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Re: Modular substrate design

> I thought I would invite discussion on Duplas modular substrate design
> called Creativ. I have been keeping an eye on this product since it was
> first announced on Duplas WEB site, and since it became available in the
> USA.  I became intrigued by its potential.
> It is a way of planting and designing plants in square plastic trays or
> boxes that sit inside a mold foam matrix that sits on the bottom of the
> aquarium. Two cups in each tray hold fertilizer/nutrients that feed the
> contents of the tray.
> You can see a picture of it on Dupla's site here:
> http://www.dupla.com/pics/creativ2.JPG
> I will be offering this system in a matter of days for anyone that is
> interested. It's not up on my WEB site yet. To me it offers much potential
> for both overall health of plants, and for aquascaping technique. I'd be
> interested in hearing comments from others on this.
I am using the system with the heater in a 58 gallon Oceanic, dimensions are
36.5 x 18.5 x 21.5. After using the trays and positioning them in the back
there is approximately 4.5 inches left in front. The heating coils not only
wind through the trays, but there is enough left over to cover the sides and
front under the gravel. After a month of green water and cloudiness the tank
is crystal clear. The idea is to create convection currents inside the trays
that transport nutrition to the roots. Also according to Dupla, the gravel
turns into a large biological filter due to the cool water being drawn to
the bottom along with oxygen which the bacteria then feed on keeping the
substrate fairly anaerobic. I never had any nitrate spikes and actually need
to add this to the water column. As to the handiness of the plant trays and
moving them, I think the biggest problem one would run into is getting them
back in place due to constant gravel shifting around the tray itself. There
is going to be some water column disturbance no matter how careful you are.
Bottom line, the plants are all doing quite well, growing fast and very
healthy. Is it due to the system itself? I can't answer that. I also use the
Duplaplant 24 iron and trace fertilizer on a daily basis according to the
directions. In my opinion it is as good or better than many others I have
tried. There is a beautiful book called The Creative Nature Aquarium by
Kaspar Horst and Jorg Ploger that covers the Creativ system along with much
other very useful info and aquascape layouts using the system with beautiful
photos that does not come with the system itself but can be purchased
separately and espouses the Dupla methods and products. Don M.