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Discussion Starter #1
how often do you put ferts into the substrate? i am not using gravel or any of the other gravel type products. i am currently running about 2 inches of sand on top of about 1 inch of basic potting soil. been up for 3 months and only had one algae war.

which type of ferts do you guys prefer? is there a time for one and not the other?

thanks
 

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I think the only fert I would definitely add would be some iron to sand.
Other than that one, I think you can be open about it.
The water column will take precendence first for uptake, if you limit the water column, then the plants will use the substrate.

So you can grow plants fine in inert substrates if the water column is rich in nutrients.

Generally a good substrate depends on your habits and goals.
Personally with your sub, I'd go non CO2 and not do water changes etc.

You can enrich your substrate after about 9-12 months with water and soil slurry "ice cubes". Simply make the slurry and then place in the freezer in an ice cube tray.

Push these deep into the substrate.

Flourish tabs are popular also.

Over all, many use Flourite, onyx sand or florabase Eco complete or the cheaper Turface.

These substrates do not require any enrichment for non CO2 or CO2 methods generally, some folks that limit the water column will need peroidic replacements added.

It's generally easier to add things to the water at a known rate
But having both locations supplied is a good back up plan also.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i have heard this before. why should i not use co2 with a sand/soil mixture? i am running about 3.2 wpg. are the bacteria in the soil making co2?
 

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Because there is less cycling between the organic fraction in the dirt in a CO2 enriched tank.
Less light /Non CO2 methods go slower and allow the time needed for these cycles to occur.

Adding CO2 and/or more light causes things to go faster than the bacteria and plants can cycle waste/decaying organic material.

Therefore, frequent water changes and dosing in inorganic forms is needed more and more in CO2 enriched tanks.

Due to increased growth rates of the plants, using soil and uprooting can be a messy experience to say the least. It makes things tough when replanting often and can pull up too much organic matter that can foul the water column.

Bacteria every where are making CO2. The soil in an anaerobic environment are not going to make enough CO2, actually they will make very little CO2 as fas a rate. Decomposing the OM in the soil is slow process.

Fish also produce CO2 and use O2. Do not rely on soil to make up for CO2 enrichment with gas or any substrate.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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