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Plug away...

Toan Tran was discussing substrates...

> I use a clay, peat moss,
> supersoil, gravel mix (see Steve Pushak's site).
< snip>
> This gives me a chance to plug
> Steve's method. It gives me robust plants, happy healthy fish, and a heart
> pleasing sight with less maintenance than my non-planted tanks--no

I agree that Steve's methodology works - I'm actually moving more and more
things over to growing in soil, with generally good results. Plug away, but
please plug accurately - Steve does NOT recommend "supersoil". I assume by
the use of that term you mean a commercial potting mix bought at either a
garden center, a home center or a super-market - the type that is mainly
peat and perlite with perhaps some manure thrown into the mix for fertility
(at least that's what's marketed as "supersoil" here in Toronto).

Steve's method calls for the dirt found either in your own back yard or a
local woodlot or pasture. Commercial topsoils and most of the prepackages
products on the market meant for houseplants and/or container gardening are
usually way too rich (high in organics) for use in an aquarium.

And on CO2, he is not yet a believer...

> There was a CO2 thread a little bit back; I dont inject co2. I have found
> the trouble of brewing co2 and constant worries of bottles tipping over,
> brew stuff getting sucked into the tank, etc. are not worth the marginal
> increase of growth (at least in my tank). Also, with co2 i have had these
> annoying patches of green and brown algae that start out as little pin tip
> spots and spread to become circular "stickers."

In order to obtain and observe the benefits of supplemental CO2, you must
have an appropriate level of lighting along with the correct balance of
nutrients present in the tank. If either of the latter two are not in sync,
the surplus CO2 is not really necessary. Your plants will grow, just a lot
more slowly than they could. But not everyone wants a jungle... so there is
nothing wrong with not using supplemental CO2 if you are satisfied with the
results you are getting.

On the subject of CO2 bottles getting tipped over and causing problems, I
saw something on the Bioplast web-site which is a neat idea and I've never
seen it discussed here. They sell a very snazzy stainless steel jacket or
"shell" for CO2 cylinders that is designed to hide it when your tank is in
the living room. They didn't give a price, but I'll bet that it would be
expensive. But there is no good reason why someone who wanted a bit of
security and/or to cover up the ugly cylinder couldn't construct a column
out of wood, paint it to match your surroundings and place a fern on top.
Properly done, it would prevent the thing from being accidentally tipped

James Purchase