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Re: Using Pumice?

Robert H writes:

> Since a lot of substrate methods are being discussed here, I thought I
>  would throw in another one. I would like opinions on how Pumice could be
>  used in a substrate. It is high in potassium and magnesium, but low in
>  Fe. I also understand this is the prime ingridient of the Amano
>  substrate. Doesnt this stuff float in water?  How could it be used?
>  Mixed with clay?

I am currently experimenting with what I am taking the liberty to call PMAS
(Poor Man's Amano Substrate).  The genuine stuff has peat mixed in it, and it
said to be "nutrient rich", so I suspect it  has some of their "Super Soil"
mixed in.  I have it built as a three inch "layered" substrate.  I mixed in
fluval peat pellets in the middle inch,about 1 or 2 percent by volume, roughly
guessed at.  The bottom layer is peat and pumice mixed with redart clay, which
is about 7% Fe2O3.  Elvis has suggested to me that the peat will make the iron
available in the water column.  I added an inch of fine aquarium gravel for
the top layer.  I have recently aquired an iron test kit, but have been rather
hectic over the last week, and haven't checked my water column.  I got my
first plants for these two tanks about a week ago.  The Cabomba aquatica and
Anubias barteri var. nana in the thirty gallon have both put on growth.  The
nana has added two new leaves every three days for the last six days.  I still
haven't received my micronutrient mix, Dupla and Burleson kind of timed it
bad.  There also is no CO2 on this tank as of yet.

The ten gallon tank has a serious algae problem, but it also has forty
Apistogramma cacatuoides fry, which have been getting plentious quantities of
BBS for the last ten days.  In spite of daily partial water changes, the
macro-nutrient level is too high, and the light is too bright, so this tank is
out of the loop of any official "substrate testing" for a month or so while I
try to get some size on my babies.  On a side note, this is the first time
these two fish have spawned in like a year, so they like what the peat in the
substrate is doing to the water.

A week is too soon to say for sure that the stuff works, but so far it seems
to be acceptable to jungle val, Anubias nana, Cabomba, and Apistos.  I intend
to post something more informative in a few months.

Yes, pumice will float until it waterlogs, which takes a lot less time for
pumice than it does for wood.  I have a piece of driftwood in one tank that is
still weighed down by slate after 2 years.  The pumice will start sinking
within a minute, and the last of it will finally drop after a few days.  The
peat pellets did the same to me, and they took up to a month to sink.  Not
disturbing the top layer of gravel while filling the tank will minimize the
problem because the  pumce and peat will be held down by it until it loses
some of its air.

Bob Dixon