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Do I need a rich substrate if I use the EI

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by bgangler, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. bgangler

    bgangler Junior Poster

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    Dear fellows,
    sorry to bother you with my amateur questions, but reading through the topics I got really confused and the following question appear:
    Do I need to use a rich substrate(with added clay, Earthworms castings and so on) when Im using a water colomn fertilizition I intend to start a new aqua and to try the Estimative Index)? If the water is circulatin through the substrate(in the case plane sand) and Im providing the plants with enough ferts by EI, even the root feeders will benefit of it. So the addition of any substrates of the famous brands or added clay or EC will be not need it?
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Here's the deal:

    Folks carry on and on about "either or" methods.
    This is very short sighted.

    Rather than that idea, think about how plants grow, the various species we keep and what might be the best solution here?

    If demand for nutrients is occurring, then would it not be best to have the nutrients in both locations?

    This way you have covered both locations, adding ferts to the sediment once done is easy and no care is required for a long time, adding ferts to the water column allows the sediment nutrients to last longer.

    Adding water column ferts also provides good locations to leaves and to the plants like Ferns, Anubias, Riccia etc which often do not have any access to the sediment.

    So a combination of both methods is the most forgiving.

    Some have claimed that algae or the potential for mistakes is greater with water column dosing but this has never been shown in plant aquariums, folks have had a lot of issues in the past using sediment based ferts, every bit as much as the water column.

    If you look at both locations objectively, then you find examples where there is no algae with either method, thus the method itself is not the issue, rather, the user and other factors that cause algae.

    I find it curious none of the critics of either method ever seem to know how to grow and induce specific species of algae they claim to know so much about preventing.

    This is where I differed among most hobbyist, I actively cultured the algae and looked at what causes algae, not just correlations and guesses.

    If you want to know why algae grows, then that should be one's focus, likewise, the same is true for plants. But if you do not bother to learn about algae, why it's induced etc, then you really cannot say much about why it grows and you cannot support any claim that one method is better than any other as far as algae goes.

    There's no evidence for it in tropical lakes or aquariums, we see no correlation between water column N and P and algae. We can find plenty of tanks/lakes with algae or not with high and low nutrients.

    So the question while simple, is good.
    I'd suggest doing both, water column + sediment.
    This along with the basics, pruning, water changes, good CO2, lower light intensity, dense planting from the start will help.

    More light is not better.

    CO2 IME is the biggest factor for most folks getting dial in correctly.

    I have preference to ADA AS for a sediment, it looks nice and is uniform.
    However, sand+EC, or delta muds/sandy loams etc all work equally well.

    If later , you decide to go to a non CO2 method, you can do water column with inert sediments or the sediment based, but you can also do a little of both.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    A lot depends on the type of growth you want and the type of tank maintenace you want to do.

    Will you be doing c02 injection? What type/how much lighting will you use?

    Tank size, filtration, etc all are potential factors.

    A rich substrate will make it more forgiving if your water column dosing (EI) is insufficient or you go away, forget, etc.

    Plus, you will get better growth......

    However, many folks (like me) use plain gravel with no issues.

    IMO, a richer substrate is better in general, but again depends on what you want.

    I use flourite in my display tank and like it very well with EI.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. bgangler

    bgangler Junior Poster

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    Thank you guys!
    The things looks so simple, when someone gives you a guideline! This new aqua, that I'm intending to make is about a 100l with CO2 injection, external filter 0,6W/l and Im inrtending to grow Bolbitis, Microsorium, Rotala, Ludugia, Eleoharis and moss. I would definetely go for the combination of the both methods, because it will be more flexible.
    regards
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You really do not need much light or nutrients for this tank, wise choices made thus far, making it easier to manage over time.

    Low light, good plant choices, CO2/Sediment nutrients, water column ferts, etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. Singtoh

    Singtoh Prolific Poster

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    Hello,

    I am new to the forum. I use EI for the water column and things are looking really good, plants are growing well and no algae issues on a well planted long established tank. I was thinking of adding some root tabs to the substrate but all I can find is the tabs for potted house plants(I live in Thailand). Could I use this if I used it very sparingly and pushed it rite to the bottom of the substrate. I have about 4 to 5 inches of just plain gravel as the substrate. Thanks in advance for any advice on this.

