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Re: Substrate Questions

> Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 16:51:48 -0400
> From: John Hawkins <jhawkins at ix_netcom.com>
> I plan to use #1 or #2 gravel and will use Dupla's DuplaRit G
> (laterite). My question regards the use of peat moss as a substrate
> additive.

I don't have personal experience with peat moss so you can assume the
following is conjecture. 

I would shy away from peat in the substrate simply because you would
have very little control over the effects.  Based on my extensive
experience with just laterite in the substrate, peat is not needed.

If you want the benefits of peat filtering, put the peat in the filter
where you have better control over it.  This would allow you to use
more or less as conditions dictate.  Once it is in the substrate, you
are pretty much stuck with it unless you tear the tank down.

> I was considering layering (bottom to top) the following:
> 1/2 inch to 1 inch of gravel
> 1/2 inch to 1 inch of peat
> 1/2 inch to 1 inch of gravel
> laterite (any reason why I shouldn't use granular as opposed to balls?)
> top layer of gravel - about 1 to 1.5 inches

Elaborate layering like this won't last very long.  As soon as you
start planting, you will begin mixing the layers and bring the peat
and laterite to the top of the substrate.  When you start removing
plants for pruning, you will stir things up even more. 

We mix laterite in the lower 1/3 of a 3" deep substrate. Not as many plant
roots get down that far so mixing is less likely during planting and
pruning. The laterite that does get pulled up during pruning settles
very quickly. Note that Dupla laterite settles quickly; other brands
or red potting clay may be more problematical. Also, we use heating
coils in the substrate for slow circulation and this seems to help the
disturbed laterite migrate towards the bottom. When we have occasion
to vacuum the gravel, we rarely find any laterite in the top inch or

Need info? http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts.htm