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Substrate mix questions

Discussion in 'Non-CO2 Methods' started by Planterson, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    About a year or so into the planted tank scene, only about 5-6 months into high-tech. Been tossing a lot of stuff into other fish-only tanks, needless to say my livestock of trimmings and plants that "just didn't work out" is growing to the point where they need a dedicated setup.


    I'm looking at a 20g high, I'll probably be using a Current Satellite Pro on this tank, dimmed accordingly.


    Reading through the sticky, I'm looking at doing the low-tech suggestions and creating a dedicated tank for my old plants. Some of this is addressed in the sticky but wanted to open another discussion since that one seems to have died a few years ago. Plans for the substrate:


    About 1" of peat with DB leonardite mixed into it


    Cap with 15-20lbs of Onyx sand


    A few questions on the peat though, and the setup in general:


    The stuff I have is "enriched with Miracle Grow" which I'm unsure of. Are there any special considerations for this? Do I need to look for something "organic" etc?


    Otherwise, thoughts on this blend, and does anyone have long-term experience with this type of mix?


    I also have a bag of Aquasoil leftover hah, I could just use that. It's only a 9 litre bag though so might still need an Onyx sand cap or mix of some kind Thoughts? It's mostly crypts, although there are a few random stems in there (ludwigia, moneywort, simple stuff).
     
  2. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    Scratch the leonardite, the store that had it here only carries the liquid additive. So now I'm looking at peat exclusively (with Onyx Sand), unless someone has another recommendation. Close to just using the Aquasoil. I've heard rumblings that it shouldn't be used in low Co2 though.
     
  3. UDGags

    UDGags Lifetime Charter Member
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    You don't want to use the miracle grow in the planted tank. I'm pretty sure it would release into the water very quickly and cause more issues than it's worth.


    I personally dislike the mixing of substrates since they will eventually get mixed together and look bad aesthetically.


    I would use the AS and try and pick up another bag if needed OR section off a sand area using plastic and have a sand only area and a AS area only. If you look at aquascapes people do this all the time.
     
  4. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    I am very concerned about mixing. Leaning towards just using AS, but the other was recommended in the sticky, and seems to be successful for people. I'll nix the "enriched" peat as well, but finding "normal" peat without ferts added is proving to be tougher than I thought it would be. Maybe it's the time of year.


    Any thoughts on the Mr Aqua substrate? I can get it at a relatively good price.


    I guess my concern here is how these soils interact when there is no Co2. Since the plants are Co2 limited, using AS or Mr Aqua seems to be a bit of overkill, and might cause issues regarding algae, since it will probably be the only plant that can make use of the nutrient excess. I suppose I could just use the Onyx sand with root tabs of some kind.
     
  5. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    Amazonia buffer 6.8


    You can get organic peat at any nursery garden store. I do not understand why you want the peat? For softer water? buffering? Africana and malaya can probably get your ph's in the 5's. These have less nutrient content than Amazonia but you can mix them together. I've had great results but I'm a syng. grower.


    I do not like any ADA aqua soil rip offs. IMO ADA soils tops the charts.


    Last question for more experienced.
     
  6. UDGags

    UDGags Lifetime Charter Member
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    I've never used AS with no CO2 but these are my thoughts.....


    The AS would provide more nutrients to plants that are root feeders compared sand/root tabs. Having too much nutrients shouldn't be a big issue because of diffusion. The nutrients need to diffuse out of the soil and into the water column. Unless you are doing a ton of uprooting and moving things they are for the the most part going to stay in the soil. This is why root tabs work as well. You put the root tabs in the soil and they last x amount of months unless you start digging them up and exposing them to moving water. The only catch with AS is that it will release ammonia for 1-2 months when it is brand new. This is why biweekly water changes are recommended and no livestock is present with new AS tanks.


    If you can afford it go with AS :)
     
  7. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    Yeah I run AS in my main tank and love it. This tank is basically for plants that "didn't work out" with my scaping vision, and excess grow-out. I want to dabble in non-Co2 for this tank. My understanding of nutrient solubility is a bit off I suppose. I have one extra bag (bought one too many a few months back). Leaning towards just using that now.


    The peat was strictly based off of the recommendations in the sticky for non-co2. I have no experience with it, it's just there as an organic substance to compliment the Onyx sand. I don't like the idea of mixing, though... particularly is AS doesn't pose any type of threat long-term in non-co2.
     
  8. kevinmichael77

    kevinmichael77 Guru Class Expert

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    I use AS in a non-CO2 tank and it works great. Even in a low tech tank I assume plants appreciate a mineral rich substrate. I also dose excel and flourish whenever I feel the need.
     
  9. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    When using AS as a primary substrate in non-co2 (I mean zero, not even Excel), does the initial water change requirement impede the growth process/create algae issues? I know that for the first couple of weeks (potentially months) large water changes are required until the initial ammonia spike has run its course. Does anyone have experience with this? Can something like ammo-lock be used during this phase to minimize the water changes?
     
  10. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    You can always just cycle for 1-2 months. I believe you can use purigen, I don't know ammo-lock. But yes its the same, you need to water change if not using anything else. Every 2-3 days recommended by the upper guru's.
     
  11. Planterson

    Planterson Junior Poster

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    Yeah, I don't mind a long cycle, more concerned with getting tons of algae. According to what I've read, you do not want to do too many water changes on non-co2 setups, yet AS requires it for some time. The tank is entirely Crypts right now.


    I may give the purigen a shot, worst case I just deal with the algae as it arises.
     
  12. Scott Wilson

    Scott Wilson Junior Poster

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    I'm new to the live planted tank. Want to try a low tech tank. Read that I need to add peat or leonardite below the eco complete. Not sure how much to use?
     
  13. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Why do you want to add that under Eco? That's not actually needed, unless you wanna lower the PH and KH in some way.
     
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