Base layer

Gregory Day

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which would be the best base layer to use tank is 8x5ft. I will use sand on top also how much would I need
 

Gregory Day

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Thanks for that good reading I’ll go with the aquatic Compost and peat and maybe add some clay (Which type would work)


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Tim Harrison

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Aquatic compost is loam based which means it already contains clay; roughly equal parts sand, silt and clay. If you want a larger proportion of clay just increase the ratio of aquatic compost.
I've found that once aquatic compost has mineralised and turned in to sediment it becomes very cloddy and more clay like in structure. The peat stops this from happening by adding a bit more structure.
Either way, I would recommend that you still EI dose with dry salts; it'll be the most economical way to water dose fertz, and that if you want to add nutrients to the soil just throw in some Osmocote; 16-18 month slow release.
 

Filip Krupa

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Just my 2p.

Ive a layer of cheap inert sand in my 2000L.
EI dose the column, and no root tabs.
Everything grows like mad. Even sword plants who everyone says are heavy root feeders.

Fil
 

Tim Harrison

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That's true @Filip Krupa, and you've got some really great growth. But it just makes good horticultural sense to feed plants through both leaves and roots. And I think on the whole plants tend to do a bit better if they're planted in a soil substrate as well. There are other benefits to using soil, like providing a buffer against mistakes such as missed fertz doses. And I think perhaps soil also encourages increased microbial activity that can help to mature and stabilise a tank biologically and in a shorter period.

So personally, even though you can theoretically grow plants in marbles alone, I'd always use a soil substrate of some description, whether that's plain old dirt or Gucci substrate like ADA AS.
 

Filip Krupa

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That's true @Filip Krupa, and you've got some really great growth. But it just makes good horticultural sense to feed plants through both leaves and roots. And I think on the whole plants tend to do a bit better if they're planted in a soil substrate as well. There are other benefits to using soil, like providing a buffer against mistakes such as missed fertz doses. And I think perhaps soil also encourages increased microbial activity that can help to mature and stabilise a tank biologically and in a shorter period.

So personally, even though you can theoretically grow plants in marbles alone, I'd always use a soil substrate of some description, whether that's plain old dirt or Gucci substrate like ADA AS.
Thats more than fair.
I cant say I didnt have my doubts when using inert substrate alone. Pros and cons to everything.

Either way, I think its important to point out the options. Especially for a tank this big.
The costs mount up pretty quickly.

Fil
 

akwarium

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over here in dutch-style tanks it is quite common to use only an inert substrate. (mostly because uprooting and replanting is often used in stead of trimming) So yes you can have good plant growth without some kind of soil. Nutrients from the water column will also reach the roots. But it will only work with a strict dosing regime. Tanks with a soil substrate are much more forgiving.

There are many DIY recipes, all are based on a mixture of peat and clay with some sand/gravel/pumice/etc to improve water circulation and root penetration. The thicker the substrate layer te more important this is.
 

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