Preloading Substrates

Philosophos

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 12, 2009
1,346
0
36
I've noticed those just starting out in the hobby are left a bit in the air on substrates. They can layer, but they'll want to move plants around, they can use Aquasoil but it will not respond well to this either and many don't like the price. If one goes with SMS, turface, EC, fluorite etc. then there's months of consistent dosing ahead to get nutrients into the substrate in which time the plants are more vulnerable to missed dosing. A new routine and a greater challenge with nutrient distribution isn't exactly the best of both worlds.

So why not just take any number of these relatively inert products with a decent CEC and dump them into an intense nutrient bath for a while to get some of the benefits of sediment without the punishment for uprooting things? It wouldn't be too bad for use with planted aquariums in stores either, given how often they move things in and out.

My first concern is curing time. How long will it take to load one of these substrates to a reasonable capacity? A product sold with this solution in the bag would definitely make things easier. The product could be packaged, left to sit for a few months, then shipped out.

-Philosophos
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,695
736
113
That's what ADA does with power sand and places it on the bottom.

But.it's a two part system so they get moved all over if the person moves plants around. They it slowly comes up and looks tacky. Some use stainless wire mesh to keep it there.

I think pre charging it is dicy as well.
Just use the ADA or similar brands, or use the inert stuff, and add osmocoat etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Jeremy1

Prolific Poster
Aug 12, 2008
64
2
8
where can I get osmocoat? Would like to enrich an established tank with ecco complete. Does it come in tablet form as to where I can just place it in the substrate?
 

Biollante

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jun 21, 2009
3,210
1
36
Surprise, AZ
Nifty-Neato

Jeremy1;43539 said:
where can I get osmocoat? Would like to enrich an established tank with ecco complete. Does it come in tablet form as to where I can just place it in the substrate?

Hi,

Osmocote is available at most garden centers, hardware stores and so on in the US.

It is a porous tablet, roundish thingy (technical talk), the great thing is it doesn’t break up and as much fun as worm poopsicals are Osmocote is just plain nifty-neato. :rolleyes:

http://www.osmocote.co.za/

Biollante
 

Gerryd

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
5,623
20
38
South Florida
Hi,

So should it optimally be mixed with the flourite or can some just be pushed into the existing substrate?

At what ratio should it be mixed? 50-50?

Many thanks and for the link.
 

Biollante

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jun 21, 2009
3,210
1
36
Surprise, AZ
Gerryd;43550 said:
Hi,

So should it optimally be mixed with the flourite or can some just be pushed into the existing substrate?

At what ratio should it be mixed? 50-50?

Many thanks and for the link.

Hi Gerry,

I have never tried mixing the Osmocote in a substrate, though now you mention it… ;)

I have started using Osmocote in lieu of plant tabs (well, worm poopsicals) and I use them just about that way, so far the results are great and I really haven’t seen a downside. I had a disaster trying to use Jobes plant stakes, though I may have messed that up myself.

If I were to mix directly into a sand substrate, I don’t think I would mix any heavier than 12:1 or so.

Where the stuff is excelling for me is using it to beef up ‘spent’ substrates. :)

Biollante
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,695
736
113
I add it at the start.
Then cap with sand.

I'd add about a single layer deep of the balls(about the size o a BB or buck shot).

Maybe 5-10 grams per sq ft.

It should dissolve in 3-6 months.
Has NH4/NO3/PO4 etc.

It slowly dissolves better than simply trying to lock under a cap, dissolving rate is based on temp.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

nipat

Guru Class Expert
May 23, 2009
665
0
16
pat w;43555 said:
Ok, I'm going to demo my lack of general knowledge now.

Just how do you "push" the little grains of Osmocote down into the substrate?:confused:

Pat

Two popular methods:

with small size drinking straw (using bigger Osmocote pellet to cap one end)
strawa.jpg


or put it in a gelatin capsule
capsuleo.jpg
 

bradac56

Prolific Poster
Jan 31, 2008
43
0
6
50
Kansas City, MO
Philosophos;43525 said:
So why not just take any number of these relatively inert products with a decent CEC and dump them into an intense nutrient bath for a while to get some of the benefits of sediment without the punishment for uprooting things? It wouldn't be too bad for use with planted aquariums in stores either, given how often they move things in and out.

-Philosophos

I put down a mixed dusting of sphagnum peat moss, potash, and Iron Chelate before I add my Turface or PFS instead of giving it a bath. It works just as well and gives a decent growth uptake on my plants, maybe not as good as MTS or ADA but it also doesn't require all the work or money ether.

All three are found at any local lawncare or orchard supply store cheap and can be mixed and stored in 10gal or larger containers long term.

- Brad
 

Henry Hatch

Guru Class Expert
Aug 31, 2006
179
0
16
Tom Barr;43558 said:
I add it at the start.
Then cap with sand.

I'd add about a single layer deep of the balls(about the size o a BB or buck shot).

Maybe 5-10 grams per sq ft.

It should dissolve in 3-6 months.
Has NH4/NO3/PO4 etc.

It slowly dissolves better than simply trying to lock under a cap, dissolving rate is based on temp.

Regards,
Tom Barr


Why wouldn't the NH4 cause algae problems ? I would think some might leach from the substrate into the water column.
 

Philosophos

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 12, 2009
1,346
0
36
The NH4 does cause algae problems IMO. I can smell the stuff wafting off emersed growth trays set up with fresh AS, so it's not as if the stuff is fully sequestered. Usually new tanks get some diatom algae on any exposed substrate for a little while. I try to perform intense water changes with any new tank though and that does seem to keep it down reasonably.

-Philosophos
 

adechazal

Prolific Poster
May 7, 2007
51
0
6
Rochester, Michigan
Just so I have this straight, I can stop buying the root tabs at $7-8 per pack of ten, and simply pick up a huge jug of Osmocote and stuff a bunch of the little pellets in the substrate?

The plant tablets from aquariumfertilizer.com list the following ingredients, does Osmocote cover enough of these to really replace the tablets?

PLANT TAB GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
Total Nitrogen (N).......................1.00%
Phosphate (P2O5).......................0.17%
Potassium (K2O).........................3.00%
Calcium (Ca)..............................2.00%
Sulfur (S)..................................3.00%
Magnesium (Mg)..........................2.50%
Boron (B)..................................0.02%
Iron (Fe) ..................................15.00%
Manganese (Mn) ..........................0.15%
Molybdenum (Mo) .........................0.0005%
Zinc (Zn) Chelated........................0.40%

I started using the plant tablets 6 weeks or so ago with great results so I'm hesitant to change but at $5 for 10 tablets they still aren't cheap. Apparently they only need to be replaced every three months.

Aaron
 

Philosophos

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 12, 2009
1,346
0
36
Yup, the osmocote works, plenty of people have used it. I'm not sure which kind to recommend as I can't find a good analysis, but it may be on the product label its self.

-Philosophos
 

Philosophos

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 12, 2009
1,346
0
36
Gerryd;43760 said:
some good info although I am unsure how they ensure the plants get the 'exact' amount of necessary ferts :)

The marketing fairies do it late at night while snorting lines of pixie stick sugar. ;)

More seriously though, page 8 of the brochure on that site gives an analysis. It's kind of a messy paste job, so I'll just provide the brochure link:
http://www.osmocote.co.za/brochure.pdf

Way better stuff than hobby branded fert tabs.

-Philosophos
 

brendokae

Junior Poster
Jul 23, 2008
7
0
1
Just some suggestions you can put the in a Ice cube and push into youre substrate. works fine..