[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Soil Substrates

Niall McCarten wrote:

> The bottom line is not to have too much organic matter in the aquarium
>substrate.  As many people have mentioned previously we
>do not want to duplicate the marshes and wetlands found in nature where
>organic matter can be up to 40 percent or more of the soil substrate.  May
>be Neil Frank and Karen Randall can shed light on
>the amount of organic matter in the substrate in their aquaria. 

Neil has had a lot more experience with soil substrates than I have.  I
have only recently started to experiment with soil substrates "at large" in
a few tanks.  Most of my experience with soils is with it confined in pots.
 My usual routine is to fill the pots about 3/4 full with potting soil,
throw in a teaspoon of either laterite or micronized iron and top with an
inch or so of fine grained gravel.  I use this method to grow a number of
plants which do not do well in a laterite/gravel substrate in my tap water

In the 3 tanks where I'm currently using soil at large, I have mixed
relatively small amounts of potting soil with the bottom 1/2 of the gravel
and topped with clean washed gravel.  These tanks are a 6 month old 29G
tank, a 3 month old 2 1/2G tank, and a 3 week old 55G tank.  The only one
that (I think) I used the same potting soil that I used in the pots that
went bad was the 2 1/2G.  So far, mixed with gravel, I haven't seen any
sign of it causing a problem in that tank, although there was a small
outbreak of cyanobacteria in the first few weeks which I haven't seen in
the other tanks. 

The inhabitants of that tank are 2 Otocinlus and a filter feeding shrimp,
all of which are pretty intolerant of bad water conditions, and they same
to be doing fine.  (the shrimp actually polished off the cyanobacteria for me)
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association