    Cheers,

    Singtoh
     
  7. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    There are some brands of root tab available in Thailand: ADA, Ferka, Azoo, Tetra, etc.
    You might already know them.

    I personally wouldn't use those for potted plants. They may work well but I don't know
    if there are harmful ingredients for fish in them or not.

    If I want to go DIY or cheaper route, I will buy empty capsules and put some Osmocote
    or Ferka Aquabase inside before pushing them into the substrate, quite a popular trick ;)
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    If It Ain’t Broke...


    Hi Singtoh,

    Old saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

    Many people have wonderful tanks full of lush, growing, beautiful plants with inert substrates. In my case, a little better than half my tanks are inert gravels and/or sand.

    From another post, you said you have Dwarf Hairgrass, which is one of those plants, I think, benefits from an enriched substrate.

    I know a lot of folks use Osmocoat, I understand that is not available in Thailand, some use Jobe’s Plant Stakes, I tried that with poor results, but that might have been my not doing this correctly. I tend to be wary of fertilizers designed for terrestrial plants.

    Nipat offers a nice solution.;)

    In adding fertilizers to substrates, an option I have had success with is using the formula that Tom Barr gives, http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/5633-earth-worm-casting-nutrient-enriched-sediments-how.html and freezing it breaking it up and placing it into the substrate. I am pretty sure someone has posted this method.

    The formula that Tom Barr gives is much richer than what I had been using, I have been very happy with this mixture. I have tried this with silt, sand, akadama clay (fired and unfired) and an off brand clay kitty litter. Frankly so far, the silt (Home Depot) and the no-name kitty litter (Wal-Mart, I think, it is sold as equivalent to Tidy Cat brand) seem to be the best.;)

    Another option I have used for many years is essentially the same I used a cheap brand, Black Gold potting soil, the ‘Bonsai’ mixture is my favorite, I just don’t find it as readily so I use ‘Desert’ mix or if I wanted a little richer mix the ‘Violet’ mix. Same rule as Tom Barr’s mix, boil, a hard boil for 20 minutes or so, stirring regularly, remove any thing that floats, rinse thoroughly.

    I rather favor ‘beefing’ up the mixtures, less with Tom Barr’s a bit more with Mr. Vladimir Simoes' method and most with my Black Gold method. I add bone meal, vitamin B-1 plus boron, chelated iron, zinc and manganese (Gardeners Choice brand) and a 5-1-1 fish fertilizer (Alaska brand).

    If you want or need a more acidic mix add Sphagnum peat moss to the mixture or layer the peat moss under the substrate mixture.

    Biollante
     
  9. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Osmocote is available here Sotus.co.th :)
    Can be found at most HomePro

    Funny, I've been thinking about what to do if I want to put earthworm castings into
    my gravel (other members in my house will never allow me to use the fridge
    to freeze it). These capsules are always just under my nose.
     
  10. Singtoh

    Singtoh Prolific Poster

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    Wow, thanks for the info everyone. Ya, if it ain't broke don't fix it is what I think I will go with. Thanks Nipat for the links though. Maybe I'll give it a try, but things are looking good so maybe best to leave well enough alone. The weekend market (JakKuJak, mispelled for sure) here is a real rat race, too many people to catch H1N1 from, but during the week it isn't to bad. I'll give those other 2 places a look. Thanks again everyone, I appreciate it.

    Cheers,

    Singtoh
     
  11. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, pushing tab into substrate is too time-consuming. I've stopped doing that
    for maybe 3 months now.

    I'm living in Songkhla. So I've been buying aquarium products by ordering.
    Here are two places I use most (apart from eBay), might be useful if you don't
    want to go to Jatujak.

