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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi. This is my first post here. I have been lurking on Aquaria Central and The Barr Report as well as old Krib articles and everything I can get my hands on. I am just about to start loading up my 125 which will be an Amazon tank with high lights and CO2. I have 100 lbs of Turface MVP Gray and am seriously considering options for adding something to it. At this point I am considering:
1. Peat- (Where can I find "Ground Peat"?) Some say use the stuff from Lowe's/HD, other's say don't do it. I have looked hard at Laguna Peat Granules http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=10804 as a layer under the Turface.
2. Zeolite-I think the idea of absorbing nutrients is a good one. It will/should allow access to plant roots later. I have found a good deal for 25 lbs for $48.00. Tom Barr has suggested this to me in a post on his site.
3. Diamond Black Leonardite-Seems like the advantages of peat, but heavier, concentrated and longer lasting.
4. Laterite- Because I'm old school??

I'm thinking the Turface + Peat OR Turface + Peat + Zeolite OR Turface + Peat + Laterite OR Turface + Diamond Black

My good friend/Marine Biologist/LFS owner says don't worry about it and just use the Turface, but he wanted me to spend $300 on Eco Complete... Anyway, thanks for any replies. I'm glad to have finally registered here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Tremendous response. That is EXACTLY the information I was looking for. Thank you sooo much! I have lots of fish experience and am an avid (ground) gardener and am excited to do the planted tank thing correctly. I have always admired Mr. Amano's tanks in his books (before widespread Internet happened) and am definite on doing things correctly. The Internet has really expanded the knowledge base on aquariums, but opinions are wildly varying. You obviously know what you are doing. Tom Barr amazes me with his knowledge as well.

I got the Turface MVP Grey from a Lesco/John Deere dealer in Lexington. I got the store's contact info from the Lesco website. They had to order it for me. Apparently they had a supply in Massachusetts and in Maryland. The guy there was super helpful and it was transferred from store to store. It took less than a week to get here and was $18.00 per bag. They did not charge me for shipping. The specifics for what product to get were actually sent to me by the SMS folks as they have quit making SMS gray. This was their email:

Hi Mr. Ross,
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your interest in Pro's Choice
products.

Pro's Choice Select - Charcoal is being discontinued for business reasons,
and it is no longer being produced.

As we do not have a similar product to recommend, we must refer you to a
comparable product: Turface Pro League Gray which is sold by the bag. LESCO
should carry this product, but if not, please go to this website for more
information:

www.profileproducts.com

Thank you,

Paula [/FONT]

The trick with not washing the Turface is well done. I put a little in a 10 gallon to test it and rinsed the heck out of it! In fact, I rinsed some of the black of of it, it would appear LOL. I would have messed that up for sure. I am currently using Seachem Flourish in my other tank, and have not purchased dry ferts/PMDDs yet. It would be very helpful to take advantage of your offer for a starter kit. :) I was wondering what it would take to "charge up" the substrate (which is whyI was thinking about using the zeolite) and your response has completely answered my question. Looks like I will go buy a bag of peat and get going! I just received 18 pounds of virgin cork bark flats and went out last weekend wood hunting (found the most beautiful stumps/roots). I am going to create the "bones" of the aquascape this weekend. I was thinking about growing some emersed HC as per Mr. Barr. I wonder how that would interact with your suggestions? Can I grow the HC in the charged substrate, or would there be too much ferts?

Again, thanks so much for your help. I think I can proceed with some confidence now. You have eliminated much trepidation and I can pull the trigger now, I believe.
 
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