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[APD] substrate question
When I set up my 55 gallon tank after about 12 years of not keeping fish, it
was as a "fish tank" so I used sandblast gravel as I had always used. I
found this forum and decided I wanted to have a planted tank this time so I
chose fish to fit the plants, neons etc. I bought what plants I could
locally and have received cuttings from APD members that are growing well
enough that I want to take the tank down and re substrate it to be more
suitable for plants. I now have enough cuttings and young plants to do a
proper 60+% planting.
Finding anything locally is impossible for the most part, but I have placed
an order with Big Al's today. They do not have eco-complete in stock (and
won't match prices on "heavy items" anyway.) So I ordered First layer
laterite and planned to re-use the tex blast.
I have read that the correct way to do this is to mix the laterite in the
bottom 1/3 layer of gravel and cap it with more gravel. I have also read
that it is a good thing to add some peat in the same layer as the laterite
but am not sure exactly how much. I assume 2 good dry handfuls for a 55
gallon tank would be about right? (I would pre-wet it before using)
I can not get profile clay soil conditioner here in redneckville, but they
do have the aquatic plant soil (in the 10 pound bags only) Should I add some
of this to the first layer also? If so how much?
I am aware that it does contain ca and mg that can harden the water some. I
already have to use about 1/3 RO water to dilute my tap to something less
than liquid rock (330-350ppm out of tap), would the peat sort of even out
the excess hardness added by the profile? Since I have to haul in RO water
for water changes I don't want to have to use any more of it than I have to
(not to mention the price @35cents a gallon x about 30 gallons a week for
all of my tanks) which leads to another question...
I have read that you can use peat to soften water for changes to get out of
having to use RO water. But I have also read that it will mess up the
ph/kh/co2 chart because of the humic acid.
Is there a rule of thumb as to how much humic acid it takes to void the
ph/kh/co2 chart? Would having peat in the substrate affect it? Is there any
other way to soften hard water besides peat I have read the household water
softening pillows etc replace the ca/mg with sodium ions and I am pretty
sure my tank does not need extra sodium since out of tap its around 112ppm.
If peat is used to soften the water is there any other way to guesstimate
co2 in a tank?
I would love to run out and buy eco-complete locally if they had it, and
ordering it online the shipping is unreal so I am trying to make the best of
what I can get within my budget. I would rather try to find a workable way
to do the substrate and save the money to get a real co2 setup eventually
to replace the diy yeast I am using now.
I would also like to be able to save that $11 a week I now spend on RO water
towards a co2 setup if I can figure out a way to soften the rock we call
water. Any suggestions?
NE Texas where rock comes in two forms solid and liquid.
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