Re: soil use

Stephen Pushak wrote in the wee small hours, Friday, April 26:
>............I also understand from comments (I'm using the imperfect
>human memory archive ;-) by Neil Frank that Dorothy is a great believer
>in using ordinary soil. Could either of you AGA members forward me
>any electronic copies describing Dorothy's methods and results or share
>observations with us here on the APD?...................

I recall reading in an article that Dorothy had in Freshwater and Maine
Aquarium Magazine (FAMA) a long time ago, that she used three or four
inches of potting soil with gravel on top.  (I vaguely recall a picture of
her holding a sword plant like a fisherman holding up a giant muskie.)  I
might be able to look up that article for you, if you are relentless in
keeping after me to do it.  Right now we are approaching senior final
exams, regular final exams and other types of madness, and I won't be able
to get to it until the semester ends.  When it does end, I plan to turn
into an undifferentiated pile of protoplasm, and it might take some
prodding to get me to do anything!

Most potting soils that I have seen have little or no actual topsoil.  They
seem to be partially composted tree bark with some sand and composted peat.

>Next question: has anyone ever had a problem with nematodes (or other
>unwelcome critters) or aware of someone who had a problem and the
>circumstances which lead to it. Specifically I'm looking for any
>instances of unwanted critters being introduced into the aquarium
>with soil or plants with soil on the roots. (excluding ich & algae)

I have never had a problem with nematodes or other soil organisms, and I
don't worry about having any.  Nematode plant parasites are all rather
specialized, and I don't think it is likely that any of them could survive
under water or in the anaerobic conditions that develop in soil under
water, let alone parasitize species of aquatic plants that they would never
run across in a terrestrial habitat.  If you poke me several times after
the semester ends, I will try looking in Fundamentals of Limnology, Vol.
III to see if G. Evelyn Hutchenson has any references about nematode pests
of aquatic plants.  You might poke Dr. Dave, also.

On the other hand, if one's plants were being damaged by nematodes, it
might not be very apparent what was doing the damage.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
Where we are having mild sunny days and cool nights.