Considering Semi-Overhaul, need some info

DGalt

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So I've had a planted tank for about a year now and it's gone through several stages and several overhauls. I'm actually at a point right now where I'm starting to like the way the tank looks, but I'm considering making a few (majorish) changes.

The tank is 15 gallons. I have 2x 13W CFL spiral bulbs as the light source (photoperiod right now is 8 hours). I have a pressurized CO2 system as well, but I'm not dosing ferts. After getting tired of algae issues with a higher light set up I decided to decrease the lighting and go with a moss / low light (i.e. anubias petite and some dwarf clover) setup.

Both the moss and the anubias and doing wonderfully; the clover is starting to grow, but it is amazingly slow.

Which brings me to what I'm considering doing. My substrate is currently Schultz Aquatic Soil (about 1.5") underneath a layer of just regular natural colored gravel I got from Walmart. Unfortunately when I started this little endeavor a year ago I didn't do much research, and I've been wanting to switch to a dark substrate for about 6 months now but just haven't brought myself to doing it.

So that's the first thing: replace the substrate. I was thinking about doing something with the Earthworm Castings and Black flourite sand (still not certain on the particulars there).

Now, I would like to try a different ground cover. I think the clover is going to end up being too tall for my purposes (even the submerged growth gets to be about 1" tall, which is almost as big as my anubias petite). Also, I can only imagine how long it's going to take the stuff to actually fill in at the rate it's going at.

So I was considering glosso. The thing is, I don't want to up my lighting past 2WPG. I'm still having some issues with BBA at my current light level (which I think I've solved, I was getting it on some of the driftwood that was pretty much directly under the lamps, about 1" away from the bulb. Hopefully the issue is now solved), and I really don't want to get into the mess I had 6-8 months ago. I know I've read that glosso can be grown at lower light levels if it's given the right conditions.

So yeah...thoughts? Is this do-able? Any suggestions on how to make the process easier for myself?

thanks :D
 

Philosophos

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Glosso can be done in low light. Compressed CO2 is good, but I'd recommend ferts as well. Worm castings burn out after a few months, commercial substrates tend to last longer.

-Philosophos
 

DGalt

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i'm assuming i'm going to need to add ferts once I plant the glosso. i'm not right now because, from my understanding, moss / anubias don't need much in terms of ferts and I didn't want to overload the system with excessive ferts (creating the circumstances algae loves). since glosso actually grows at a decent rate i'm assuming it's going to need a constant supply of nutrients

from the bit of reading i've done (including some posts by Tom), I was under the impression that castings would last longer than that.
 

Philosophos

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They may last up to a year, I've heard varying reports. I've always liked commercial substrates; they're relatively sterile, long lasting, and not overly expensive compared to the rest of the tank.

-Philosophos
 

Philosophos

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As far as cost effective goes, eco-complete and fluorite would be the cheaper two.

-Philosophos
 

VaughnH

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If you want a substrate loaded with nutrients, ADA Aquasoil is the one to buy. Or, you can make a mineralized topsoil substrate. Eco Complete and Fluorite are not loaded with usable nutrients.
 

Philosophos

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No usable nutrients in eco-complete? Is the listed nutrient information on the front of the bag all unavailable to plants or just suspended in the slurry it's packed in?

-Philosophos
 

Tom Barr

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Philosophos;37079 said:
No usable nutrients in eco-complete? Is the listed nutrient information on the front of the bag all unavailable to plants or just suspended in the slurry it's packed in?

-Philosophos

Yep.

SiO2 is called glass, but hardly a source of O2 for us.
Under reducing conditions, flourite and EC might have some iron bioavailable.


Same type of deal, and the same BS is used to hock Touramaline in Asia(where they use it for every and anything they think they can market it for, including ADA)

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Philosophos

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There is no emoticon to express the string of profanity spewing out of me right now. But I'll try, here it goes: :mad:

Nah, just doesn't cut it.

I thought the list was of bioavailable nutrients. You wouldn't happen to know of a list stating what form this stuff is actually in, would you? I'm about ready to demand my money back from caribsea. I've got 6 bags of the crap in my 125 gal back home, 20 in a tank here, and I just bought some more for small projects.

On a similar note, are there any root tabs worth while? I wouldn't mind having some back-up nutrients in my substrate.

-Philosophos
 

VaughnH

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Just because Eco Complete isn't like ADA Aquasoil doesn't mean it isn't a good substrate. Nothing is like ADA Aquasoil. But, many, many very good looking aquariums were made before ADA Aquasoil was available, and Eco Complete was used for some of them.
 

Philosophos

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Yes, i do appreciate the granules being of varied sizes and just the right consistency. Still, it feels like paying for a placebo suppository. I would've paid a few dollars more for the nutrients.

-Philosophos