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re: Flourite



It's interesting to read some of the postings so far on Flourite.
I have two planted tanks, a 50 gal. and a 35 gal.  

The 50 gal. was set up with regular aquarium gravel with no 
special preparation in terms of fertilizer tablets, etc.  (I didn't
know a whole lot at the time about substrate preparation.)
I have had this planted since the end of October and after an 
initial bloom of diatoms (which took some patience and some 
removal of plants to wash them off) the tank settled down and 
started to look great in about two months. I have a DIY yeast
CO2 set up with the bubbles being fed into the intake tube
of an Aquaclear filter.  Plants are growing well (have had to
trim them weekly) and very green.  I'm experimenting with
dosing the plants with FloraSan - one or two drops daily
and they seem to have responded well (prior to that some
plants showed some yellowing - lack of iron?).  I have some
algae growth (I have to clean the tank glass weekly and some
of the slower growing plants like anubias have algae growing
on them, but the faster growing plants like hygro difformis
have no trouble at all with algae on them).  At any rate,
I'm pretty happy with this tank.  By the way, I have 4-40w
flourescents on the 50 gal.

The 35 gal. was set up with Flourite (but I did not prep the
Flourite with any fertilizer tablets).  Like everyone else's
experiences - it was very dusty and took forever to rinse.
I think I still did not rinse enough - there was a scum film
that appeared for probably a week or so that I continually had
to try to skim off.  This tank was planted about a month
after the 50 gal. (in November) and it still does not look
anywhere near as good as the 50.  It also has a DIY yeast
CO2 set up.  It is hard to keep buoyant plants in the
substrate - it is so light, it is also hard to vacuum without
sucking up all the Flourite - where I can vacuum the gravel
in the 50 gal. and not worry about losing any plants or
substrate.  When I planted the 35, I took some plants from
the 50 gal. - it is interesting to note that several of these
plants that I moved have shown little to no growth, yet
their counterparts that were of comparable size when
I moved these plants are at least double in size.  I have
not seen a lot of root growth either.  Perhaps some of
that is due to a lack of fertilizer in the substrate, but
both tanks started without fertilizer, and since Flourite
is supposed to take the place of laterite, I would think
that the Flourite would be a better media.  I have
4-30w flourescents over the 35 gal. tank, yet plants
are not as green or lush as the 50 gal at the same
time span since startup.  It is now almost two months
with the Flourite, and it looks nowhere close to what
the 50 looked like then.  I'm considering taking the 
Flourite out and going back to gravel since it worked 
so well in the 50.

Both tanks, by the way, have fancy goldfish in them,
but no other inhabitants (no SAE).

- Lori Wong