New to Plants

mooquache

Junior Poster
Oct 26, 2009
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I need everyone's thoughts about my tank; here are the specs...
  • 29 gallon
  • 2x 18" t5 lifeglo/powerglo mix
  • diy co2 reactor with diy diffuser
  • generic type gravel

A couple of things i'm thinking about doing...
  • When I can afford it, going to get co2 tank system
  • Flourite substrate
  • DIY extra lighting using LED rebel stars

I would really like to have a carpet of HC in the foreground with some driftwood taller plants in the back.
 

John Barkan

Junior Poster
Dec 26, 2008
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Ohio
I'm only a year in to planted aquariums(so take this for what it's worth), but I think you will have problems growing plants in gravel. I think using a soil based substrate(like amazonia II) would make the biggest difference. I just finished reading Diana Walstads book and she uses an organic potting mix covered with an inch of 2-3 mm gravel. I'm using Flourite and it took a while for the plants to really grow, they are doing well now, but I don't think I would use it again.
 

shoggoth43

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2009
1,092
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I'd have to concur on the Flourite. Flourite seems largely inert. There's not much in there aside from some some iron, which you can get from other sources. Other than the nifty black color it may not get you much that you couldn't get in other ways. It's not an experiment I will be repeating in my tanks. Sadly there's not much commonly available out my way so I either have to go with some sort of soil method, or find the ADA stuff online.

OTOH, simple gravel and sand are perfectly fine as long as you find a way to get nutrients to the plants. There's plenty of sandy streams around with lots of plants. You just may not get the high growth you might get with the more nutrient righ substrates.

-
S





John Barkan;42525 said:
I'm only a year in to planted aquariums(so take this for what it's worth), but I think you will have problems growing plants in gravel. I think using a soil based substrate(like amazonia II) would make the biggest difference. I just finished reading Diana Walstads book and she uses an organic potting mix covered with an inch of 2-3 mm gravel. I'm using Flourite and it took a while for the plants to really grow, they are doing well now, but I don't think I would use it again.
 

LoudCreature

Prolific Poster
Oct 17, 2009
54
0
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John Barkan and shoggoth43 (what do shoggoth’s have against penguins anyway?) are right, a good substrate will be a big help.

We have a couple of tanks with gravel or inert material, they work but it is harder. A rich substrate such as Tom’s worm casting http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquat...-casting-nutrient-enriched-sediments-how.html, is inexpensive and we have found it very effective.

For years, we used a variation where we used potting mix for violets or bonsai, composted worm castings and vegetation, we mix in peat, clay or silt and few other things, Tom says we don’t need the amendments. Then add a layer of whatever size gravel is best for the plants and look we want.

I was just reminded to tell you if you do this use good quality ingredients and follow the instructions carefully, mainly the boiling part, and no shortcuts. It may seem like a hassle, if you think about the time you plan to have the aquarium, it is worthwhile.

This is where we get or castings 100% Pure Earthworm Castings.