Aquatic Plant Central - View Single Post - How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:11 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Default Re: How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot

Originally Posted by BTLee View Post
Dear Aaron,

Thanks for the prompt response and the good direction.

I suppose the reason for assumming the use laterite only without top soil is due to my misunderstanding of the term and nature 'top soil'.

Although 'Gardening Soil' is easily availiable in garden supplies shops ( they cost about US$1/= for each 5 liter bag ), in our local community, garden supplies outlet are typically small businesses and the use of local language is the norm.
As such, I was unsure if the soil typically used for gardening is the right 'top soil' we should be using.
Another concern is the uncertainty of foreign matter and thus possible toxicity in such gardening soil.
( in fact, some of the hobbyist has already statred their experiment with 100% laterite recently, hahaha )
One other reason that lead us to assume use of 100% laterite is because we read that laterite is rich in Iron, an important mineral that is hard to obtain on a DIY basis.

Anyway, your latest response has cleared up this matter, thanks again.

Since we are on the subject of substrate, may I ask for your comment for my following idea :-

I have a 5 ft tank that has a foot print of 150 cm X 60 cm.
In our local community ADA soil has been a highly recommended choice of substrate.
However considering the size of my tank and the cost of the ADA soil, I reckon I will need about 80 litre of it and it will cost me around US$250/= for the ADA soil alone.
I am wondering if its worth the trouble if I were to use say a mixture of laterite ( this should provide a long term source of Iron ) and sand for the bottom layer of substrate ( especially the back portion to build up height ).
Then, to minimise clouding of water during future replanting / maintenance work, top up this bottom layer with a layer ( say 2.5 cm ) of clean sand.
Then, for good measure, lay a thin layer ( say 2.5 cm ) of ADA soil on top of this layer of sand.
Oh, I also hear that there is this '5 Elements' sort of chemical from ADA that is typically laid at the bottom of the substrate to give them long term benefit.
I will consider using them as well.

Again, in the above proposal, do you think it is necessary to mix mineralized top soil to the said laterite bottom layer?

Your comment is highly appreciated.


BT Lee
People have been using laterite as a low substrate for decades. It does help, but you will still need to dose the water column with macronutrients. If you choose to use mineralized topsoil in addition to the laterite the need for dosing lessens dramatically. Topsoil is the top fertile layer of soil.
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