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Simon, (sorry to simplifiy),

The idea of integrating the substrate via heating cables should allow
nutrients to stay assessable to plant roots.  A good  CEC along with good
convection in the substrate
will replenish the nutrients and therefore extend the life of the
substrate, to what extent is the big question.  There are reports of tanks
lasting 2, 3yrs,  even 5+ years with a good design and proper maintenance.
My question is at what point do you start to see signs indicating that this
type of system starts to fail.  How long can you prevent it from failing ?
What and how much nutrients(macro and micro),  do you add to the
laterate/UGH substrate when
these indications occur?

I hope to finalize a 29g with heating cables (low-watt) with Dupla laterate
this weekend.  Hopefully I have some time to answer my own questions.

Tom Brennan
brennas at ix_netcom.com

   --------   Pierluigi e Simone Vicini wrote:
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 16:50:21 +0100
From: "Pierluigi e Simone Vicini" <psvicini at mdnet_it>
Subject: Substrate (Finally member)

I was seraching through the Web for some info about substrate, but I have
some questions for you.

First of all there is not a substrate that will last for more than one year
without adding some kind of fertilizer. That means that soon or later we
should start adding some macro-nutrients and maybe a little later some
micro-nutrients, because our substarte is not able to feed our plants

So if we don't want to set up the tank every time the substrate is
exhausted, we need to fertilize, so why should we care about the fertility
of a substrate? Why should we use fertile soils if they can be harmful
because they could dissolve into the water too quickly?

Given that plants use a lot of macro-nutrients and given that we sould not
be able to give to the plants all those nutrients without fertilizing, we
will probably be able to use micronutrients' rich soils to try to supply
Fe, B, Cu etc. without adding them from outside. But we will encounter
probably toxicity problem with our fishes.

Then the most important thing seems to be CEC to me. If our soils has a
very high CEC probably our substrate can keep out of the water almost all
the nutrients that we add with the fertilizer and it can release the
nutrients to the plants roots without causing algae blooms or nutrient
I mean that if we have high CEC in our substarte maybe we could fertilize
more than usually without causing any adverse effects and we can hope to
have to fertilize more rarely because the plants will find nutrinets
available in great quantity in the substrate.

So seen that we cannot make a perfect receipe for a substrate sould our
efforts be totally direct to the perfect fertilizer. Or is there the middle

I was just searching for a good substrate for my new 40g tank!!!!!

Simone Vicini (psvicini at mdnet_it)

PS Finally I should be able to say: "I'm a new member of the Aquatic
Gardner Association" and now you could say: "Oh NOooooo