Aerating My Soil Using Hydrogen Peroxide

kizwan

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Aug 17, 2019
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Hello,

I want to reuse my old substrate. This is basically full rescaping in a year old tank. However, the new stem plants failed to developed roots or even if it grow roots it is unhealthy with dark color. I think the substrate become anaerobic because there's bubble coming out of it when disturbed. The soil is not compacting & only around 1.5 inches deep. So the question is can I aerate the soil using hydrogen peroxide to oxigenate it?
 

easternlethal

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You'll need some way to move water through the substrate all the time to oxygenate it properly, which is what a gravel filter / plenum does. Otherwise the anaerobic bacteria will start to grow again. Alternatively you can reduce the leval of soil so that its thin enough not to go anaerobic. Pls there's a third solution which I'll describe below.

Actually the perceived problem with anaerobic activity in the substrate is not the activity itself but toxic hydrogen sulfide being released, and also the concern that anaerobic conditions can pull nitrates out of the water - which has made soil unpopular with scapers, despite the many beneficial processes it provides. There's some research which suggests that H2S support some biological processes which benefit plants and inverts.

If you still want to have these processes but are concerned about sulfides then you can just cover the soil with a thick layer of sand, which will slow the passage of gasses enough to allow them to react with more oxygen rich layers on their way out into something more harmless (sulphur dioxide).

This way you can have the best of both worlds.

By the way submersed plant roots do not mind anaerobic conditions. If you're not getting good root growth is probably something else.
 
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kizwan

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Aug 17, 2019
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Thank you for clearing that up. I think I may misunderstand when reading about anaerobic condition in the soil & H2S. That's make a lot of sense because in my other tank which have ticker soil, plants there did not have root growth issue.

Everything are the same, the lighting, the substrate, the type of plants & my fertilization regime. This puzzled me because I was successfully grow the same plants in the same tank before for more than a year.

My first suspect was fertilization but even after I changed my dosing schedule & dosage, I don't see any improvement. Right now, what I'm seeing are the old leaves are damaged, like necrosis maybe. I thought the old leaves damaged like that because the root is not growing. Also the new leaves show sign of iron deficiency, light green color with dark vein. I'm using same ferts too, I don't understand why iron deficiency. Can lighting cause these symptoms that I'm seeing? I'm using same lighting but maybe the intensity may have reduced?
 

kizwan

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Aug 17, 2019
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My tank is recovering. It is indeed the soil. I found an old thread where the thread starter have same problem. Tom Barr suggested to deep vacuum the gravel. I did more than that. I scoop the soil & dump in a bucket with dechlorinated water. Then I scoop again using the fish net & put back in the tank. Now all plants are growing well.

The problem was mulm/detritus in the soil causing anaerobic condition. Tom Barr mentioned about reducing condition of the soil - lack of organic carbon eating bacteria because lack of oxygen in the soil. With rotting plants / dead roots, the amount of organic matter increasing. So it progressively become worst. Plants will never recover if this continue.