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RE: [APD] Substrate Questions, contimued
I'm intrigued by these soil based tanks. What type of soil do you use?
It's obviously not some potting mix sold at Hardware house. Do you dig
it up from your back yard, or is there some standard soil? What exactly is
Actually I do use potting soil from the local hardware store, although I
looked long and hard and read a lot of labels before choosing, as I wanted
something as additive free as possible. Evidently a lot of people are
using Miracle Grow, which has fertilizers added, but I've been satisfied
with the plainer potting soil and so will not change. The original
recommendation from Ms. Walstad (and I followed her recommendation in my
first soil substrate tank) was to dig up soil from your backyard, but I
live in Colorado. The soil here doesn't even grow weeds well, so I never
considered using it.
I just use gravel in my tanks and have no problems.
My first planted aquarium was gravel with laterite in the bottom layer. It
did well enough but went through every algae stage, which the soil-based
tanks have not, and I was always dealing with some deficiency or another
because I wasn't very good at keeping to a fertilization schedule. Also
wasn't very good at consistent water changes -- I'd do them weekly, then
something would come up and they wouldn't get done for a couple of weeks,
so then I'd be debating how much was safe to do, etc. Finally, unlike some
aquatic gardeners, I don't like pruning and trimming and fussing. I like
to get something set up that's pretty to me and leave it like that and look
at it a lot, so fast growth isn't desirable for me.
I think there are lots of different ways to do aquatic gardening and
different ways appeal to different people, so if you're happy, don't change
the way you do it just because people are discussing a different way on the
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