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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 list.

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

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