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Re: [APD] Refreshing old substrate --If shampoo can revitalize hair,why can't we bring new life to gravel?

If by avoiding tear down you mean avoiding moving the tank,
then rinsing the substrate extensively in place the way
you're describing it will do it. I can't see any reason for
sterilizng, bleach, etc. Unless there was a problem with
the substrate.  I'd think I personally would find it easier
to remove the substrate if I intended to rinse it.

But if the substrate isn't problematic, you might consider
not removing the plants and wood, etc. and skipping the
rinse. Instead of the rinse routine, if you want more clay
in the substrate, start adding clay fertilizer balls.

Adding a little Flourite? A smart person once said to me,
cutting flourite with other material probably detracts from
it's best point, it's appearance. If you only add a couple
of bags, I don't know how much good that will do for you
visually or the plants rootwise. If you add about half
Flourite, now you're getting somewhere. But other
substrates are also attractive. Among the equally or nearly
as expensive prepackaged are Onyx and EcoComplete, if you
prefer a grey or black substrate or want to darken what you
have. And speaking of choices, don't forget that Flourite
comes in red ;-)  Just kidding. There might be lots to
choose from where you live. Check out building supply
joints for stuff that might be safe and attractive.

I have some Flourite mixed with filter sand. The sand is on
the bottom and if I disturb the substrate (say, remove a
big plant or go nuts with a python) the sand comes up into
the Flourite. But it disappears after while. It's smaller
and falls between the flourite pieces. Might be more
dense/less buoyant too -- never measured that but it's
quartz and not porous and the flourite is clay and porous.
So I think Flourite will tend to stay on top of smaller,
slightly denser/less bouyant gravel.  Which is good,
because it's nice to look at. I don't know how much
flourite makes a diff in terms of root/plant growth. How
much CEC is enough to matter. SeaChem, which is a nice
outfit, recommends at least half the substrate be Flourite.
With just a little (a couple of bags in a 90g), above *or*
below the substrate surface, I don't think the roots will
very much know it's there -- and you're eyes might not
notice much either.

If your substrate is the epoxy coated stuff that comes in
all colors including clearcoat, I'd get rid of it because I
just don't like the stuff -- but that's purely a matter of
personal taste (or lack of it) ;-) .

Hope that's at least a bit helpful,
Scott H.
--- Pete <peteal at sympatico_ca> wrote:
> So I'm thinking of somehow refreshing the gravel without
> tearing down the
> tank.  My basic idea was just to remove all
> plants/driftwood, stir
> up/vacuume the gravel deeply.and replant (fireup the
> diatom filter for water
> cleanup ;) ). I thought while I was doing this I could
> also remove some
> gravel and mix in some flourite. So questions.
> 1. Any suggestions about refreshing the old gravel?
> 2. Is it worth putting a couple of bags of flourite mixed
> in with regular
> gravel? Freeking expensive stuff (seachem. CDN $24.99 for
> a 15lb bag)
> 3. I'v seen old posts saying this stuff is light. Won't
> it then slowly shift
> UP through the gravel and be the top layer which is
> basically useless for
> plant roots?
> 4. Any other idea ;)

S. Hieber

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