Best all around substrate for Monte Carlo in low tech tank?

Tim Harrison

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No worries, and thanks. UKAPS is one of the remaining few forums that is still very active, and maybe you've hit the nail on the head as to why.

To be a little more precise, it'll last indefinitely if the substrate cap has an average grain size of around 3mm, and if you water column dose fertz, like you mention.
3mm grain size will allow for water movement, nutrient transference, and gas exchange, and in turn encourage a healthy oxidised microzone.

And aside from that, water column fertz dosing combined with a good soil substrate (with a high CEC) allows you to feed plants at both sites, so just makes sound horticultural sense anyway.
 

DD1880

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No worries, and thanks. UKAPS is one of the remaining few forums that is still very active, and maybe you've hit the nail on the head as to why.

To be a little more precise, it'll last indefinitely if the substrate cap has an average grain size of around 3mm, and if you water column dose fertz, like you mention.
3mm grain size will allow for water movement, nutrient transference, and gas exchange, and in turn encourage a healthy oxidised microzone.

And aside from that, water column fertz dosing combined with a good soil substrate (with a high CEC) allows you to feed plants at both sites, so just makes sound horticultural sense anyway.
Thanks again! Has anyone or you used straight organic soul with a sand cap? Is it to messy or harder to do water changes without causing a cloudy mess and that’s why you use Tropica as or ada? Sorry for all the questions but I rarely get all these questions answered haha I hope to have the aqua scapes you guys have one day!
 

Tim Harrison

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I've used a few different soil substrates in the past, mostly garden compost mixed with moss peat.
I've also used sand caps of all different grain sizes and depths and all have worked well in addition to water column fertz dosing.
The brands in the US will be different but follow this link to the Walstad Method and scroll down and you'll find a list of suitable compost brands available to you.

As for disturbance, if you're worried use a soil retainer or gravel tidy, further info can be found in my tutorial, the one I linked earlier.
 

DD1880

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I've used a few different soil substrates in the past, mostly garden compost mixed with moss peat.
I've also used sand caps of all different grain sizes and depths and all have worked well in addition to water column fertz dosing.
The brands in the US will be different but follow this link to the Walstad Method and scroll down and you'll find a list of suitable compost brands available to you.

As for disturbance, if you're worried use a soil retainer or gravel tidy, further info can be found in my tutorial, the one I linked earlier.
Once again thank you. I feel like I have all the info I need to try this dirt tank method! I may have ran out of questions, for now! Thank you for the detailed info. I will definitely suggest UKAPS to anyone that’s new to this planted tank thing!
 

DD1880

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Once again thank you. I feel like I have all the info I need to try this dirt tank method! I may have ran out of questions, for now! Thank you for the detailed info. I will definitely suggest UKAPS to anyone that’s new to this planted tank thing!
Sorry but what tutorial did you link about capping soil and what to use to cap it? You sent me a few good links can’t find that one. Thank you, again!
 

DD1880

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I've used a few different soil substrates in the past, mostly garden compost mixed with moss peat.
I've also used sand caps of all different grain sizes and depths and all have worked well in addition to water column fertz dosing.
The brands in the US will be different but follow this link to the Walstad Method and scroll down and you'll find a list of suitable compost brands available to you.

As for disturbance, if you're worried use a soil retainer or gravel tidy, further info can be found in my tutorial, the one I linked earlier.
I've used a few different soil substrates in the past, mostly garden compost mixed with moss peat.
I've also used sand caps of all different grain sizes and depths and all have worked well in addition to water column fertz dosing.
The brands in the US will be different but follow this link to the Walstad Method and scroll down and you'll find a list of suitable compost brands available to you.

As for disturbance, if you're worried use a soil retainer or gravel tidy, further info can be found in my tutorial, the one I linked earlier.
Sorry but what tutorial did you link about capping soil and what to use to cap it? You sent me a few good links can’t find that one. Thank you, again!
 

DD1880

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And the Walstad method link you sent was very informative and gave me everything I need to know to succeed in using dirt! Thanks!
 

DD1880

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DD1880

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Oh, haha...might have got this thread mixed up with another. Anyway, I meant this tutorial The Soil Substrate or Dirted Planted Tank - A How to Guide ;)
Well look at that I have another question haha! I plan on using the drift wood or at least the large piece in my tank now that is actually attacked to a piece of slate to hold it down. Will that be a problem putting that or rocks on top of the soil? When I was reading the Walsted method I found this.
  • 1 inch of medium fine gravel (or very shallow layer of sand) to cover the soil layer (the soil bacteria need oxygen, so don't smother the soil layer with rocks, driftwood, etc). I was hoping to scape it with rocks, driftwood or both and don’t want to foul the soil! Thanks again for the help!
 

Tim Harrison

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Sounds good, look forward t reading it. The mesh keeps things surprisingly stable, and the water clear during maintenance and even if you move plants around. Either way I'm sure it'll work out fine :)
 

Tim Harrison

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Well look at that I have another question haha! I plan on using the drift wood or at least the large piece in my tank now that is actually attacked to a piece of slate to hold it down. Will that be a problem putting that or rocks on top of the soil? When I was reading the Walsted method I found this.
  • 1 inch of medium fine gravel (or very shallow layer of sand) to cover the soil layer (the soil bacteria need oxygen, so don't smother the soil layer with rocks, driftwood, etc). I was hoping to scape it with rocks, driftwood or both and don’t want to foul the soil! Thanks again for the help!
Well, it's never really been a problem for me. What tends to happen is that plant roots, especially the so called big root feeders like Echinodorus and Crypts spp., become established relatively quickly and they tend to oxygenate the rhizosphere. I've pulled Crypts out of a soil substrate with massive root systems stretching throughout the length of a 60cm tank before.
 

DD1880

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Well, it's never really been a problem for me. What tends to happen is that plant roots, especially the so called big root feeders like Echinodorus and Crypts spp., become established relatively quickly and they tend to oxygenate the rhizosphere. I've pulled Crypts out of a soil substrate with massive root systems stretching throughout the length of a 60cm tank before.
Ok good. Thanks!
 

DD1880

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Sounds good, look forward t reading it. The mesh keeps things surprisingly stable, and the water clear during maintenance and even if you move plants around. Either way I'm sure it'll work out fine :)
Mesh??
 

Tim Harrison

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Yes I think so, for two main reasons, it looks better cosmetically and also if the front gets direct sunlight you'll get a nice growth of algae, and sometimes cyanobacteria.
 

DD1880

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Yes I think so, for two main reasons, it looks better cosmetically and also if the front gets direct sunlight you'll get a nice growth of algae, and sometimes cyanobacteria.
Ahhh I got it right after I sent it! Smart. Thanks for the quick response though!
 

DD1880

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Yes I think so, for two main reasons, it looks better cosmetically and also if the front gets direct sunlight you'll get a nice growth of algae, and sometimes cyanobacteria.
What plants were you planning on growing in that gravel? I thought that was to big of gravel to plant? I like the look!
 

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