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Re: Trying new substrate method

>From: "Kevin Reavis" <kevinreavis at email_msn.com>
>Subject: Trying new substrate method
>Hi everyone
>I am about to set up a new tank using "Steve's fertile 3 layer substrate"

<details about tank snipped>

>Finally, I found Karen,
>George, Steve, Paul, Erik and all the others posting to this list and
>writing articles that have convinced me that less is better.  So I am going
>for medium tech - minimized everywhere possible.

Apparently, you haven't been convinced enough!  Substrates do not have to
be anywhere as complicated as Steve suggests, unless you enjoy
experimenting, feel a need to try something special for a particular plant
or merely play in the sandbox.

Stick with the proven simple substrate methods of most successful aquatic
gardeners which include a bottom layer of laterite mixed with gravel; or
small amounts of loamy soil; or peat moss with or without some soil (Notice
the "or"... so don't mix and match). I can't comment on the proliferation
of new commercial products which do not yet have a proven track record or
demonstrated scientific merit. Following the simple course will eliminate a
need for answers to your other substrate questions (Which layer do I put
the additive into, etc)

Regarding Algae....
>3.  I want to use the plants, driftwood & fish from my 90 gal - but it is
>currently covered in hair algae.  I've kept up with the recent postings on
>the bleach method but was wondering why not remove all the plants and treat
>whats left with an algaecide?  Wouldn't that be better than the bleach & not
>have to tear down the tank?

YOu should also check out the postings on algicide. With them you are
generally looking for trouble.
I suggest that you use 2-4 minutes of diluted bleach on the plants. A
similar soak of the driftwood, this time followed by a more prolonged
rinse. However, I would not try it on the fish :-). A brief quaranteen in a
tank with coarse gravel bottom(another good suggestion from Paul) will be
sufficient for the fish... give them a chance to dump their digestive
system. Definitely stay away from the algicide if you mean Simazine. On the
other hand, if your current array of plants are Crypts, a dose of 0.5ppm
copper (after removing the fish) will eliminate many species of hair algae
(including beard/brush) AND be beneficial to the plants. Complete water
change afterwards is adviseable instead of carbon filtration. I am pretty
sure all the details are on the Krib or in TAG or both.

>4.  Also - I want to transfer my mature canister to the new tank.  Will the
>algaecide take care of what ever is in the filter?  If so, how long should I
>wait after treatment before moving it?
>Would it just be better to start from scratch with my canister - and
>sterilize it & the media?

The latter would be my option. As long as the reinserted plants are heathly
and plentiful, they will take care of the inevitable ammonia spike that
will occur after you temporarily disrupt the biological filtration. Keep
feeding down to a minimum for a while will also help.

>Kevin Reavis
>kevinreavis at msn_com
>in beautiful NC where spring has also finally sprung!

Don't you mean "SUMMER?" 
Kevin, if you are near Raleigh, give me a call and you can see how my
simple substrates in action.