[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Moon's clay, Karen's laterite, and input request on substrate heat

Mmmm, a couple of things...

Moon just posted:

>Obviously since my description of collecting my own clay for aquarium
>purposes was received with little or no comment. My plants are doing great
>now, what should I look for that would indicate that my choice of substrate
>was lacking in some fundamental way?

Sorry, I must have missed your post. Maybe I was too busy mouthing off <g>.
If your plants and fish are doing well, your selection of substrate must
have not been too far off base. Don't look for trouble, it has a tendancy to
find us all with no problem.

I have to apologize to everyone. A few issues ago, I promised to shut up
about laterite, but Karen posted some interesting comparisons since then,
and I'd like to comment.

Karen shared her personal experience with several laterite products. One
thing I'm wondering about though, is her inclusion of Tetra's Initial D (Now
called Initial Sticks, I believe) in the list. Is this really a laterite
product? I thought it had a lot of peat moss in it? I haven't used it in
years myself, and my memory at this time of night is not perfect, so I'm not

Karen noted that there are a few of us using Flourite and so far, so good.
It isn't laterite but, as I hope everyone realizes, a good substrate or
substrate doesn't _have_ to be laterite in order to work well (I just get
frothy when people insist on using the term "laterite" to refer to things
like kitty litter). I've only been using Flourite in one 20 gallon tank for
a few months, but I've got to say that so far, this is probably the nicest
substrate material I have _ever_ used. My plant growth is beautiful, and it
just "looks" so natural and real.

I have used Terralit, and as I recall, it was OK. Aqualine Buschke produces
a complete line of aquarium products and even though I can't read German,
from what I have seen on various websites in Germany indicate that theirs is
a product line which is probably the equal of Dupla's. They even make
computer based controllers. (O.K., so technology gets me excited!)

Hopefully, once I gather all of the bits and pieces of equipment together
for my "study tanks", I can share a bit more information on the observable
differences (if any) between the major commercially available product lines.
I know that many people mix and match, or use whichever is cheapest, or on
sale, or even go outside and dig up their backyards, but the vast majority
of people appreciate the convenience of commercially available products and
it should prove interesting to see how they compare side by side in tanks
set up using identical equipment, water, lighting, etc. I realize that
individual tanks sitting side by side can differ even if they start out
identical, but I should be able to learn something (if only how expensive
this hobby can be).

[for the benefit of those who don't know, I plan to set up four tanks, 33 US
gal 24X18X18, using identical filtration, lighting, CO2 supply, substrate
volume, plant and fish load, measured food input, similar maintenance and
water changes. The differences between them will be in whose products get
used in the different tanks. One will use Dupla products, another Seachem, a
third Aqualine Buschke and the fourth I'm still trying to decide - it's a
toss up between Steve's HTBASS method and Aqua Design Amano's products. The
study will probably run for about a year.]

I have a request - if any of you would care to provide input, I'd appreciate
it. Several of the major "schools of thought" on aquarium plants recommend
substrate heating. I know the pros and cons, and I'm not looking to start up
_that_ debate again, but I have been considering including substrate heating
as one of the parameters which I will be looking at in the study. I have
located a company which can supply me with substrate heating cables at an
affordable price (like, 10% of what a Dupla set up would have cost me when
they were still available). These things are 20' long, silicone coated, 50
W, and run off of mains voltage (no transformer required). I've read the old
posts in the archives and understand that some people have expressed concern
over the fact that they are not "low voltage" like the 24 volt Dupla cables,
but I figure that if we use submersible heaters in our tanks, these things
should be no more dangerous.

The 50W heating capacity (for the 20' long cable) is in line with the
heating strength of the cables made by Dennerle. Given the spacing
recommended by Geroge Booth for Dupla style cables (1.5"), I would be able
to place one of these cables in one half of each of my study tanks. I could
use a plexiglass divider to keep the unheated substrate isolated from the
half which receives heat.

Now, Neil and Karen seem to be of the opinion that if substrate heat is
useful at all it is only useful in the long term (+ 1 year), while George B.
seems to feel that they are necessary for a true "Dupla style tank".

Anyone care to comment on my thinking of comparing how substrate heat might
affect the growth of plants in several different types of substrates?

James Purchase