Soil/Soilmaster substrate?

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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As soon as I finish my new stand/cabinet I will want to teardown my existing setup and rebuild it using the new stand. So, this is my opportunity to try something new, for me. My goal is to use as much of what I have as I can, while still trying a new way to do a 45 gallon planted tank.

What I am now planning is to mix Soilmaster with garden soil, about 3 parts SM to one part soil, and use it with my existing 72 watts of AHS lights - 1.6 watts per gallon. I have a good CO2 system, so I would like to use it again. And, I would use my Rena Filstar XP3 filter, with my existing external CO2 reactor. I like my continuous water change system, so I would continue to use it too. So, this would be a low to moderate light, CO2 added tank.

Am I on track for bliss or headaches? Should I continue to do water column fertilizing?

One of the plant features I want to continue to use is a piece of wood covered with Anubias nana petite and Java fern "windelov". These plants don't really use roots in the substrate, except to a minor extent, so does that require that I do water column fertilizing?
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Vaughn, you might consider heading down to the delta and getting some decent clay silt(eg Owl Harbor near Rio Vista).

Screen this(1/8") and let settle for 1-2 days.
Decant water thereafter.

Let dry some.

Add this mixed with 1" worth of SMS, then cap with 2-3" of SMS.
You can boil or allow the soil to soak for a few weeks prior.

These last two steps are more critical.
For the auto water change, this will save you from NH4 issues a great deal actually, so you'll have less to fear, and low light etc, you are on track pretty well there.

I use this sediment and did a comparison against ADA and SMS, SMS came out on top actually, I did not expect that, nor can I fully explain it either.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

VaughnH

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I live about two hundred yards from the American River. Is American River silt equivalent to delta silt? It is black, not at all reddish, so I'm not sure it is. But, it is hard to beat the convenience. A couple of short hikes with a bucket and shovel would do it.
 

VaughnH

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Thanks Tom! I suppose digging a chunk out of the levee would be considered to be in bad taste, so I'll have to make my way down to the water line. I'll say hello to the ducks and geese while I'm at it.