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RE: Rich substrates

Tom Barr wrote:

Adding stuff to the substrate isn't necessary in established tanks and
"needing" a rich substrate is not a requirement by any means, for such a
tank. I have sand only in my 90 gallon but it's rich in snail poop and mulm.
My plants get their nutrients from liquid fertilizer(which you'll have much
more control over BTW) and fish population. You can do it both ways is my
point here. It is not a needed thing to do nor one I would wish to do
myself. A rich substrate can be with nothing else but good old mature sand.
Why do you wish to add laterite to the bottom anymway? If things are going
well, don't change things simply because someone wrote or someone's site
No need to do a bunch of work if you don't have to. Laterite works well to
help a tank "get going" but it is not needed later on. I haven't used it in

Tom is right.  My first tank was setup for just fish with only sand, then a
month later I got the bug to plant it.  It was a disaster for the next
couple months until I started adding Jobes sticks.  But then, after month 8
or 9, I found I didn't need anymore substrate fertilizer, the substrate
seemed to mature and become self supportive.  

My current tank, which has a Profile substrate, also seemed to hit this
magical maturity level at about month 9.  The tank is about to become 1 year
old, and I haven't added anything to the substrate for at least 3 months.

Bob Ashcraft
Pittsburgh, PA