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NFC: substrate additives

Ok, here's this deal.  I've also got some questions about putting "additives"
in the gravel for growing up plants anbd fish. 
1. Why is this stuff (Hilena D, laterite, peat, potting soil, sheep manure,
and litter box scrapings??) added to the gravel?  What benefiture does it
provide the plants? 

2. OK, given that there is some benefites, it sounds like the plants take
up some kind of nutriments provided by the "rich substate".  What nutriments
are being provided?  What is a good nutriment test kits? 

3. Given that plants are using up nutriments from the rich substate that
i mentioned before, how long does the substate stay rich? How do you take
out the used up substate and make it richer again? Is this what the Python
Gravel Cleanser is all about?-) 

4. Once the substate is no longer rich, what do you do?  TEAR THE TANK DOWN
ABND SATRT OVER?  Change to African cichlids or TURTLES? 

OK, I'm going to go all out on the tank and do it the right way, but I need
to know about these questions first. 

BTW, I also want to have some nice rock-work for the cardical tetras I'm
going to make spawn inb this tank.  How big do the caves have to be?  Does
more than 1 fish have to be in the cave at once?  The price of live rock
seems pretty high the magazine ads.  Can I use live rock from the local
creek?  It's pretty 
far from the sanitation plant, so there won't any problem, right? 
Oh, and also, what's the smallest wet/dry filter I ca nput on a 10 gallon
tank?  I don't have much money and I already spend too much on the DIY protein
skimor.  Please don;t e-mail, cuz this is someones else acoount. I'll be
happy to summerize this postings. 

.. -- .. -- .. -- .. -- ..-  .--.. ..--.. ..--.. ..--.. ..--..  ..--.. ..
|  Robert J. Odemann                      |  "oh, really?  well why didn't
|  Expert Technical Aide                  |   you say so in the first place?
|  (303) 328-7448                         |           Bill the Nuisance
.. -- .. -- .. -- .. -- ..-  .--.. ..--.. ..--.. ..--.. ..--..  ..--.. ..

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