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Re: Liquid CO2
Steve Pushak recommends peat in the substrate as a "cheap and easy" method
of supplying CO2 to plants.
"How about simply using
peat in the substrate? cheap and easy! As it decomposes, it will provide
Mmmm, I know where you are going with this......and I can agree, to a point.
What Walstad actually said was that organic matter in the substrate can
supply CO2 as it decomposes. All peat is organic matter, but not all organic
matter is peat. Peat is very acidic, and it doesn't really decompose that
quickly - the acidity inhibits bacterial decay to a certain degree,
depending upon the amount and type of peat present. I have used your methods
(i.e. soil substrates done according to the recipe detailed on your web
site) and have obtained excellent results without having to add CO2 from any
other source. I think that the presence of organic matter _other_ than peat
is what was supplying the CO2. However, I've got to admit that when I tried
adding CO2 to the water column (from DIY yeast), the growth of the plants,
which had been very good, literally exploded! Stem plants crawled right out
of the tank - and they all bloomed (as an aside......every hobbyist owes it
to themselves to see, at least once, how pretty the flowers on many of our
aquarium plants can be when you allow them to break the water surface). I
ultimately removed all of the stem plants and devoted the aquarium to some
of my Crypts - they loved it. Unfortunately, during a lengthy illness last
winter, the tank got neglected and ultimately crashed due to sheer neglect.
As for substrate uptake of CO2 vs. uptake of CO2 from the water column,
Walstad clearly gives the nod to having CO2 in the water column (page 98)
for _most_ plants. But not every hobbyist wants or needs to have a high
maintenance aquarium. A moderately lit tank with a soil substrate containing
organic material is a viable alternative that can remain stable for a long
time and provide an excellent habitat for some plants.