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soil substrate

AM wrote :

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.


     I have to say i use a soil substrate and i am quite
 pleased with the results (i've seen plants develop some
 really massive root structures) - especially since its
 totally free.  of course your results will depend on 
what kind of soil you have in your area so you might 
want to research some government sites to try and find
 out.  i think there's a good link somewhere on 
floridadriftwood.com for building a soil substrate. as far as using profile goes, its not the same thing.  a lot of soils already have all the nutrients plants need, its not merely a passive medium for ion exchange. If you want some details on my setup you can email me offlist