EI Natural substrate...

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by bugs, 15 Sep 2007.

  1. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    I'm really keen on a dark brown topping over the top of the soil substrate in my proposed EI Natural tank. The only such 'gravel' that I can find is the ADA stuff, however, I suspect that it's nutrient basis may not be compatible with a "true" natural set up. Any views and opinions?
     
  2. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    bugs,
    What does "true natural setup" really mean? Are you setting up a tank for enjoyment's sake or for the sake of being "true"? The fact of the matter is that there is absolutely nothing "true" or "natural" about any aquarium. No natural system for example uses flourescent lights, electric powered filters or electric heaters. The collection of plants in any natural biotope hardly ever resembles the manicured presentations that win contests, and neither do they contain the combination of species we normally assemble.

    The term "nature aquarium" was never meant to signify anything other than a design concept which was departure from the traditional "Dutch" aquascapes (which were based on the principles of flower arrangements.) Nature aquarium designs are caricatures or impressions of a scene conceived in the mind of the designer. Ironically, these scenes are more often than not terrestial in origin - a shady glenn, a rocky outcropping, an open savanah , a mountain valley. It only takes one viewing of a natural history documentary on television to realize that most natural freshwater aquatic scenes are rather drab and dreary. So I don't think our objective ought to be to try to imitate nature, since this would be not only hopelessly impossible, but even if acheived would be hopelessly boring. Instead, think about using nature as an inspiration in your design to acheive the realization of the idea of a natural setting.

    You should therefore get a gravel topping that
    A) helps to grow plants well.
    B) reminds you of , or implies a natural setting when implemented.
    C) is pleasing to you.

    That could turn out to be Amazonia, pea gravel or Corn Flakes or anything in between, depending on the limits of your imagination. Successful execution of a "natural" looking scene using whatever props or materials are available will demonstrate the difference between art and forensic taxidermy.

    Cheers,
     
  4. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Thanks for your response. My reference to "true" and question was not so much exploring what was pure "natural" in the truest sense, rather whether ADA would upset the (organic) balance of an aquarium using a soil base, no CO2, etc (e.g. Diana Walstead's method). Cheers.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    bugs,
    OK, thanks for clarifying (disregard the previous post in that case). You would hardly see a difference. The idea behind using the soil in a non-CO2 injected tank is that the plants will feed predominantly from a nutritious substrate and will be supplemented by water column feeding only as a secondary source. The chemical and bacterial processes that occur in the natural soil will also occur in AS. There is therefore not necessarily any conflict between the various types of "enhanced" soils versus natural soils, and they are more or less interchangeable and intermixable within this context.

    Cheers,
     
  6. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Many thanks.
     
  7. BobJ

    BobJ Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Northwest
    Hi Bugs,

    I can supply the Dark Brown gravel 1-2mm if you are still interested. Its from Dennerle. Please send me a PM and I'll drop you some contact details.

    Cheers
    Bob
     
  8. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Thanks for the offer. I'm currently in the planning phase - working out how best to stretch my budget (and finding the time to make the change). However, I may get in touch at a later stage to see if the offer still stands, if that's OK.
     
  9. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Like the look of Red Sea Flora Base. At least based on the bag pics I can on the web. Anyone used it in their tank?
     
  10. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

    Messages:
    512
    Location:
    Cardiff, Wales
    I have.
    Plants grew ok however it has a tendancy to crumble up and over time you will lose some of it through water changes etc. For the price, I would go for ADA AquaSoil.
     
  11. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Good point about ADA given the £££ comparison, altho I don't know a great deal about the ADA stuff - I'll have to check out what's in it. Cheers.
     
  12. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    That's a good point. I've used the tropica substrate and the Flora Base and both are a pain when re/moving plants. Unless you're happy with a complete overgrown jungle, you'll probably want to re/move some plants at some stage. I did this with some stems and crypts and pulling them up, even very slowly, dispersed clouds of grey silt into the water. I now try to avoid moving anything!I don't know how AS compares to this.
     
  13. louis_last

    louis_last Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Edinburgh / Dunbar - Scotland
    the dennerle gravel somebody else mentioned is good stuff. I'm using it in my new moss tank.
     

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