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Re:Profice Aquatic Plant Soil

Hi all,

"Todd" <tmccarv1 at midsouth_rr.com> wrote:
> What about Profile, has anyone ever used it?

The people in San Francisco Bay Area Aquatic 
Plant Society already know me, but I'm new to all
others on this list. I've had tanks for 30 years and my
first planted tank experiments go back 20 years -
with varying success. I'm now experiencing a new 
renaissance with planted tanks and I'm really pleased
with my results so far. I have to attribute my success to 
all you people contributing information on the Krib, your 
own web pages and on this list. It's great how
the internet allows us to share our experiences and

I have experimented with Profile with a 40G tank.
It's a bit too early to say anything definite about it since
the tank's been going only for 2.5 months. From reading 
the archives, it sounds like other people might have had
longer runs with it. It would be nice to hear what your 
experiences are with it (or with Turface - since 
it sounds like they are both the same stuff).

SO - how are you guys using it? Do you use it as is or do 
you amend it using laterite or something else? Are you 
happy with the growth of plants in it? Better / worse than
Flourite or Gravel/soil?

I set up a 40G tank with it. For a bottom layer I mixed a
1 inch layer of about 3 parts Profile + 1 part loamy soil 
from my garden + 2 parts Vermiculite (by volume). I put 
in a small amount of pond tabs. On top of that I put a 
1/2 inch layer of profile mixed with a handful of finely 
chopped filter peat. The top layer is plain Profile. 

The tank is doing sort of OK, but not nearly as well as 
another tank (20G) that I set up with exactly the same recipe,
except instead of Profile I used the "Lapis Lustre" gravel
(fine gravel size). People here in SF Bay are know this 
sand - it contains small shell fragments. Perfect way
to add Ca to your water if it happens to be too soft :-)

Especially root feeders seem to be inhibited in the Profile 
tank.  E Tenellus that are growing like gangbusters in the
20G tank, but they are failing miserably in the Profile
tank. Aponogetons and Nymphaea Stellata aren't doing
well either. Stem plants (Hygrophila Difformis, Shinnersia
Rivularis, Cabomba sp, etc), and water column feeders 
are doing OK. There is one root feeder that's doing very well
- giant val. They're growing like gangbusters.

I like to theorize - so here's my theory on why the Profile
tank is less successful. (I'm not an expert on chemistry 
so this could be totally wrong). One thing that I can think 
of that could attribute to the difference is that the 
shell-ridden "Lapis Lustre" gravel with its shell fragments 
(CaCO3?) buffers the pH (keeps the pH  higher) of the 
substrate thus less metal ions dissolve into the subtrate 
water. In the Profile tank, the substrate pH is lower - and 
the apparent root growth inhibition could be a result of too 
high concentrations of metal ions (aluminum toxicity, 
for example). Comments? 

Whatever the mechanism is, it would seem that soil (used 
alone, without buffering) is not a good amendment to a Profile 
substrate. Perhaps a bit of laterite or redart clay would be a 
better amendment in this case.

Some pro's and con's of Profile that I can think of:
+ Cheap!
+ Porous, high CEC
+ inert - doesn't affect the pH or hardness of the water
+ good grain size
+ Very light material, therefore easy for roots to penetrate
- Very light material, therefore some very buoyant plants are hard to keep down
+ I like the way it looks
- my wife doesn't like the way it looks ;-)

In San Jose, Ca still searching for the right Profile substrate recipe...