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[APD] gravel sizes and planting schemes.

Hi all,

1) Does anybody know a good website that has a lot planting schemes on
Aquabotanic 's contest result shows some schemes but I am looking for a
larger collection.
There is a lot of sites with pictures , but most people do not take the
effort generating some artwork showing the scheme.

2) Warning on gravel sizes: About 2 years ago I set up my 100 G with 2
types of substrate: a bottom layer of something called "pond substrate",
about 2 inch layer. They are fired clay pellets of 5 to 10 mm with very
irregular and sharp edges. I mixed laterite and some "boomse klei" which is
a local clay used to bake red construction bricks. The top layer was 1-3 mm
washed gravel of about 1,5 inch .
Result: the tank  ran succesfull for 1,5-2 years but I am about to replace
the substrate. ( you know, the messy weekend with buckets and towels all
over the place) reasoning:  The smaller gravel was sinking in between the
large lighter fired clay. As a result the large fired clay pellets came to
the top and rooted plants did not do very well, actually any rooted plant
took a very long time to take hold and once they did take hold the root
systems became massive but the plants stunted. I don't know exactly why ,
but I think the rooted plants put enormous energy in developing roots on
the search for richer spots. The large gravel must have caused too much
oxygen ( heater cables ) which makes nutrients in the substrate less
available.  My echinodorus hormani , paniculatus and uruguayensis shot
enough leaves but the plants remained about 50%  stunted in size. The tank
has 2,7 W/G light, CO2 , TMG fertiliser etc... Stem plants had no problem
and also my hemianthus carpet did well since the root system held the light
gravel up. After many cutting and replantings the top gravel layer almost
completely dissapeared and overall plant growth declined except stems. The
clay was so sharp and difficult to penetrate  since the the pellets kind of
hooked into each other irregular shapes. I could not push fingers and for
that matter also plants into it, but the pellets can be taken away one by
one so easily.
In order to keep the tank going I was stuck with stems only, anubias and
ferns. But now I want to make this into a planted discus display ( first
try after 20 years of fish keeping, i had bare bottom discus tanks , but
not the stunning planted discus displays  ) And for such a tank I want less
pruning work and larger plants , so rooted plants such as echinodorus,
crypts and hygrophylas will take up more foorprint space then now . ( I
will keep some carpets and stems and floaters too ). I bought fresh 1-3 mm
neutrl gravel and this weekend time to set up again.

Conclusion: I bought those fired clay pellets bedause they looked good and
where cheaper than gravel. Biggest misstake: too coarse( up to 10 mm, 1 cm
) and too sharp, impossible to plant and smaller gravel falls through. So
out of first hand: Keep your gravel sizes as advocated in this forum, the
krib, etc.... It really is a problem if you have too coarse gravel. A tank
should run longer than 2 years in my opinion, I had 12 before. ( I do love
setting up tanks, except scooping out used gravel, what a mess.  YMMV.

If anybody can add something to the effects I noticed on rooted plants,
you're welcome to. ( or correct me if I am wrong )

suisoman Dirk

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