Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,116 Posts
I don't have an opinion on most of the ingredients but I do know that a lot of available Calcium really promotes the plant growth.

One thing about an engineered substrate like that would be to try to make it with a tendency to hold the nutrients more than to release them in the water. I guess CEC is what needs to be tweaked just right. If we look at the ADA system using common sense that is exactly what they do - the liquid fertilizers are added to the water but are meant to feed the plants through the roots. They are not meant to float free in the water and they are not added in ungodly amounts (so to always provide a great environment for the algae). The properties of the substrate really make a difference if one uses it as intended.

Please don't give up on that project. I'd like to see more and more reasonable ideas/implementations like this one. So we all get out from the rut we have bogged in this hobby for a long time.

--Nikolay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,116 Posts
Someting about Calcium in the substrate that is in a form that's very useful to the plants:

Here's a picture of a dolomitic kind of material - meaning it has Ca and Mg:


I've said that a few times before - I had a tank with a layer of "chat". This is a gravel used for underlayment of new asphalt roads. I guess it compacts well and it is cheap. It's light grey in color. I got it 10 years ago when I knew little about using CO2. I ran a lot of CO2 and the water in my brand new tank became milky overnight. You could see through it but it was opalescent. Also a thick bubbly film developed on the surface.

While trying to fight that film I kept the tank running with about 4 wpg of light. Upon removal of the film with newspapers and scooping it out it would return in about 10 minutes. During this period (about 4 weeks) I saw astonishing growth on plants that had roots (swords) but also on Rotala. After a month in this 55 gallon tank I took so much plant cuttings to the LFS that they gave me $40 cash (and you know how stingy all LFS owners are).

The tank was brand new. There was nothing very useful in the substrate yet. Supposedly. But the substrate was releasing so much "stuff" under the influence of the CO2 that the water was getting milky and flocculation was forming the thick film on the surface.

Now for the interesting observation: It was not unusual to see a 6 inch leaf at 5 PM on a plant that had no new leaf that same day at 8AM. In a brand new tank, without fertilization of the water, no fish to feed, and with a thick film + heavy opalescense blocking the light.

I fixed the tank substrate (threw it away) and replaced it with Fluorite. For the almost 30 days of the tank's milky life the gravel had become a mass of roots so long and strong that it was impossible to remove the plants without tearing up the roots.

With the Fluorite the amazing growth was gone forever. But hey, I got a "real" planted tank substrate, right? Soon I started dumping dry fertilizers in my water... Now, 10 years later I absolutely hate to see that we are doing the same darn thing.

Since then I tend to believe that it is not only the presense of nutrients that is mandatory. The nutrients also need to be forced into reactions that make them very, very available to the plants. And yes, the milky tank had zero algae. Till later that is - when I dripped fleet enema for P, added spoons of dry powdered "Tree Trunk Remover" for N, "No Salt" table salt substitute for K, and Epsom Salt for Mg...

How does all that have to do with the current discussion?
The "chat" that I used as a substrate and got unbelievable growth is dolomitic. That's the moral of the long story.

And I'd really like to see this new substrate work!

--Nikolay
 
1 - 2 of 2 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