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Couple of things:
1. Karen mentioned Riccia forming a mat on the top of one of her
tanks. I'm growing out quite a bit of Riccia to create a Riccia lawn
and have found the stuff can really clog up a trickle filter. I have a
simple solution to this problem which I'm quite pleased with: I got a
piece of 3/8ths inch clear hose and a double hose barb fitting and made
a floating circle about 10-12 inches in diameter. Much like a feeding
ring. When it fills up with Riccia, I either tie up some new stones, or
give a few clumps the toss because I'm feeling lazy <g>. I've even
added some Salvinia and may add other floating plants. So far the
filters are all clear and running freely. A pair of breeding angels
even seems to prefer the shade!
2. Justin wrote: "Duplarit G I plan to use in the bottom 1/3, as
per instructions, and I am wondering if any benefit can be gained by
mixing in a small amount of peat and/or worm castings. Not nearly
enough to qualify it as a soil substrate, but enough to add more
nutrient value and CEC that the plants can access. Any thoughts?"
I have used Sera Peat Granules in amounts equal to
Duplarit G (which isn't much) in recent set ups and have been quite
happy with the results. No problems that I am aware of.
3. Justin also wrote: "The second substrate question I have is
that in my 60 gallon I am using a 50/50 mix of Seachem's Flourite and
gravel. I am wondering if there would be any problems with my reusing
this, mixed with the laterite, as the bottom layer of the new substrate.
I don't want to have to go out and buy entirely new gravel, but I'm
willing to if this would be a bad idea."
I haven't done exactly what you're thinking of, but
following a tip from Roger Miller a couple of years ago reporting better
success with 'dirty gravel', I don't clean old gravel I'm reusing for
the 1/3rd bottom layer. I leave the duplarit and other wastes and
products just as they are. Mind you, it's not a horrible stinking mess,
just not washed clean. I've never worried about how much duplarit was
left in the old gravel and just added new according to the instructions.
Again, without problems that I'm aware of.
4. I got a plant this weekend (thank you Tom Barr) that I'm quite
interested in cultivating. Tepoot lists this plant as Eichhornia
diversifolia (p. 138) while every other reference I have lists it as
Eichhornia azurea (Kasselmann p. 279; Baensch vol.1 p. 103;) Now that I
look at it, the Tropica catalog seems to split the difference between
the two species with a drawing labeled E. azurea (p 2.23). The plant I
have is a dead ringer for the Tepoot/Baensch pictures. Anyone know what
the deal is with this species?
Regards, Steve Dixon in San Francisco