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Re: [APD] Substrate Questions, contimued

The mulm-peat-wet topsoil substrate is less than 1/2 inch think.   Does that
sound right?   I find that I can move plants around without any worry of
stirring up the soil, unlike the experiences of others, so I am wondering.

I started my first soil substrate tank about 3 years ago and since then have converted 3 others and have nothing else. Mine aren't set up quite the way you did it. I just put 1 inch of dry soil in the bottom, covered with 1 to 2 inches of gravel (depending on size of the aqarium) and filled with water. Then I plant them and it's usually 2-4 weeks before I get around to adding fish, but Walstad reports that she adds fish the same day she fills. Anyway, done that way, the dirt layer doesn't seem to compress at all and always looks to me like about the 1 inch I started with. But I bet you do fine with the 1/2 inch layer you've got. Plant like crazy and don't worry about it.

Right now I'm experimenting. The one problem I've always had is kh and ph creep if I don't change water regularly. My well water is hard out of the tap but the kh has crept up even higher with every type of substrate I've ever used until the ph is way high (gets close to 9, so I've always done water changes of well water mixed with R/O, and I'm tired of doing that). My experiment is a small tank with FloraBase over soil. It hasn't been long enough to tell how it's going to work in the end (only 2 months), but so far the kh has been 3 and the ph 7. Plants look good and are growing and fish are fine. If this combo results in a stable ph and actually lets me go to Walstad-like intervals between water changes, I'll be very happy.

Ellen O'Connell Parker, CO mailto:oconnel4 at ix_netcom.com

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