have to echo frasertheking on this one. You can use ordinary soil if you really want, but you are likely to run in to leachate of one compound or another. As with fraser, I had a ton of tannins released, and in the end the soil really wasn't worth the hassle. I have since switched to fertilized sand, and am about to make the jump to EcoComplete in a few weeks.

Due to the fact that I haven't stuck with it long enough to see what the plants do, I can't give a firm answer on if it is as good as commercial products, but I can say that the commercial products are purpose-engineered and therefore will save you time, worry and hassle (which to me are worth it)
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