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Re: Substrates

> I sort of thought that but wondered if they had something in the
> substrate that might release CO2 into the aquarium.

Well since all substrates have some aerobic bacteria on them, they all are
sources of CO2. They might have some organic matter that is oxidized into
CO2 in there but I don't see how they could enough to match 20ppm in the
water column for 12 months. Root uptake alone ain't going to do it either
unless you plan on growing nothing but Isoetes etc.
> 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.

It's a pain in the boodie, but when the time is right or if you decide to
redo the tank one day, then it's a good time.

I'm leary of anything that last for 12 months. Pass on that. I like SeaChem
stuff with good reason. But the others I have not tried but know a couple of
folks that have it on small tank around 20 gallons. I really don't think
I'll try these others since they cost more and I know what I'm getting with
the SeaChem stuff. There's little to be improved upon I feel in the
substrate area except the mulm and peat additions. I can add these if I want
and the mulm I add is better than anything that comes in jar or a bag. Peat
can be left out or added depending on what you want. Clarifiers can be added
if needed. I don't really care for all that stuff added in. If I need it
I'll add it.
I don't think tanks with flourite vs some other similar product will make or
break a tank. The differences are subtle but with macro nutrient dosing to
the water column, things are not nearly as subtle.
> I recall one of the early PAMs had an article on aquarium chemistry.  I
> think Jamie Johnson wrote it.

Where is that crazy feller?:)

> 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.

They have plenty of H+'s to facilitate that uptake. There ain't much NH4
floating around anyway so it's not big drain or deal for a plant to nab that

 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?).

Depends on how much NH4. Plant tanks are notoriously low in both NO3 and NH4
which is how you want it. Not much influence unless you add too much fish
etc and get an algae bloom long before fish start to die generally.

> 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.

Well some fish maybe, not all. I don't really know what fish diseases are
like anymore, been so long since I had a fish disease, I guess 15 years or
so. Rather than monekying around with pH etc, I focused on the healthy
plants. That equals healthy fish. Good food for the fish, varied diet etc
will also add some years to the critters.
>> 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.

Oopsy, I assumed it was. I saw it a few times but never in a tank. Never

>  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.

Yes, it is.

>  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.

Yea, see what they say. They seem like a decent company to me. I liked to
color I recall.

> 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
> on KH.

Well its effect mellows out about the same rate as the peat it seems so far.
Depends on how much peat and onyx sand you add and the ratio etc. But it has
not significantly changed the KH at all for 6 weeks so far.
> 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.

Why? KH is a CO2 issue.

> 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)?

Yea, but so does the onyx. Bacteria stabilize the pH pretty well later on in
substrates as they mature.
I don't add peat to reduce the KH but was    wondering if the amount I add
would change it with onyx or keep is stable. Kind of surprised the amount is
working out right.
Using peat to soften water for water changes etc is a pain IMO. I don't do
it and see no need at all for plants. A little in the gravel is fine and
good. Later, mulm and bacteria help take over.
>> Well if KH etc is the issue, red flourite is an option.
> Great stuff!  This time it is strictly just the cosmetics (color).

I want a light bone color spherical gravel with the density of Uranium,
bound NH4, iron, Zn lots of internal surface area, some peat, cheap.
>> 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 :)

Don't read too much into what I say:)
>> Regards, 
>> Tom Barr 
> 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.

I know someone has been using it. But I never have, I have always brought
Flourite or onyx sand for last 7 years. Why would I change now?:-)
Naw, it looks good but I am always leary when Marine folks come into the
plant realm. I bought my carbi sea like aragonite for 2.87$ for 50lbs and
got my own miracle mud down at an estuary for free. If you plan to grow
SeaGrasses, what is better than the same mud they grow it?
IMO it looks like a good product. I'm loyal to another product and their
service which is above and beyond not to mention knowing them personally.

Yea, I'm bias and opinionated. But hopefully in a good way for the right
> Thanks for all your help.
> Charles

I guess you need to think about what the look you want. I tend to feel like
you will not find a great deal of difference with some of these except for
the one you have to remove every 12 months(Awwwk!). In some ways using what
everyone else is using is a good way to compare notes.
But then again, you want to try out better products.

I guess I don't feel like I need a better fertilizer, gravel or CO2 method
anymore. I have everything I need to do whatever I want. Just need the
motivation to do it:)

Tom Barr