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Re: Vermiculite

For anyone considering the possibility of using vermiculite let me share
some of my experience. I attempted to save money on the substrate of my
large tank by using a thick middle layer of 50% vermiculite, 50% Shultz
profile. Under this and on top of this I used Flourite at a thickness of
approx. 3/4 inch. On the top layer I used 1/2" of Onyx sand. The middle
layer ended up being about 2.5 to 3 inches. This works really well right up
to the time you want to move or remove a plant. The vermiculite was prepared
by soaking and stirring it for about two weeks so it does sink. The problem
is that it is lighter than flourite so when agitated it will come to the
surface of the substrate. The procedure I use now to aquascape includes
using a siphon hose at the base of the plant to be removed to collect the
escaping vermiculite. I had to create a large bin with an overflow into a
floor drain to catch the vermiculite as it is siphoned out. The price of not
siphoning while removing plants is a 200 gallon snow globe. This will last
for about two water changes. I keep a bucket of washed flourite and drop
handfuls over the areas I disturb to control the vermiculite. To date I have
siphoned off approx one cubic foot of the silver dust. This is a laborious
procedure that I would NOT recommend unless you plan to plant your tank and
never move a thing. Save your sanity and buy the Flourite or Onyx sand.