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Re: Topsoil substrates

Regarding the use of soil in large quantities as aquarium substrates........
PLEASE read the material on Steve Pushak's web site first, before you start
playing "muck-a-pie" in a tank. It can save you a lot of headaches.

Paul Krombholz worked out a "soil-soup" methodology several years ago (TAG
9:3) which takes a lot of the "tears" out of the use of soil substrates. As
noted in Walstad's "Ecology of The Planted Aquarium", substrates which
become submerged go through a "transition period" during the first three
months of being underwater. By following Paul's methodology, you can have
this "transition period" happen outside of your tank, and thus avoid most of
the potential problems which can be encountered.

Paul's method, in a nutshell, involves figuring out how much soil you are
going to use and then putting it in a container, covering it with water, and
keeping it submerged for three months BEFORE you use it in an aquarium. The
breakdown of the majority of the organic matter contained in the soil thus
takes place outside of your aquarium and you can avoid the potential algae
problems involved.

The only thing you need it the patience to wait 3 months.

James Purchase