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[APD] Soil Substrates

Ellen O'Connell wrote:
>>Yes, but she doesn't recommend a coffee can full of soil in either a 50 or
20 gallon, but a 1" layer. Even assuming the largest size coffee can, I'm
sure I have more than that to make 1" in my 7-gallon bow tank.<<

That is true, but although Diana recommends using a large quantity of soil,
other experienced aquarists recommend only a couple of handfuls mixed with
the bottom layer of gravel.

But it is also true that there are inherent differences between one "soil"
and another, which make soil-based substrates unpredictable until you've had
a fair amount of experience with one PARTICULAR soil source.  Some people
will be lucky, and have great success with the first soil they try, others
will have less luck.

That's the big difference between soil, and Flourite or other commercial
substrates.  One bag is going to behave just like the next ;-) The
commercial substrates that are currently available all produce predictable
results.  An aquarist may favor one over another, but are unlikely to
experience nasty surprises.

I know there are people who do very well with soil substrates.  Some of them
are extremely experienced and successful aquatic gardeners.  But it's NOT
where I advise novices to begin, simply because the results can be extremely


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