Substrate Requirements/Suitable Products

Tim Harrison

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I use a hose to syphon the water out of the tank through the door and on to the herbaceous border. I also use a hosepipe attached to the kitchen mixer tap via a Hozelock adapter to refill, so no lugging of water for me either.
I never worry about chlorine etc, it's never been an issue, but if that's a concern you can dose the tank directly with a conditioner, or put it in the bucket if you use Steven's method.

My favourite back saving gadget...:)

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I think that if you're using CO2 and relatively intense lighting then a substantial weekly water change of around 50% is a good idea whether dosing EI or not; it's not just about resetting the nutrient levels its also about removing the metabolites of photosynthesis and critter waste and organics. If however, you intend to go low-energy then perhaps follow Tom Barr's "Non CO2 Methods" advice, then water changes will be less frequent and less substantial.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Tim Harrison & @Siege

I forgot to mention that I don't use tap water as it's hard water. I use re-mineralized RO/DI water as I mostly keep softwater fish.

As for "removing the metabolites of photosynthesis and critter waste and organics", I am very aware of the last two of these. I try to keep these under control by using DOC-removing media in my external filter. As for the metabolites of photosynthesis, that has given me cause for concern. That's why I started the thread below:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/do-healthy-plants-release-organics.59194/

At one time, I used Seachem Purigen but then switched to Seachem Renew. I'm not convinced that the latter is effective. When you refer to "metabolites of photosynthesis", I presume these are all DOCs?

BTW, I don't wish to go the 'low-energy' route with the tank that is the subject of this thread. But I do use 'low-energy' in other tanks.

JPC
 

Tim Harrison

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I also use the Hozelock tap connector water change method @Tim Harrison
Interested that you say you don't word at about chlorine... can you explain a bit more for me. I'm always conscious about the interaction between ferts and dechlorinator...
Pretty simple really, I've rarely used dechlorinator or conditioner, and have never had much in the way of problems using water straight from the tap. That's not to say I'd recommend that others do the same; I guess I've been relatively fortunate.
As for interactions between fertz and dechlorinator https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/using-ferts-with-dechlorinator.13290/
 

jaypeecee

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I never worry about chlorine etc, it's never been an issue...
Hi @Tim Harrison

So, what are we to make of this? Matt expressed concern about the interaction between ferts and dechlorinator. But, what about the fish, shrimps, snails, nitrifying bacteria, etc., etc.? It's not just chlorine/chloramine in tap water that poses a threat to these life forms but also heavy metals, for example. Copper, by way of just one example, has been shown to be toxic to some types of nitrifying bacteria if in excess of 0.05 mg/litre. And some species of fish will die at less than 0.15 mg/litre. The mean copper level in my tap water in 2018 was 0.23 mg/litre!

Do you have any theories/hypotheses, Tim, for this paradox? You must be doing something special. Is it possible that you run your planted tanks for a period of time before introducing fish, etc? Perhaps the plants are absorbing these toxins and chlorine gas is just being driven off?

Curiouser and curiouser (as Lewis Carroll would have said).

JPC
 

zozo

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I guess it is regionally depended on how your water quality is. In my country and region where i live we get water from the Rhine Delta. At least that's how the Water Company calls it. And they guaranteed do not use Chlorine but disinfect with H2O2. Our water quality from the tap is better and cleaner and superior to the bottled Mineral (spring) Waters from the supermarket. Our tap water quality falls under strict safety and quality regulations and is daily monitored in a lab for over 80 substances. On the other hand, bottled spring water is only checked for 30 substances with regular sampling per x period.

Strange regulations and contrast, tap water cleaner better and cheaper than the so-called healthy supermarket equivalent. :)

I can also water change straight from the tap. :)

And still the pet shops in my region i know 4 in a 10-kilometre radius all sell so-called water enhancer at the aquarium corner. I guess the people not checking up and not asking the water company for a lab report on the water quality they get. Still buy that stuff by the litres. And drink bottled water from the supermarket.
 
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Tim Harrison

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Hi @Tim Harrison

So, what are we to make of this? Matt expressed concern about the interaction between ferts and dechlorinator. But, what about the fish, shrimps, snails, nitrifying bacteria, etc., etc.? It's not just chlorine/chloramine in tap water that poses a threat to these life forms but also heavy metals, for example. Copper, by way of just one example, has been shown to be toxic to some types of nitrifying bacteria if in excess of 0.05 mg/litre. And some species of fish will die at less than 0.15 mg/litre. The mean copper level in my tap water in 2018 was 0.23 mg/litre!

Do you have any theories/hypotheses, Tim, for this paradox? You must be doing something special. Is it possible that you run your planted tanks for a period of time before introducing fish, etc? Perhaps the plants are absorbing these toxins and chlorine gas is just being driven off?

Curiouser and curiouser (as Lewis Carroll would have said).

