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Substrate idea and water quality questions
I am thinking about trying a new substrate clay in lieu of laterite. It is
pyrophyllite clay, as described on the web at:
It is supposed to slow-release a wide spectrum of nutrient minerals, which
should help my otherwise pitiful water to support life.
I am using Natural Gold now, and the improvement over other things I have
been trying is minimal at best. I just got the latest water quality report
of inorganic contaminants, and it is amazing what is NOT in my water.
I'll just say what is---Na 17.6 mg/l ; Flouride 0.35 mg/l ; Sulfate 4.0 mg/l ;
Chloride 4.0 mg/l ; Hydrogen Sulfide 0.68 mg/l ; Fe 0.19 mg/l ; Mn 0.14 mg/l
Silica (as SiO2 ) 42.2 mg/l ; Color (whatever that means) 8.0mg/l
Here's one of those weird things. Mg is 4.01 mg/l, Ca(as CaCO3) is 26.4
mg/l, Hardness(as CaCO3) is 70.7 mg/l, and KH (as CaCO3) is 90.2 mg/l. I
thought there should be a closer relationship amongst these readings. Since
Barium is listed as ND (not detectable), I would think that if hardness and
alkalinity are both listed in terms of CaCO3, then there should be a very
similar reading for all of these things. There isn't enough sulfate showing
to account for the high alkalinity, and the calcium and magnesium don't add
up to the hardness. Strontium isn't listed, could there be that much of it
in my water? The amount of Fe, even if at a plus2 valence, is not enough to
get it that high.
As for N-P-K, neither potassium nor phosphorus are listed as being or not
being detected. NO3, NO2, and NH3/4 all show as ND, so my fertilizer/plant
food needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Now, mind you, some folks on this list keep fish in their tanks for the sake
of providing food for the plants. I, on the other hand am trying to grow
plants to keep the nitrates and algae under control, and my fish a Amazon
drainage soft-water critters. This means I don't want to get too much Ca or
Mg or CO3 in my tanks, and I would like to keep conductivity down, which may
be difficult when providing for the needs of the plants.
I ordered the six-pack from Homegrown so I can mix some PMDD based on my
water, and my goals of keeping the water soft, yet getting plants to grow. I
paid for two-day shipping, and it left Tuesday, but UPS didn't have it
delivered as of Friday. Typical for Boise.
So now I'm not sure what I need to do here. I don't want to increase Ca, Mg,
or CO3 content. I should have enough coming into the tanks during weekly
water changes, based on what's in this water report. I have pumice, redart
(No it isn't Red Art- it's not even pronounced like Red Art) clay and peat in
my current 30-gallon plant tank, which has been my test tank. I want to get
this one working, then set up the others based on the success of this one.
The redart drives my Fe readings up to .5mg/l. I am thinking of setting up a
second 30-gal with this pyrophyllite clay in place of the redart, and perhaps
using twice the recommended 10 gr/gal. It should according to the web site
article provide a broad-spectrum of nutrients. I suspect that conductivity
will rise, and if so, I will deal with that when I come to it, or just ignore
it and keep fish in this tank for sake of the plants.
So, now this post is certainly long enough. I welcome any and all
comments/feedback, from esperts and novices alike.
(the threads from this one should get R. Miller's plant discussion ratio back
where I think he wants it)