Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if a lighter density soil cap would be easier on plant roots. I tried pea gravel before and that was a nightmare! All of the roots rotted and plants floated to the top. I am using coarse sand now and it fits the bill perfectly, but if I was to use a material that was the same size as course sand but lighter, just enough to keep the soil from mixing, would it let the soil breathe a little better?

I have a crazy idea in my head (They're All crazy:tinfoil3:) to smash lava rock into the same size as my coarse sand. The weight should be significantly reduced, but the surface (pore) area would be increased by a lot. All of the natural water bodies I see in nature have very light silt particles on top, but of course this would be a catastrophe in the aquarium. I guess that is another reason people use a soil cap to keep soil down (besides preventing light/oxidation).

Any thoughts on this? Advantages/Disadvantages? Feel free to share experiences and soil cap preferences, sands/gravels/densities....
 

· Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What color is the Quick Crete sand? That is dirt cheap! If it is dark in color than it might just save me from wasting an hour of my life hammering lava. I never thought of using that! If it is used for fortifying concrete than I doubt anything unpleasant would have been added to it, but you can never go wrong with a bottle test.

Thanks for sharing! The lava I am thinking of using is dark in color and very cheap, used for gas grills. It has no additives and is inert, sinks immediately in water, about twice as heavy as the red or gray pumice. Thinking about what you said though, if it was still to light than I would be better off with a coarse sand material.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Dwalstad, the tank with root rot (10 gallon) did have MTS and was planted with Sagittaria subulata, Amazon swords babies and duckweed. The cheap soil was .75" thick with a .75" thick gravel cap. I should have been more specific though, the pea gravel was actually more like small landscape rocks, a bit bigger than normal pea gravel. No filter was used and no water movement, and lighting was by the single stock fluorescent bulb.

This tank was fine for a month, the Sagittaria spread all over while the swords did not do much. After a month the new growth was more translucent and plants started floating. I don't think the heavy rocks helped at all but it could have just as easily been a lack of light. If plants don't have enough light, will they begin the fermentation process?

My current NPT is a 5 gal hex with a 15W CFL, no filter. Same soil as used before, about 1.25" thick w/ coarse sand cap at 1.5". Running for close to a year.
Plants: 5 Amazons, 1 crypt, java moss and duckweed.
Fish: 1 Otocinclus, 3 shrimp, tons of MTS
This aquarium started out REAL slow, no fast growers, but once the swords rooted in I haven't worried about a thing. Growth is still slow, but 2 swords are about to break the surface and their growth is picking up, I want to grow them as big as possible and emersed.

My posts are always long winded:brick: Is anyone is still awake? Hello.....?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for posting those inventory #'s Mommyeireanne, I will definitely take a look at these!

Thanks for all your help to Diana, my water is VERY soft! PH=6.4, KH=0ppm, GH=10ppm. I have amended the soil with oyster shells and when I got the shrimp I sprinkled a few shells on top of the gravel, but with water this soft I don't know if this is enough. I read the sticky of your water-hardening method, but I don't know what numbers I should aim for! I have never played with the water before so any guidance you can give will be very appreciated! People would kill to have my soft water for discus, but I am always drawn to hard water crypts and nutrient hogging swords. The grass is greener on the other side...:biggrin:
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top