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Hey John,

I think the Diamond Black is definitely promising as an additive to substrate builds... I received Vladimir's translated text but I must do some editing before it is publish-worthy! :lol:

Wheeler said:
Hey Erik!!

Yeah, we chatted about Diamond Black and other substrate stuff which prompted me to look more deeply at the whole situation-- I stumbled on it while looking for worm castings at a HP store like the day after. It's exactly the same stuff as Ferti-Plant. I'm just glad that you told me about it or I would've passed it right up :)

Pyrosol which you also mentioned looks promising as a substitute for Laterite. I'll get around to giving that a shot one day...

I actually meant to give you credit for the DB stuff, but I forgot. :oops:

Did you get the Vladimir Simoes method translation from Enrico? He mentioned that you were also asking for it.
 

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toshi said:
Hey John,

I think the Diamond Black is definitely promising as an additive to substrate builds... I received Vladimir's translated text but I must do some editing before it is publish-worthy! :lol:

Yeah, I heard that. I got a good chuckle when I recieved it:)
 

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Call around the local gravel pits, landscape rock supply or sandblasting places.

If you want it "cheap" you'll have to do the work locally. Even if you find it cheap on the net, shipping will kill you.

Add the time etc looking for it, driving to get it etc, screw it, just ask the LFS or live with Eco complete or Black turface(which does look pretty good really).

One thing I got when I got the lignite was some humic enriched barley straw pellets.

A little cannot hurt, runs about 4$ lb but last awhile(maybe 3-6 months of effective use).

The reason I have for Lignite, soaking it in KNO3/KH2PO4 etc is to try and have an alternative source of nutrients should someone:

1# Forget to dose the water column, a common issue and everyone's done it.

2# Folks wanting less in the water column/trying different methods/leaner tanks.

3# Alternate non CO2 tanks will also benefit, along with low light tanks.

4# At some point many of these newer plants may not really be all that suitable for full time submersion so a special substrate may help them, but also will not harm the normal plants

5# Have it be somewhat fool proof if they cannot get their water column dosing right(most often they cannot get the CO2 correct). Many substrates don't have enough macro nutrients in a slow release form or they have too much NH4(soil).

There are solutions for many of these issues, but finding a super substrate and pushing the limits of what improves plant health is interesting at least to me.

Using high light and fast growers, you can spot issues and discern differences faster than you can with slow growers/low light even though the general upkeep and ease of plant keeping is easier at lower lighting.

I've kept high light tanks(over 5w/gal) for about a decade now.
By looking at the picky plants, the high light situations, you can better optimize the low light tanks using CO2/non CO2 methods.

SW substrates are an entirely different approach and set of issues.

Barley straw and extract never did anything for me in the past in the water column, (Steve got a bag of it and I tried the liquid as did he later and reported about the same thing), what the heck, may as well try the substrate now:)

It's cheap and I know a pond owner I can try it on it I don't like it. I'm not really after the algae killing aspects but want to see if it improves plant growth=> thereby helping reduce algae through that method rather than directly influencing algae and they pellets are a nicer form than bales and they are enriched with humic acids.

So my substrate mix:
Flourite in tank one
Eco Complete in the other

A base of all the mulm from the orignal tank
Barley straw pellets 2 handfuls per 10 gal
Lignite(Diamond black) 1/2" layer
A tad of peat.
Cap with the Flourite or Ecocomplete.

I don't think there's a big difference between the lignite/barely vs the peat alone, but it's relatively cheap and fun to try it out.
But setting up a control to compare it to is not something I care to do and would require a lot of work to do well.

Beyond that, subtle differences are very tough to say much about.

This is why I want to add NO3/NH4 to a substrate, these are big players, Fe etc are small players but still important. I'm after the big fish first.
I may never find much definitive differences with subtle interactions.

Like planted tanks at low light, relationships are tougher to see, but revisiting those lower lighted set ups with experience in high light systems really makes the low light tanks(CO2 or non CO2) run wonderfully and are very satifying.

I'm reviewing some humic chemistry and there's a book on the subject, the Chemistry of Humic waters in aquatic ecosystems.
There's another book with a similar title and blue cover I've read parts of in the past.

When using these, we must be aware of CO2 and the humic's effects on that part(generally people are fooled and add too little CO2) and the effects on the other nutrients.

Adding multiple consituents may allow for different subsets of nutrients to be available ina good usable form. Sort of a "synergistic" effect.

Some long term and absorption from Lignite, Some potential clarifying/organic matter from the straw, reductive power of peat/lignite in a new set up, slow supply of organic matter for the bacteria=> faster/more efficient waste/nutrient cycling, mulm for the material that's being broken down and a culture of living healthy bacteria.

Healthy plant roots and plants will add more O2 and amp the bacteria aerobes also. If you feel you are wasting the Fe from dosing, the lowest O2 levels in your tank will be right when the lights come on, the best time would be about 2 hours before the lights come to dose traces in terms of oxidation/high light losses.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Wow. Great thread, learned a lot.

Tom, any follow-ups about your experiments with the liginite substrate mix? Preference of peat vs. liginite? Other important issues you think apply...

*EDIT* Take notice this is a revived thread about a year old.
 

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Would anyone see a problem using a Diamond Black & blasting grit/ laterite substrate under Eco complete African substrate mix? I have kept africans for years and have started thinking about trying some plants with them. I would like my african tank to have a sand substrate for ease of maintenance. It will be a lower light 2 wpg? lightly planted non co2 tank. I am wondering what effect the mixing/ uprooting of the digging habits of the fish would have as the Diamond Black comes to the surface. Any PH issues or other problems with it being mixed with the argonite in the Eco mix?
 

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Lignite is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat. It contains more moisture than coal but, when dried, it crumbles easily. It is found in the United States, Canada, Greece and Germany where it is generally used as a fuel for generating electricity. ln Greece, for example, 50% of the electricity comes from lignite power plants. In Germany the lignite is mainly concentrated in the Cologne area where there are believed to be 55 billion tonnes. These deposits are being exploited and generate 25% of all of Germany's electricity.
General geology of Lignite

Lignite: a general description

Lignite seems to be a hedge bet for those that cannot decide between charcoal and peat.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Okay, I can say something about Leonardite(Indian Black brand from general hydroponics) over a longer term. I like it.

The real issues I like it more than other things:

It sinks and stays put, peat is a tad messy even if you use a small amount.
Leonardite last pretty much forever.
Color: it matches Onyx sand perfectly!

The leonardite can be soaked like Activatred carbon(which might not be a bad thing to use either if soaked) with any type of fertilizes.

So if you want to go that route for the initial set up, you could use it like ADA powersand and add "power" to your substrate(for perhaps 1-2 months).

You can also still add peat to leonardite as well.

I add mulm to any and every tank.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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