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Re: New to list, substrate

> Hi all, just joined I hope this is ok protocol to send things, I guess I
> should look for a FAQ or something about the group huh :)

Either way is fine.
> I've been paging through all the info on the lists archives, and while a lot
> is way over my head I think I picked up a thing or two...
> I am looking for feedback on the substrate I am planning to use.

I'm afraid you are simply adding a little of everything you can to this.
More is not better with many things like light, or different additions to
the substrate.

Pick one type of substrate and stick with it. Example: sand plus laterite, I
add mulm and peat to all substrates but not much.

_Gound_ Peat(not loose moss) and mulm I add for two main reasons:
Mulm is the "dirt" that settles in the bottom of a bucket when you vacuum
your gravel. 
Adding mulm is primarily to seed the bacteria in the substrate.
Adding peat it to add some reducing power(H+'s) to make a few nutrients more
available to the plant's roots during the critical start up phase.

Both of these items together jump start a tank very well and you just add
some to the bottom 1 inch layer then cap with sand/laterite or flourite/onxy
Soil, loose peat moss can get pulled up, kitty litter and even laterite can
cloud the water.
IME, flourite or onyx sand and the peat/mulm is the best route. It works
very well and once in place never needs tending or a second thought. No need
for cables either. 
> I just mixed in a rubbermaid tub, about 4 parts sand to 1 part soil+peat and
> 1 part shpagnum (sp) peat.  I also added a full box of First Layer Pure
> Laterite. (55 gallon worth according to the box).   Mixed it all up, and
> filled the tub with water to let it soak for a month to leech.
> The reason for the soak is the tank is already setup with fish.  Its a 75G
> with a UG filter, small sized quartz gravel (1-3mm), lots of fake plants and
> a few real plants, light by 3, 40watt flourescent bulbs (10k, 50/50, and a
> GE "plant bulb").
> Also lights will most likley be replaced with an icecap 660 ballast with 4,
> 75watt 24" bulbs (2 over each side of the 48" aquarium) for a total of 300
> watts.  Unless people reading this thinks thats too much I could stick with
> the 120 watt setup I have now, and put the VHOs in the salt tank :)

How's the CO2 levels? Nutrients?
Adding more light to a system with an algae problem will only grow more
algae. You need to deal with the CO2/Nutrients before even considering more
> Any input would be greatly appreciated, I'd much rather make changes to the
> substrate and setup now then later for obvious reasons!
> Thanks in advance to anyone who replys.
> Mark

Well I would advice doing the flourite/mulm/peat for the substrate.
I'd remove the UG completely.
Plant roots add a considerable amount of O2 to the gravel via the roots.
Roots also greatly increase the gravel's surface area.
You can try the DIY heating cables. Or also a reptile pad which is, IMO/IME,
the same thing as most cable systems but much cheaper/easier to add and many
of these can add a temp controllers also pretty cheap.
It will not hurt your plants etc. Does it help? Perhaps some, I've not seen
it. Point is that it does not hurt. Your choice on that one.

If you want more filter, add more plants. Grow them well and they will take
care of your tank's O2 level, algae issue, fish and gravel.

The UG can be replaced with the external filter you had in mid also.

I'd work/read up on CO2 on the Krib. Most folks go with a Gas tank w/a
regulator, needle valve and some method to diffuse the gas into the water
good. The Tetra Bell CO2 thing is doesn't add much CO2 to tanks over 5-10
gallons. Feeding the CO2 steady into a power head etc will suit you much

Tom Barr