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Re: [APD] A Substrate Revolution

I don't think there's consensus on that, but the more the merrier so long as it doesn't thwart investigation.
As for needing to add ferts on an ongoing basis, I think Diana Walstad has pretty good information that a soil underlayment tank can do well without added ferts except in the case of really hungry plants like, for example, Amazons swords (E. bleheri) that you want to be robust. At least, that's how I have understood her work.
I believe it has come to light that some of the substrates that folks thought were high in, for example, cations are actually relatively low. 
Some of the commercial substrates have some nutrients added to them, so that should reduce the need for otherwise adding ferts, although I think the availability of those nutrients is less than soil in a dirt tank.
The porous materials seem to me to get your tank going faster than the nonporous mtaerials, but I don't think it's a must -- I think the mulm matters more than the stones, however, some of the materials you mention have aesthetic value that you can't get from, say, filter sand. But that's varies by individual taste, of course.
I certainly wouldn't put the commerical plant substrates generally in the same category as "Betta Water" -- branded bottled water offered for bettas -- see for example:
have gravel, have dirt, have plants, have fun,

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----- Original Message ----
From: Bill D <billinet at comcast_net>
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 5:48:55 PM
Subject: [APD] A Substrate Revolution

For years I have been posting about the money that people waste on
"boutique" substrates, such as Flourite, Eco-Complete, Leonardite, Profile,
Power Sand, and numerous others.  My main problem was not that they
shouldn't spend their money on them if they so wanted, but that the
so-called benefits claimed had no real scientific basis and their high cost
might become a barrier to new hobbyists if they thought they had to get the
stuff to grow plants.

Now it appears that a consensus has formed that none of them seem to offer a
signiificant advantage over soil and gravel, or just gravel alone.  They all
need water column dosing anyway, sooner or later.


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