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[APD] first try planted substrate questions

first try planted substrate questions

Hi everybody,

My name is Aaron and this is my first post, I have been reading the other posts on the list for awhile now and want to start my own planted tanks.
I am stocking up on Ingredients for my amateur Substrate Recipe and had some questions. This is my first time trying a real Planted Tank, I currently have tanks with plants, but they are not the same things.
So far I have:
110 oz First Layer Pure Laterite,
3 dry quarts Uni-Gro brand Vermiculite,
8 dry quarts Scotts brand Sphagnum Peat Moss (not planning on using it all),
4 dry quarts Uni-Gro Pumice (not sure if going to be used),
30 pounds Schultz brand Aquatic Plant Soil (so far the least expensive, only $5.98 each 10 LB bag),
15 lbs. CaribSea brand Flora-Max,
40 lbs. wet CaribSea brand Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate,
12 lbs. Red Sea brand Flora Base,
15.4 lbs. Seachem brand red Flourite,
30.8 lbs. Seachem black Onyx Sand.
2 lbs small grain (2-3 mm) sand for decrotive use
~ About. 152 lbs. total.

I am still looking for Humus and the proper soil to mix together with the Ver miculite and peat moss to use as the lower layer above the Laterite. Is Perlite worth using? Anybody have experience with soil for a substrate? I was reading about it in the research done by Jim Kelly at U.C. Davis, but now can't find the website.

I want to use Heating Cables for the substrate, but do not know much about them, the only brand I've heard of is Dupla. Does anyone have experience with using heating cables? Are they really important?

I was thinking about saving at least 1/2 the Onyx sand to use as the Top Layer. Should I mix all the commercial products together as an Upper layer or would it be better to layer them Individually? If I layered them separately, is there a particular order?

I plan on using Flourish Tabs as fertilizer supplement and I have Kent, Tetra and Seachem brand liquid additives. I have been using Reverse Osmosis water reconstituted w/ Kent R/O right and pH stable,
as well as collected Rainwater when available. The tap wa ter here is really hard w/ a very high pH.

I currently have a 55 and 10-gallon w/ fish and plants, as well as empty 40 and 12-gallon tanks I want to start soon. I am assuming the best way is to get the 40 & 12 planted and cycled in order to transfer the fish into them from the 55 & 10 and then plant those.
(About 117 gallons total)

I've got most of my information from the web:

Thank you,

Aaron R. Martin, cmt ~ Livermore CA (San Francisco Bay Area)
got Fish? ~ do you Yahoo? ~ I've got a group for you!
stop by and see ~ membership is free!


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