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Jacques' substrate"and set-up: Advice?
I'm in the throes of setting up a plant tank utilising some of
what I've read both in the Krib and from the archives of this
forum. Please note that I live in South Africa, where most of the
wonderfull things you have access to simply do not exist.
Tank is a 50L type (about ten gallon I suppose), 30cm high by
30cm deep by 60cm long.
I propose to use a three layer substrate: On the bottom 1cm of
red clay(ish) subsoil, covered by 2.5 to 3cm of 1/2
garden soil, 1/2 vermiculite (topsoil here is a rather heavy
clay) to which I'll add my own mixture of trace elements
(equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon FTE with extra Mo and
Chelated Fe as well as EDTA). I'll probably add about a cupfull
of earthworm castings to this layer. This will be topped with
2.5cm filtersand (grainsize 1-1.5mm).
Planting will be mainly Valisneria and what I suspect is Cryptocorine
wendetii (spelling?), along with Java moss, Java fern,
Lugwedia repens and Lemna minor. I've been experimenting with CO2
injection ala yeast reacter type but I haven't had much luck getting
much CO2 ie I'm getting a bubble a day. Bad batch of yeast I suspect.
Now for the really tricky bit. The tank's inhabitants will be
Nothobrachius palmquisti, so the water will be moderately hard, ie
local tap water, and will have a small amount of salt in it, about
1/2 tsp per gallon I guess, to prevent velvet disease. I'll also be
fertilising with a water column fertiliser containing Mg, Nitrate
and K. Lighting will be a single suspended 20watt Triton (Purchaced
from nearest stockist: CapeTown: a mere 860km away as the crow flies)
with a reflecter. No aeration or filtration, although I might add one
as a simple mechanical scrubber which would also provide some water
movement to break up leaf surface boundry layers.
BTW I'm a botanist working on Sugar Cane.