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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm hopping on the "brand new" soil substrate bandwagon. I broke down my 55, again, mainly because the white sand I had for substrate was giving me a headache and making it impossible to take a decent picture of it with my crap camera. I used Miracle-Gro Organic Choice, which seems to be fairly popular with the El Natural folks. I didn't mineralize it, choosing more of a Walstad approach but with the use of CO2 since I have it available already. I capped it with Black Diamond blasting grit, since the Black Beauty that I used to use seems to no longer be available locally. The Black Diamond is sharp, but very pleasant to work with and plant in. So anyway, here is my newly reshaped, rescaped, experiment tank...



The plant species are:
Hygrophilia difformis
Utricularia foliosa (Weaver Lake, Springfield, NY)
Echinodorus barthii
Zosterella dubia (Canadarago Lake, Richfield Springs, NY)
Rotala colorata
Vallisnera sp. (like mini americana) (East Canada Creek, Oppenheim, NY)
Hygrophilia corymbosa v. "angustifolia"
Vallisnera americana (Canadarago Lake, Richfield Springs, NY)
Cryptocoryne wendtii v. "bronze"
Riccia fluitans
Blyxa japonica
Cryptocoryne lutea
Ludwigia palustris (Goey Pond, Milford, NY)

Tanks Stats:
Two 2x ODNO Phillips 6500K T8s
Two 2x ODNO GE Sunlight 5000K T8s
Marineland Magnum 350
Red Sea Paintball CO2 System

No dosing currently, will start dosing traces/K if evidence arises for a need.
 

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Looks like your off to a good start. Is the riccia on the flat pieces of stone? metal? It's kinda hard to see in the pic.
 

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I have had bad luck mixing el natural with the high tech method, Hope fully you will due better. It seems like there is a middle ground with the two that can't be found. I think if we keep experimenting like this we will discover that method, Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The riccia is on thin pieces of shale, attached with shower poof netting and fishing line. It's already starting to peak out through the holes two days later, so it shouldn't be long before the netting disappears. My utricularia foliosa has put on about an inch and a half in two days. If this is due to the substrate change or if it is just the plant's nature is beyond me.

chagovatoloco, it really doesn't seem all that different to me from using aquasoil. Amazonia is essentially organic soil with peat pressed and fired into a granular form. It seems to me that similar things take place with it and an organic potting soil, you just have to segregate potting soil from the water column due to its buoyancy. AaronT found a need to dose K with his mineralized soil, much like ADA suggests with their aquasoil.

Forty-eight hours and so far no adverse effects seen in the fish (guppies). Water clarity is still good, albeit a touch cloudier than yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A week after planting, and here is the result. The riccia is filling nicely, as is the wisteria. Everything else is growing well, just not exceptionally fast. I added more blyxa, it was starting to melt in another tank. I also replaced the ludwigia palustris with some bacopa monieri. The rotala colorata was putting on some vivid pink foliage, but after a water change yesterday the new growth has turned green. I am dosing some flourish iron and KCl with my water changes, apparently I didn't dose quite enough iron. At 6 days old the tank was starting to farm some green water, so I did a big change, about 90% to reset. Here she is a week later.

 

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looking good - 'not growing exceptionally fast' is a good thing to me :)

keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I like insanely fast growth, trimming really isn't a problem for me. I'll probably update weekly for a bit as things fill in. I'd really like to get some glosso to fill in some of the foreground, but it involves buying it retail which is always a drag.
 

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I used Miracle-Gro Organic Choice, which seems to be fairly popular with the El Natural folks.
This is encouraging. I saw this in the stores but was not sure if it would be 'safe'. This is good to know.

but it involves buying it retail which is always a drag.
El Exorcisto, where? What is your favorite local fish store to get stuff from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
On the rare occasion I fall into the local petsmart within a few days of a plant shipment, they occasionally get glosso as a random potted plant. Otherwise I'll be ordering it through aquabotanic or aquaspot. Probably aquaspot since I have had good experiences with them and I don't like how aquabotanic's owner sounded, piping off at AaronT in his mineralized soil thread. Someone that anal who has such an inability to realize their point is lost doesn't seem like someone I want to be handing money over to.
 

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That is interesting. I will have to take a closer look at what plants are in Petsmart. I am so used to thinking that what they have as aquatic plants - NOT actually being aquatic plants. Maybe they are. I typically find the staff at Petsmart as being very polite and trying very hard to be helpful. But I usually do not expect them to really know a lot about planted aquariums.

I like the idea and feeling of getting plants from fellow hobbyists and friends. The fact that I got my Melon Sword from a friend on APC makes it seem that much more special. And the Hemianthus Micranthemoides that I got from Bert H. thrills me that I finally got it to grow (although it took forever to catch on!).

The finer points about Aaron T's thread I missed. But I understand the feeling you expressed.
Just keep in mind that this wonderful hobby that we enjoy attracts some very... searching for right word (eccentric? particular?) people. I find that the more advanced people are similar in personalities to scientists in that they may be excellent at what they do, but may not necessarily be the best 'people person' personalities or team players. I may be completely off base with that. But Paul from Union Aquarium basically let me know what local clubs were like 50 years ago. He made me laugh. 50 years ago, but what he told me could be very true today also.

Let me know how it goes with your next shipment of plants. You may want to try to contact Urkevitz for any plants that you may want. He may have some locally.

What state is Aqua Spot in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Aquaspot is out of Singapore, and the last two shipments I've received have been nothing short of spectacular. Their inventory is immense, with just about everything the average hobbyist would want. It'll be a month or so before I can get around to placing an order. Let me know if you're up for splitting shipping and going in on a batch for your 75.
 

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I've ben surprised to see pots of glosso and HC at Petsmart in the past.

Then they also still have the Mondo grass and Purple Hedge.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update:

I got some sunset hygro and HM from Jimbo205 along with two pairs of endlers and about 20 wild-form neocaridina in a swap. The tank is doing fabulous, and the substrate has apparently stopped leeching nutrients into the water column, evidenced by my utricularia foliosa ceasing much of any growth. Here's the tank, about two weeks in.





Is it normal for Vallisnera Americana to flower underwater, or for Blyxa Japonica to turn red? I've never seen red blyxa in pics, but I may have just not looked at enough of them. behind the HM is what I think might by Eriocaulon Aquaticum, but I need to let it stabilize and grow out to be certain.
 

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Aquarium looks fantastic.

Is 'Vallisnera americana' the plant in the middle of the tank or one of the plants on the far right in the back?
 

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I am planning to do something similar to what you are doing. For I started with the El Natural style and found the plants I like won't grow well without injected Co2. Thus soon adding diy Co2.

zer0zax used Organic potting mix and everything is growing well in his tank.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/journals/56524-50gal-ugly-tank-17.html

Did you get the Organic potting mix or all purpose mix?
 
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