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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi i am new to the Planted Aquarium Concept !
Am from India, Kerala to be exact !
I have got a 42 gallon tank with me, which i intend to develop into an el natural aquarium !

Please forgive me if i sound like a noob (which i am btw.) :D

1)The top soil\garden soil we have here is really sandy, and i don't know if there is enough organic matter in it ! So can i use something like crumbled dried leaves or dried cow dung or a slight amount of NPK fert added to the soil to make it more fertile ?

2)What is the ideal amount of soil to be used ; i mean the height of the garden soil to be used in the tank , like an inch high from the bottom or more ? I do intend to grow a dwarf\small variety of water lilies in my tank !
Also what is the max height of gravel to be used above the soil ?
Does more gravel equate to more good bacteria ? Also does the bacteria also colonize in the soil ?

3)Which one is better a complete el Natural tank or an el Natural tank with plants potted in small trays and under it a UGF filter ?

4)Would El Natural provide enough water flow in the gravel ? I do intend to use a power head for water flow !

5)In your book(i just skimmed through the pages i will read more after my exams, i am a law student by the way) i read about floating plants ! What are their advantages ? Does Salvinia Natans offer the same advantages as duck weeds and water lettuce ?

6)Can i use NPK for lush plant growth and also does using ferts affect fish health ?

7)What kind of lighting does an El Natural tank need ? Are Fluorescent lights ok or do i need to get a fancy aquarium lighting ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You definitely should not add any organic matter to the soil. We go though a lot of trouble to make the top soil mineralized (by forcing fast decomposition of organic matter before adding it to the aquarium). Although sandy soils will be poor in nutritions, you'll create more trouble with organic fertilizers
Ok
So what should i do ? just use the soil or should i add anything else ? forget the ferts coz aquarium ferts are hard to come by here !
What about compost or decaying leaves ? i mean partially decaying leaves or Ash (from burned wood) or even saw dust (its basically powdered wood)
 
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