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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #693

> fertilizer tablets.  I also use liquid fertilizers.  In contemplating setting
> up the new tank, I have had the hardest time deciding on filtration and
> substrate.  The tank is coming with 2 power filters and an undergravel filter
> with powerheads.  My 29 gallon tank has an Eclipse with two bulbs.  What I
> don't like about not having an ug filter is the amount of cleaning crap off
> the bottom that I have to do -- that's fish waste, dead leaves, and so forth.
> I'm thinking a ug filter would process the waste better.  Will it really chew
> up plant roots, rob plants of nutrients, get clogged with sand or clay?  As
> for substrate, I'm trying to do this cheaply.  I have no problem with getting
> the big box of Dupla laterite, but I would prefer a cheaper method, like red
> pottery clay.  Does that work?  Also, my lfs only sell coarser gravel than
> I've seen in most planted tanks.  Will coarse sand from the hardware store
> work?

I had similar problems with buildup of leaves, fish waste, etc.  However,
the purchase of several different bottom feeders has kept the bottom
spotless over a period of 4 months now.  What they don't eat (which isn't
much) simply decays and turns into plant food. 

In my 75 Gal I have a large synadosis(sp?) cat, 2 bristlenose plecos,
1 SAE, and 3 small clown loaches (which also take care of my snails).
Between all these, the tank stays spotless.

So, rather than chance it with an UGF (which I personally feel is a bad
thing to do), just get some bottom feeders.

RE:  Substrate - you can do it cheaply, but if you are a beginner, it may
not work out for you as you plan.  And it's always easier to go with the
proven laterite.

However, my tank has 3" of very coarse gravel (aquarium store special)
over 1" of 1/3 peat, 1/3 kitty litter, and 1/3 multi-purpose sand.  It's
worked for me, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to everyone.

| Curtis V. Shambeau  |  curt at execpc_com  |  http://www.execpc.com/~curt |
|                Executive Vice President - Exec-PC, Inc.                |