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In response to my question about three substrates,
Tom Barr wrote:
>> Their ad even says "No additional Carbon
>> Dioxide system required".
>Well I can say that about any substrate. Doesn't mean it'll grow plants
>well as adding CO2 gas. So what does that really mean? Not much.
>I can add peat and claim the same thing.
I sort of thought that but wondered if they had something in the
substrate that might release CO2 into the aquarium.
>> FloraBase is pH stabilized and will assist in
>> maintaining the correct pH beneficial for aquatic plants.
>Again, what's this mean? CO2 not pH is the issue.
>> It will maintain a stable pH between 6.5
>> and 7.0 and it is not recommended for use with fish that need a
>I hate it when folks say a certain pH is good for plants. Why?
>This is a bunch of crap. I routinely can take folks and see plants at a
>of 5 and a pH of 7.8 and the plants are growing great. What does this
>when they say this?
Yes, with GH and KH >12 and a substrate made primarily of gravel with a
couple of laterite balls and the junk that has accumulated over a couple
of years (I guess you call this mulm) I have grown plants too (thanks to
you guys on the list). I first became aware of this list and planted
tanks just after setting this tank up with a gravel only substrate and
have never had time to tear it down to fix it.
I recall one of the early PAMs had an article on aquarium chemistry. I
think Jamie Johnson wrote it. It had a section discussing the
ammonium/ammonia balance (NH4 <=> NH3 + H+) being influenced by pH. At
an acidic pH (<7.0) the equation is driven to the NH4 side which as I
recall the article said plants use. With a basic pH (>7.0), the
equation is driven the other way to a higher ammonia concentration. I
thought this was a bad thing (doesn't it kill fish?). Since pH is the
concentration of H+ and a lower pH (more H+) would ensure all of the NH3
(kills fish) gets used up making NH4 (feeds plants). I also seem to
recall from a long time ago when I first started with fish (no plants)
that a slightly acidic pH made for healthier fish - something about
fungus having a tougher time in pH < 7.0 and the slime coat being
healthier and more disease resistant with pH < 7.0.
>> It takes about an hour for the pH to stabilize after first use. If
>> have GH >> 8.0, the resultant pH may be above 7.0. What I found most
>> interesting was "For best results replace FloraBase after 12 months".
>Now there's a wonderous job.
>> Now wouldn't that be fun! As if tank maintenance and chemistry
>> enough. I guess that is to replenish the carbon contributing
>> in the substrate.
>A substrate should get better with time, not worse. Just when a tank
>mature and stabilized you have to break it down? I guess some companies
>only thinking 12 months ahead.
>> Volcanit is a pH neutral aquarium gravel of volcanic origin. The fine
>> pore- structure of the gravel encourages bacterial activity that
>> enhances the biological release of nutrients in the gravel. Volcanit
>> mixed with 5% ferrolit; a zeolite bound long term iron fertilizer.
>> resultant black and red color of the Volcanit enhances the beauty of
>> aquarium plants and the color of your fish.
>This is decent. A bit like profile/Turface etc. Some volcanic rock has
>PO4(good) and is pretty light weight(bad).
Am I missing something here? I do not see anything in their information
indicating volcanit contains volcanic rock other than the similarity of
the name Volcanit and volcanic. Is volcanit a formal name for a
geological material (like laterite) or is it a trade name only? I had
assumed it was a trade name. This is primarily why I posted this. This
stuff is way out of my area of experience. I have e-mailed AB Aqualine
asking for info but have not heard anything yet.
>> Does anyone have any experience with these last two? Can those in
>> know surmise anything from the descriptions? Excluding FloraBase
>> explicitly says not to mix with anything else, can or should you use
>> these with other substances (gravel, laterite, substrate fertilizers,
>No, you will not need any laterite, that's for plain sand. You can add
>ground peat and mulm from a mature tank's gravel bed to any new tank.
>Adds what you need.
>> I know many of you will say get some Flourite or Onyx. I have some
>> Flourite and have used it with success. I would use it on this new
>> but there will be a lot of it and the color just does not look good
>> the room the new tank is going in (after all the decorating we have
>> I have to keep my wife happy). My tap water is about 12-13 KH so I
>> little afraid of using something like Onyx that might further
>> my KH.
>Add peat the bottom and it'll maintain the KH, might even lower it
>some:) My tanks has peat + mulm and onyx. My KH has not moved about
>4ppm, less than 1/2 a degree.
>Therefore this is not an issue.
I am surprised to hear that Onyx only raised your KH 4 ppm. With all
the info from Seachem about it being great for maintaining a high KH for
African Cichlids I would have figured it to have a much greater affect
Will peat actually lower the KH. I have been thinking about a little RO
mixed in with my tap water to get the KH down to the 4-8 range. Will it
take the water down from 12 to the 6-8 range? Does the efficacy of peat
change over time (get used up and need replenishment)?
>> Although I like the color of FloraBase I am a little reluctant
>> to use it for similar reasons: not sure what the pH buffer in it is,
>> how that buffer affects CO2 addition (pH table - although they say it
>> not required), wondering what pH I would end up with at GH and KH
>> 12 to 13, and definitely do not want to replace everything in a year.
>Well if KH etc is the issue, red flourite is an option.
Great stuff! This time it is strictly just the cosmetics (color).
>Onyx is nice. I use it in a non CO2 tank and am pleased.
I am going pretty high light with this tank and will need the CO2 to
keep up. Yes I do listen to you :)
Still nothing about Eco-Complete (http://www.carib-sea.com/Carib1.htm).
Tom, do you or anyone else have any thoughts about it? I kind of like
their attitude about it - they put the plant nutrition information right
on the package and in their ads.
Thanks for all your help.
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