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Preloading Substrates

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by Philosophos, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    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
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    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
     
  3. Jeremy1

    Jeremy1 Prolific Poster

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    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?
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Nifty-Neato

    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
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    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.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    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
     
  7. pat w

    pat w Member

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    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
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    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
     
  9. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Two popular methods:

    with small size drinking straw (using bigger Osmocote pellet to cap one end)
    [​IMG]

    or put it in a gelatin capsule
    [​IMG]
     
  10. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

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    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
     
  11. Henry Hatch

    Henry Hatch Guru Class Expert

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

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    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
     
  13. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    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
     
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    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
     
  15. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Here is a link to Oscmocote website:

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

    some good info although I am unsure how they ensure the plants get the 'exact' amount of necessary ferts :)
     
  16. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    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
     
  17. brendokae

    brendokae Junior Poster

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    Just some suggestions you can put the in a Ice cube and push into youre substrate. works fine..
     
  18. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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