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substrates, and heat

The question has been asked as to what Tetra Hilena
D really is.
Well, I will take a stab at this.  I think that it is potash,
or mostly potassium.
It is grey in color, and ashy in texture.  In water, it
turns into a grey/green cloud.

I have used it in past tanks as a lower substrate
additive at setup.  I don't recommend it.  It doesn't
grow plants all that well; certainly Duplarit G and K
are better, and I'm willing to bet that Substrate Gold,
Flourite, etc. are better as well.  It was available at the
time; that's all I will say for it.

My opinion on substrate heat:  I'm going to be a
heretic here:  I don't believe that heating cables set up
little convection currents which benefit plants by
making nutrients available.
I do believe that bottom heat of any kind is valuable
because otherwise you will find the substrate
temperature is quite a bit cooler than the upper water
temp.  I think that reactions at the root level go
"better"  (i.e. faster) with warmer temperatures.  In
simple terms, plants like warm roots.

I have had planted tanks with submersible aquarium
heaters and alternate setups with bottom heat (I use
"herp heat" plastic, wire-impregnated strips under the
whole tank - not in the water) and the plants do
observably better in the bottom heated tanks.

I look forward to James Purchase's experiments with
different substrates, and cables vs no cables!

Roxanne Bittman