[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: Soil Substrates, Gravel or Laterite
Regarding substrate compositioin, Rich asked:
>Has using a soil substrate gone out of fashion, or have people found that
>gravel & laterite is better?
In my opinion, neither one is better than the other. Or, more correctly, one
may be better than the other depending on your purpose and expectations.
To help aid the following discussion, the term "soil" is so generic that it
really can't be used alone as a description. Laterite is, itself, a type of
soil. So, technically, if you are using laterite then you are using a
soil-enhanced substrate. Soils vary infinately in composition throught the
world. Even "potting" soil or "garden" soil does little to provide an
identification or standardization of the "dirt" we use to grow plants.
This makes it very difficult to prove that "X" soil works well or not. In
fact, "X" soil may work really well for one aquarist while it causes total
disaster for another. But, through experimentation and statistical
evaluation of a large pool of data, trends and general correlations can be
An important characteristic of soil, as used in the context of aquarium
substrates, is it's degree of "lability", or chemically and biologically
reactive potential. Highly labile substrate compositions have a higher
percentage of organic content (and probabably microbe population as well).
This can lead to significant biological and chemical interactions within the
substrate when it is submerged. A substrate with a relatively high lability
is sometimes necessary to grow certain "difficult" plants. It provides an
abundance of nutrients both micro and macro. However, it's high libality
makes it potentially disasterous if the aquarist is not in a position to
effectively understand and deal with a variety of rapid and large, the
gravel/laterite method provides a substrate that can function well over a
wider range of parameters or tank conditions than a substrate composed of a
"soil". This is because It's less labile, or "rich" than a substrate
containing a soil
MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: