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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V5 #257

At 03:48 рм 4/8/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>From: Rich Schiek <rschiek at pobox_com>
>Subject: soil substrate OR gravel and laterite?
> >Dear Plant Experts,
> >Reading through some old issues of The Aquatic Gardener, I found lots of
> >suggestions to use potting soil covered with a little gravel as a good
> >planted aquarium substrate.  On this list and it's archives I haven't
> >heard much of that approach, and many books I've looked at have
> >suggested gravel & laterite.  Has using a soil substrate gone out of
> >fashion, or have people fund that gravel & laterite is better?
> >Thanks for your advice,
> >Rich

To any one interested

I used rich forest soil in my aquaria for the last 23 years with no other 
additions like CO2 and fertilizers on the water column just lots of light 
from 2-3 watts per liter ( there is an initial algae bloom but then it 
always go and never returns). I place 2 1/2 inches soil (this will end up 3 
or more inches since it tends to increase in volume after some time) at the 
bottom mixed with a handful of laterite from a nearby laterite mine with 
1  inch of  2mm gravel on top I never had any problem with the use of soil, 
a good advice is to let the soil in water 6 weeks prior to setting up the 
aquarium so all the initial chemical reactions will take place and the soil 
will "bubble up" most of the gases from this reactions you then have to 
strain it so that most of the water goes out then you can press it down on 
the aquarium bottom and place the gravel on top with no problem. I reckon 
that a soil substrate is perfect for plants like echinodorus, crypts, and 
generally for plants that depend a lot to their roots for nutrient uptake 
generally I find that the nearer the soil is to the surface of the 
substrate the easier is for the plants with fragile roots to extent there 
roots within the nutrient rich soil  the anaerobic conditions and the 
creation of gases (you will find the substrate releasing bubbles quite 
often) is normal and I should' t  worry cause it is a very natural process 
found in all pool and never created even the slightest problem for me, 
anyway for the conversion of the lateritic iron to a an organic form you 
need anaerobic conditions and for these the soil substrate is ideal. As for 
the smell it has to be there and it is obvious only when you take the 
aquarium substrate apart. I find soil substrate with no fertilizer addition 
to the water column to last for 3 - 4 years. Uprooting plants can be a bit 
messy but there are approaches for that aswell like uprooting while holding 
the rest of surrounding gravel down with the other hand or cutting the 
roots with a razor blade a few centimeters away from the plant (like 
cutting a cake) and then pulling the plant out, the soil that will come out 
you can siphon off and anyway it won't do any harm being on the surface.
I love soil I could not make aquariums without it
PEOPLE THINK NATURAL, observe the streams the ponds and apply the knowledge 
to the planted aquariums, things may differ between our aquaria and nature 
but still nature rules and this hobby is the application of natural rules. 
Anyway what are we but small gods and nature creators and imitators: ).


I refer you to some articles on soil aswell:
and of course: