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Topsoil/vermiculite and

Bill Ruff <bruff at lcse_umn.edu> wrote:
I set up my 70 gallon tank in April with a topsoil/vermiculite and
silica sand substrate.
After three months it is producing large bubbles of what I assume are
hydrogne sulfide. (...) the bubbles don't seem to affect anything yet.
On the plus side: THE PLANTS love the soil. you can see the roots going
down through the sand and into the dirt. A little vein of dirt came up
into the sand and a Val offshoot followed the vein down!
On the negative side: I'm worried about the bubbling gas!>>>>>

I agree with everything you say with the only difference that:

- in my 75 gal. with vermiculite/soil/sand and Heckel Discus the soil
does not want to stay below the sand, even with minimal or no
disturbance. After I added to the HOT Magnum an Aquaclear with some
floss I regularly clean, the turbidity is under better (but not
complete) control. Algae do not represent a relevant problem.

- the Heckels, neon tetras and the wood shrimps seem to be very happy.
The wood shrimps in particular love to sift through the sediment. Most
plants like swords and floating ones are great, but some stem plants
with small leaves suffer from the silt. It's just a matter of choosing
those who adapt or like this type of environment.The look of the
aquarium is very "natural".

- I can't convince myself to worry about the bubbles in the substrate,
as long as the load of actively decaying organic material is not totally
disproportionate to the size of the aquarium. If mud substrates are
really so deadly, how many fishes/organisms that spend their entire life
in them would not exist?