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[APD] re: Substrates and mulm in non-co2 tanks

Message: 3
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 14:12:42 -0500
From: "Jim Seidman" <js5 at seidman_net>
Subject: [APD] Substrates and mulm in non-CO2 tanks
To: <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>

My current two tanks (35 and 125 gallons) are both set up as non-CO2 tanks,
with silica play sand over topsoil. I'm doing infrequent (every few months)
water changes.

My big complaint about this setup is that the play sand is fine enough that
the mulm sits on top of it. It accumulates around the plants, forms drifts,
and rises in clouds when bottom feeders swim though it. Plus, it looks
really ugly against the light-colored sand.

It's all annoying enough that I'm going to tear down and redo the tanks.
I'm trying to decide between Flourite and Onyx Sand. I like the look on
Onyx Sand better, but I'm concerned that I'll have the same problem with
mulm accumulations on top. At least with Flourite it should be coarse
enough for the mulm to settle between the grains.

Can anyone who has run non-CO2 tanks with the substrates comment on their
mulm experiences?

Jim Seidman

I have had the same experience with Onyx as you have with sand. Nothing
penetrates the top layer, and after I set mine up whenever my Cory Cats
would rummage around they'd stir up a gray cloud of dust that would settle
on the plant leaves. The Onyx buffers somewhat, if that is what you like. I
pulled mine because of the detritus not penetrating the gravel. Onyx has a
highly variable size distribution, I've noticed, whereas Flourite is more
uniform. Small enough to grow plants well, but large enough to let the crud
go down into it.

I tried Onyx right after it came out, and I think there may be two types of
Onyx sold now (sand and a larger particle size). I would buy it if they sold
it in a Flourite sized variety, but the bags I had had particles from dust
to small rock size.

I have Eco-Complete in two tanks now, and it is a nice substrate as well. It
buffers as well as Onyx, is uniform in size, and is a true black in color,
whereas Onyx is like a dark gray, not really black.

I noticed that stem plant roots pull up a lot more Eco-Complete when you
pull them up vs Flourite, so I think there is a good deal of porosity in the
Eco-Complete vs the Flourite.

I have CO2 inall my tanks, but don't think that makes a difference when
discussing this.


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