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Re: Using Soil as a substrate mix for plants.

Sorry for the previous post I forgot to demarcate which paragraphs were
from which author.

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