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Kevin Reavis asks about a new substrate.
its too late to get into a long letter tonight.
you don't NEED all that stuff from the LFS, the laterite, the fluorite,
the kitty litter or the vermiculite. -poof- don't need it. nothing to
gain by adding it.
Bottom layer: subsoil + micronized iron + 2 tsp FTE for 100 gal tank;
deep as you want; 1" ok
If you cannot find subsoil, clay and sand mixed will do fine. Laterite
is an expensive source of iron oxide/hydroxide IMHO. Micronized iron is
more concentrated, has more iron and is cheaper than laterite.
Middle layer: soil + peat 1/2 to 1 inch deep
Top layer: gravel - 1" deep
Nutrients to the water: No PMDD, No trace iron, no other fertilizers
needed EXCEPT the ones in the nutrient mix described on my page. This is
essentially PMDD without the trace nutrients and is dosed at water
change time. The idea is to keep it simple. If your soil has iron (most
does) and trace minerals (most does), you don't need micronized iron OR
FTE, so you can even do without those. What do you need?? dirt. ordinary
dirt. sphagnum peat. some gravel. basically its that simple. oh yes,
avoid the dirt you have to pay for; its probably got too much
compostable organic material in it. But some people even INSIST on
buying their dirt. Go figure....
If you want to concentrate on Anubias or Aponogetons, reduce the peat or
skip it altogether but after a couple of years, you -might- need to add
iron fertilizer for the Swords and Crypts.
Steve (who may be a little bit tired)