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Redoing my old tank

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by fjf888, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I finally have been hit by the bug to redo my 72G tank. As I started it 4 years ago after being out of the hobby for awhile I didn't make any considerations for a planted tank. Basically used plain old gravel as my base, then I got hit with the planted tank bug and added a little laterite. I've now grown tired of the look and flat substrate and looking to change out and replace it. I am looking at 3 choices.

    1. ADA Aquasoil (maybe amazonia)
    2. Flourite Black Sand - with a peat underneath (not sure this is necessary with 4 years of mulm buildup)
    3. Turface - with peat underneath.

    I use pressurized CO2 and have have sufficiently high lighting. I've been annoyed planting carpeting plants in my gravel and am looking from something that is a bit more user friendly from a planting perspective especially for plants such as gloss/HC/ E Tennelus. Livestock is mostly your standard algae eating fish (bristlenose plec, otos, sae), diamond and cardinal tetras, brochis, an angelfish pair, and a few wild coloration green swordtails.

    I'm willing to go cheap if its not much more labor intensive I just don't have the time or patience to deal with mineralizing soil and doing a bunch of DIY stuff at this point with my job.

    Thanks for the input as always.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Fred,

    Long time no post :)

    Do you plan on retaining your current substrate or a complete replacement?

    If the latter and you want to have less risk, I would do the flourite and some worm castings underneath instead of the peat. The ADA is nice but may leach nh4 for quite some time.

    I would replace the existing substrate in two halves about 10 days apart.

    Let me know your direction and I will provide some more thoughts.
     
  3. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry,

    Yeah, job and 3 kids doesn't allow me a lot of extra time these days.

    I plan on a complete replacement. I figured I would retain much of the mulm, I thought it would be better to replace all at once. I was going to get a large cooler and some fish boxes from my lfs and retain about 1/2 of the water and take all the fish out of the tank. Rescape the tank with some of the new wood and substrate, replant, add plants, and then add the old water back in. I have a wet dry that hopefully will retain much of the biological filter if kept wet which would minimize NH4 issues. I've not worked with worm castings and I'm not familiar with using them. Is buying them from a place like this an option? http://www.dirtworks.net/Buy-Worm-Castings.html I just read the WC thread. I think my wife might go a little bonkers if I start boiling worm castings on the stove, she gets a little annoyed with she finds brine shrimp, blackworms in the fridge. I don't assume we can just add them without boiling, similar issues to NH4 and potting soil I would guess

    Unless there's a less um smelly alternative it seems like I might need to go with the aquasoil. If there's an options other than WC I love to hear what they would be.

    Thanks
     
  4. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    I've not tried Flourite Black Sand nor Turface but loooooooove how easy it is to plant in Amazonia. My current tank is top soil capped with Amazonia and Florabase. (I prefer the color and planting in each.)
     
  5. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the feedback. Did you use MTS or straight topsoil?

    After doing some more research it really sounds like Aquasoil is a good option for starting a new tank, but not necessarily rescaping an old tank with the NH4 issues that seem to be prevalent. Thanks Gerry for the heads up. It seems the best option for someone who isn't always around to dose due to travel is MTS (even though it takes awhile to do) with a small grainsize substrate perhaps turface or flourite black/blacksand. Another option, which would be easier to do I suppose could be flourite or turface with osmocote at the bottom. I know in the garden this typically lasts about 5 weeks or so for the tomatoes, but then the temps get into the high 80's to low 90's and aquarium plants probably have a much lower intake of nutrients than their terrestrial counterparts.

    Any other thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey Fred.

    I think you are on the right track. If doing a full replacement I would advise against ADA due to nH4 leaching.

    Since you will not be able to dose adequately, I suggest some sort of minerlized substrate.

    Whichever is easiest and cleanest for the Mrs :)

    Sorry, I am busy at work and consumed with my tank plumbing upgrade this weekend, so I haven't given it too much thought. You seemed to be okay based on the last reply to your thread?

    Let me know

    Gerry.
     
  7. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Hey Gerry,

    Long time no post again, I am actually am going to start working on the tank this weekend. I opted for something a little different. I bought a gas grill with a side burner so now I am going to boil the worm castings outside and prepare per Tom's WC thread. I was wondering if it would be overkill if I added osmocote to the bottom as well, and perhaps k2SO4. for topping I plan to use EC. Yes I know its basically inert, but I like the grain size, and it seems to work well for a couple people I have helped set up planted tanks that are lower light, no CO2. I plan to keep this as a moderate light CO2 tank. The other thing I wonder is how much WC I should use in a 72G tank. I figured it should basically just dust the bottom of the tank, let me know what you think when you have the time.

    Thanks
     
  8. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Turface - So lite and fluffy

    I use Turface Allsport and although I like it, it is very lite and easily moved around. I'm a noob and don't have any experience with anything else but you might not like the stuff from a planting standpoint.

    FWIW

    Pat
     
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