    SmilePets

    SeaSun aquarium
    This one has many Seachem's products. (The web based ordering system is not
    working though, you have to order by phone—the most reliable way)
     
  12. Singtoh

    Singtoh Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Nipat,

    I purchased my chiller at SeaSun in Jatujak, maybe I'll go out there and have a closer look. When I do go there I kinda get in and get out as quick as possible without checking things out too much. I mix my own ferts. A friend of mine orders the CSM+B from the States or Canada and I just take half of what he gets. I don't believe in Credit or Plastic, so that makes it a bit more difficult for me to order on the internet.. He gets the Nitrates,Potassium and Magnesium here in Thailand, but he hasn't let me know where yet, and I get Fleet Enema at the local Pharmacy. He works on the Rigs and we meet for copious amounts of beer about once a month. I guess i could probably get Epsom salts at the pharmacy as well. Do you happen to know of a place at Jatujak that I can get the above mentioned ingredients(Nitrate,Potassium,Magnesium).I have enough Fleet to last a lifetime. I doubt they would have CSM+B?? Thanks again Nipat, I appreciate it.

    Cheers,

    Singtoh
     
  13. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    I bought Nitrate (KNO3) and Potassium (K2SO4) from a Suksapan store here.
    They sell educational materials, including basic chemicals for labs in schools.
    Here is the branch list Suksapan

    Magnesium can be bought at errr... here is not the west, I doubt you can find
    epsom salt in a normal drugstore. I bought my MgSO4 at a chinese drugstore,
    it's called ‘deeglua’. But there is a confusion, since there are two types of ‘deeglua’,
    one is ‘deeglua farang’ (MgSO4.7H2O) and another is ‘deeglua Thai’ (Na2SO4).
    You need ‘deeglua farang’.

    But as you're in Bangkok, I think you can find it (MgSO4) at a Suksapan store there.
    The Songkhla's branch has much less varieties.

    CSM+B? It's difficult to obtain it here, because in Thailand you have to get a license
    to import chemical fertilizer, the procedure is...well...hard.:mad: Or do some kind
    of smuggling. May be I should try ordering it and ask the seller to label it as
    ‘organic fertilizer’ (this kind of fert is tax-free, no problem for import here):rolleyes: .

    So for (cheap) trace elements, now I'm using this (called Multi Champ here)
    BKG Group.
    And mix it with Fe-DTPA from Wesco
    Their webpage lists only EDTA, it's not up to date. They now have 3 varities of
    Fe (EDTA, EDDHA, DTPA). Seems to work well because my Stargrass now looks
    much better.
     
  14. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    In case you run out of CSM+B and the traces mix I mentioned is too inconvenient.
    Here is where you can find Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus (and non-Plus)
    Atlantis-jj.com:)
     
  15. Singtoh

    Singtoh Prolific Poster

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    Thanks NiPat,

    Just to clarify your forum name. Ni, in Thai is Mr. if I'm not mistaken so you are Mr. Pat?? Just curious because my name is Pat as well. Anyway, i just went down to the local pharmacy and asked him if he had Dee Kleua Fa Rang and he kinda looked at me like I had 12 heads, same as when I bought 5 bottles of Fleet Enema.:D My buddy has a friend hand carry the CSM+B in for him I think, and he also told me when he got the Nitrates at a Chinese place, they were worried he was going to make bombs, but in the end they sold it to him. I'll check out the link you posted, I need magnesium,nitrates and potassium at the moment. Hopefully my buddy gets back and lines me up with more CSM+B, but if not, with the info you have helped me with, I can go with something else. Thanks a bunch NiPat, you are a real help. Glad to be talking with a fellow aquarist in Thailand that knows where to get things.

    Cheers,:)

    Singtoh
     
  16. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    No, I'm Mr. Nipat:D

    Cheers:)
     
  17. Singtoh

    Singtoh Prolific Poster

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    Ok Sorry Mr. Nipat. I just looked at the link for Suksapan and there is a branch about 10 min. away from where i live. Perfect. Thanks again Mr. Nipat:D

    Cheers,

    Singtoh
     
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