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Re: Using Soil as a substrate mix for plants.

I have read of several people using normal soil as a substrate mix for a

planted tank.  how feasible is this, and if it is more beneficial than
harmful for the tank and the future residents, how much and how should I

prepare the substrate?     Straight soil on bottom or mixed with the
for first 2  inches then 2 more of just gravel on top?

IMO soil is more trouble than it is worth as a substrate.  You can use
it, but it requires a fair amount of prep work.  First you have to sift
it to remove large particles and then soak it to leach out as much
organic material as possible.  You must cover it with a layer of sand
and/or gravel.

Will it change the properties of the water in such a way as to make it
time consuming and a pain than a help for the plants?  I don't really
to dish out the money for Flourite right now, so I am looking for some
effective additives for the gravel that will greatly increase my chances
success for the plants...I have not setup or cycled the tank yet...so
now is
the best time plan any substrate changes.   Any ideas or suggestions
be appreciated.


If price is an issue, you should look at Profile as a Fluorite
substitute.  It is a kiln fired clay like material.  It is used as a
soil amendment.  You can find more info at www.profileproducts.com or
search www.thekrib.com.  You can find it at Walmart, some Home Depots,
and Frank's Nursery and Crafts under the names:
Profile Clay Soil Conditioner
Profile Aquatic Soil
Turface MVP or Pro League

If you are interested in DIY substrates you should check out Steve
Pushak's website (http://home.infinet.net/teban/).  Especially look at
Jamie Johnson's article.

Good luck,