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Re: [APD] Is it possible to "charge" a high CEC substrate?

Jerry wrote:
 I am wondering whether it is possible to "charge" a substrate with a
high CEC like Turface. My idea is to soak it in a strong solution of
chelated micros (like TMG or PMDD) and perhaps even macros, rinse it,
and then place it in the tank. My theory being that at least some of its
exchange capacity will hold on to the stuff. Does this even sound
plausible? Seems like it might be a way to give the substrate a "head
start." Or, it might be a good way to flush a lot of fertilizer and
waste a couple hours.

You'd probably derive some benefit for the amount of time the micros were
contained in the substrate,
but I would not think it would last that long. Wouldn't a substrate
amendment, like Plant Tabs, be a better long term solution? I dose TMG in
the water column, and use Plant Tabs in the substrate for long term
supplements for root feeders.

I use Eco-Complete planted aquarium substrate by Caribsea exclusively now. I
a familiar with Caribsea from my reefkeeping days. They are one of the
largest marine/reef substrate companies out there, and make a really high
quality product, IMO. I replaced all my Flourite with Eco-Complete. Not
because the Flourite didn't work or is not a good product, but that the
Eco-Complete is dark black in color (my favorite for planted tank
substrates), and it is EXTREMELY porous. Look closely at it and there are
many, many edges on the outer surface, along with lots of visible pores and
I would guess there are micropores as well..

Another benefit I noticed with this substrate is that when I set up a tank
with it, all GH and KH supplement additions become unnecessary for an
indefinite time, well over a year in many cases. My tap water has a GH/KH of
< 1, and I had to supplement GH and KH in all my tanks set up with Flourite.
The tank water settles into a GH and KH of 4-5, which is fine for planted
tanks. For someone wanting to manipulate GH and KH to an exact level, then
maybe this is a drawback, but if it means less testing and chemical
additions, it saves me time and money.

My guess is that either the Eco-Complete has some buffering action from its
makeup, or has a really high CEC that makes very efficient use of the micros
and macros I add thru feeding and TMG, or some combination of both.

The only drawback is that it is lighter than Flourite, so sometimes plants
initially don't stay rooted as well as with Flourite.

Aquabotanic has a nice primer on substrates, including a nice layman's
explanation of CEC. I found them very useful.


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