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[APD] Coal Substrate

Here along a river in Alabama I have found deposits of coal-like gravel. So
over a year ago I set up a 10 gallon with this stuff and it looks great and
it works. Within the past year I have put this in all my tanks. I have
noticed that the plants are growing well above the substrate, and even more
below. It is very light weight and is easily moved by water current and
fish, but the plants root excessively in this stuff and hold it in place. As
an example I planted a compacta sword (tropica var) in this substrate about
6 weeks ago. While trying to pull up a larger sword, this 3.5" across
compacta came up and had 18" long roots and lots of them. The larger sword
had 4x as many roots as its mother did at twice it's size and of course much

My question... Is all this rooting good or bad? I get the feeling that the
roots grow as long as they need to feel secure or looking for nutrients, so
it may not be good (sorry for personification). The plants do look good, and
the highly weathered black substrate looks great with it's faint luster. I
have read a bit on soilmaster, but I don't know if its as lightweight. Heck
I don't even know if its really coal that I'm using, but that's what it
looks and feels like to me. Do plants root this way in soilmaster? Is all
this rooting energy bad for the plant?



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