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> Date: Sat, 3 Aug 2002 13:53:38 -0600
> 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,
Well, I'm no expert, but I use soil and peat, topped with cheap gravel sold
for use in concrete in all my tanks, and have had mostly very good results. I
think the key to using soil, as has been stated here before, is to use a soil
with a low organic content. I have been using cheap bagged top soil from
Lowe's, which is very sandy.
Using this mixture, I have not had any algae issues that I can directly
relate to the soil. It does make a big mess if I move any large plants, such
as swords, but for most stem plants, there is not that big a problem. A good
water change usually takes care of whatever mess is left. Give it a try and
see what you think, tanks can always be re-built if you don't like it.