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Re: Substrates again

Ronnie wrote:
>If I understand you correctly, the C.parva & bekettii are also in the
>same plain gravel setup with the flowering C.blassii, and using RUGF...

No, the parva did very well in my 20 gallon with quartz lighting and the
RFUG as does my tonkensis and every other crypt I've kept. I switched about
a month and half ago and replaced the UG filter with plain Flourite and old
mulm in the 20 gallon. Plants still do great and the tonkensis seems to be
very happy and growing well finally(after what 2-3 years?!).In the 90, which
has nothing but a mature sand bed, the blassii flowered as does the
beckettii. This tank has MH's at 5500K. The beckettii flowered in both

>It would be logical if a slow flow from the fertilized water column (as
>in a reduced RUGF or from a 'T' from the canister's output) could be
>channeled to the sub-substrate manifold allowing nutrient absorption
>from both roots and foliage.  That way, it does away with substrate
>additives/fertilizers and the worry of them leaching excess nutrients
>into and over-fertlizing the water column.  Any comments?

RFUG substrate grids have been around longer(or more) than 25 years for
aquariums BTW.
I divide the them into three types based on flow.  

1# No flow/osmosis for a substrate= sand, flourite, whatever.......... No
2# low flow         "  "  "       = heating cables, pads etc.
3# high flow        "  "  "        = RFUG pump driven flow.

These are the three ways I've played with planted tank substrates. They
*all* work with many(200+ species) different types of plants. I have all of
these types at my house in different tanks. Each tank also has different
lighting types and amounts. I had the most trouble in the beginning with the
osmosis method. Anaerobic spots formed due to my adding too much soil and
many, many other mistakes. I know better now, but that was good awhile ago
back when I said "I'd never turn into one of THOSE PEOPLE that like plants
tanks with a few fish! I will always keeps lots more fish than plant tanks!
Hummf!" I admit I'm a complete failure on this.
Cables work super and pads too. RFUG does a great job too. Never had any
anaerobic spots in cables or RUGF's. If properly set up, soil works and so
does many other no flow methods.
    Personally, I like the no flow idea. Nothing to plug in. Nothing to zap
you with a jolt of electricity in the tank. Nothing to clog up or break.
Simple is good. One less thing to worry about. Just you and your dirt.
   Doing a RFUG:
 When adding the "T" or pump, make sure there's another outflow to bleed off
air and gases rather than pushing under the gravel. I don't like much flow
in the tank so I drill a small hole in the UG lift tube to add current to
the tank and let the air escape that builds up or when you prime your
filter/pump etc. 
As far as your stuff in the water column, if you have good tap water, nice
big water changes will remove any/most of your problems no matter what you
set up. Even if you subscribe to the fertilizing the water column only
method. Nothing builds up to toxic levels by doing the water changes unless
you go way overboard on something. I used laterite in such systems in the
usual fashion and after about two-three hours the tank cleared up. Some
laterite was blown out but far less than one would think. Deep sand works
better than shallow using the RFUG method. My flows range(d)
50-100gallons/hr/sqft of substrate 4-5 inches deep of 2-3mm sand. I figured
I could inject the tank with fresh laterite  yearly by pushing it into the
RFUG slowly. This way you wouldn't even have to touch the gravel to
fertilize. Just pour it down into the RFUG grid/manifold/spraybar and it's
all over the roots. I tried it a few times but I never really played with to
make any conclusions or notions about doing fertilization this way. I really
liked what kitty litter did with the RFUG though. Kitty litter on the bottom
half and sand on the top half 4 inches deep. Things grew quite well in that
set up. 
The temp stays the same through out gravel and the water column. I placed a
heater inside a 2 inch lift tube so not to melt the tube(did that twice)
that all the water goes through to the UG grid.
If you slow the flow down you can get the effect of heater cables sort
Just some ideas....  

>> Flourite gives the best of both worlds IMO. Simple, one shot homogenous
>> substrate that grows Crypts and Swords extremely well and if you forget to
>> fertilize the water column( who doesn't?) the plants don't suffer hardly at
>> all from what I've observed so far................
>I don't suppose you're running a RUGF in this 10g tank... are you?

No. Flourite only. Abused tank. Gets no maintenance for 30-45 days at a time
and no fertilizer during this time either. Plants look very healthy but over
grown and the water levels down 3 inches from evaporation when I get around
to doing any maintenance. My sister feeds the fish (all 4) once a day and
that's all the tank gets till I get to doing a water change and trim 40 or
so days later. No holes in leaves paleness or any other signs of a
deficiency. Red plants look nice. Fish food provides only nutrients except
when I do a water change.
My advice if you wish to do RFUG's: Make your own out of CPVC or PVC. It'll
cost you far less and allows greater depth penetration and less root
tangling. Also, areas of oxidation and areas of reduction are formed away
from were the water in flowing from. Tunze had a product called a
Bio-Irragator that does the same principle. I drilled my holes about 2-2 1/2
inches apart to get a similar effect. Also, I found less clogging with these
too. These work very well, as good as any other type of substrate but it's
up to you.

Since these methods all work, types substrates are less important than I
once thought. If theory suggest that one is superior to another, why are the
observational results not superior too? I have a hard time accepting theory
that does not match my observations. Maybe I'm going blind<G>.
Tom Barr