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[APD] RE: Onyx for less mulm

I think folks worried about mulm acummulation are considering the wrong
approach with the gravel.
Use more current and mechanical filtration to remove the mulm rather than
hiding it.

To that end, plants can hide mulm also, eg Gloss/Hairgrass carpets etc,
therefore onyx may give better characteristic for weekly/monthly etc
removal of mulm. 
This way the mulm does not go too far out of reach and can be removed.

Some folks might see not allowing much larger detrital materials into the
substrate as bad points, other's might see an advantage.

Mulm acummulation can build up too high in most any tank, this rather than
compaction, is likely why many substrates or substrate regions grow the
plants poorly. I've seen a few overly compacted substrates, but they are
few and far between, the size of the gravel was way too small, the owner
never replanted/uprooted. I would argue that the mulm accumulation is more
likely the issue with troubled "spots" folks sometimes have in certain
parts of their tanks. 

Peroidically removing excess mulm is a good thing, all mulm is great but is
no absolute mantra. Too much mulm can be bad as well.
Flourite is good and would process the mulm perhaps better than some finer
grains, but deep in the onyx, there's less that will accumulate, and more
on the top.   

Hiding mulm is a temporary fix at some point.The gravel alone will
generally not process it all, but weekly removal with a gravel vac is not
too bad, good filtration/current can remove it, current can hide it to a
back region where it's out of sight and can be removed during a water

As far as buffering with onyx, if you don't care for it, add some peat to
the substrate, this will equal out the buffering for awhile. Then later,
the bacteria cycling will take over which will maintain the pH to close to
neutral like most all aquatic wetland soils.

Tom Barr   

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