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RE: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #823

<<I am about to order some plants online. The place
most promising so far is
Pet Warehouse but I have no experience with them at
all. Ideas? Alternatives?>>

You could try Arizona Aquatic Gardens
(www.azgardens.com) or Aquabotanic

<<Also I've been thinking about adding organics to a
two layer substrate. The
bottom layer will be, one part Schultz's aquatic soil
(a laterite material,
baked clay) to roughly two parts neutral sand. This
layer about 1.5 inches
thick. Covered by regular gravel, another 1.5 inches.

My thought is this: mix some potting soil, say three
parts sand to one part
potting soil and one part peat, and laying it on
strips of cheese cloth in a
thin layer, perhaps 1/8 inches thick.

I would then roll the covered cheese cloth up and make
tubes from 1/2 to one
inch round. Place those in the bottom layer at regular
intervals. Idea here
is to make the nutrients available to the roots but
lower the risk of
contaminating the water column.

I've also considered laying a strip of plastic, 1/4"
gutter guard between
the gravel and the 'substance' layer. This stuff would
likely make it very
hard for substrate shifting fish to go beneath the
gravel to stir up the
lower layer.

So, what do you wise people think? Workable or do I
need to go back to the
books and rethink things?


Paul - keep the substrate simple.  I think you are
trying to incorporate too many ideas and theories into
one tank.  When I was a beginner, I too was tempted to
create a complicated substrate that combined the best
of all ideas, but then I decided to go with a less
complicated substrate.  If I were you I would just go
with the Schultz Aquatic Soil and sand idea.  It is
simple and others on the APD have used Profile (which
I  have heard is the same thing as Aquatic Soil) with
much success.  

I would not add the gutter guard as it will make
removing plants a huge hassle after their roots have
grown into the guard.  If you have digging fish the
Schultz soil would work just fine, just don't go with
a finely powdered substrate or else you'll wind up
with a cloudy tank.  As to the DIY soil sticks I would
just buy Jobes Palm and Fern sticks or a commercially
produced substrate additive.

Good luck,

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