JPC
I think Marcel summed it up fairly succinctly. I guess if water is good enough for us to drink it's usually good enough for our critters; regulations for potable supply are very stringent. Perhaps the only time there is need for concern is during maintenance on the pipeline and then water suppliers might dose chloramine.
 

jaypeecee

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I guess if water is good enough for us to drink it's usually good enough for our critters; regulations for potable supply are very stringent.
Hi @Tim Harrison

Oh dear, I cannot believe you are saying that. Just because tap water is OK for human consumption, it does not follow that it is OK for fish, etc. For example, tap water is chlorinated to render it safe for we humans. But, chlorine is toxic to fish. And the list goes on. You only have to visit water companies' web sites to see this. Here's your 'starter for ten':

https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/advice-and-services/your-water/keeping-fish/

JPC
 

zozo

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Of course, does a water company give such general advice and information. If they don't they can be held responsible. They deliver water to your house and their responsibility stops at your door, more to say at your water meter. The piping under the street and your water meter is Water Company property you pay for. If the water company states your tap water is potable you can be guaranteed that the tubing used to transport it to your house is safe.

What goes on behind that water meter on your property is your (or the owners) responsibility. In some cases, if you live in a very old 19th-century building it could be you still have parts of Lead piping or younger build Iron pipping in your water circuit. It shouldn't be, but still, it's the properties owners responsibility to replace it. It's not the water companies responsibility if the properties owner ignores this.

Thus also because they can not know about the installations condition and the size that goes from the water meter to your tap. Then they say it "Can" be the case if the water is longer period stagnant in such pipes that you have dissolved metals such as Copper, Zinc, Lead and Iron in your tap water. That is where the advice comes, depending on the volume of the installation in the building run your tap water for a few minutes to flush it out before you use it. Thus you should convince your self and know how far all this is applicable in your current situation.

In a regular average family home, the volume in the water piping is cleared with flushing your toilet once every morning. If you haven't done this for a week, then its always advisable to flush the system for a minute or 2. Since it's not only metals but also bacteria like Legionella you could worry about.
 

Conort2

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I think it’s more a problem if emergency works are done to pipes, then the water companies add chloramine which is much more harmful. For how much dechlorinator costs I wouldn’t ever risk it. Don’t fancy losing hundreds of quids worth of fish for a capful of prime at every water change.

cheers

Conor
 

Tim Harrison

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Hi @Tim Harrison

Oh dear, I cannot believe you are saying that. Just because tap water is OK for human consumption, it does not follow that it is OK for fish, etc. For example, tap water is chlorinated to render it safe for we humans. But, chlorine is toxic to fish. And the list goes on. You only have to visit water companies' web sites to see this. Here's your 'starter for ten':https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/advice-and-services/your-water/keeping-fish/JPC
Ouch...and there it is, I had a feeling you'd be picking me up on that especially as I teed myself up nicely for you to strike me down the fairway for fore...

Of course you're absolutely right, tap water can contain traces of many substances hazardous to aquatic life. But like I mentioned above, in all the decades I've been fish keeping I've not had any problems using untreated water straight from the tap. So I guess the conc. of those substances, including chlorine, have always been well within safe limits, not just for human consumption but also for aquatic life as well, which would kinda' make sense.
 

jaypeecee

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Thus also because they can not know about the installations condition and the size that goes from the water meter to your tap. Then they say it "Can" be the case if the water is longer period stagnant in such pipes that you have dissolved metals such as Copper, Zinc, Lead and Iron in your tap water. That is where the advice comes, depending on the volume of the installation in the building run your tap water for a few minutes to flush it out before you use it. Thus you should convince your self and know how far all this is applicable in your current situation.
Hi @zozo

I live in a house built 30 years ago. It has the original plumbing. I just checked the free/dissolved copper from my kitchen cold water tap as this is probably the most-frequently used tap in my house. I used the Sensafe 480042 test. It reliably measures from 0 - 2 mg/litre in increments of 0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 1, 2 mg/litre. My tap water measured between 0.1 and 0.2 mg/litre. That is consistent with my water company's figures. Last year, they ranged from 0.01 - 1.02 mg/litre with a mean of 0.23 mg/litre. So, those are the raw facts. I certainly would not want to use this untreated tap water in my tanks, which are home to fish, shrimps, snails and microfauna. That's one of the reasons I choose to use re-mineralized RO/DI water.

JPC
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi Folks,

I have finally decided to go the inert substrate route. I have chosen 'fine' sand (Unipac) with grain size from 1 - 1.6 mm. Does this sound OK from a root penetration, compacting and oxygenation point-of-view? I don't want it to 'go bad' (anaerobic/anoxic). The thing about substrates is that we don't want to make the wrong decision. If we do, it means stripping down the tank and starting from scratch. It's a bit like the foundations of a building, isn't it?

Any feedback greatly appreciated.

JPC
 
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Couldn’t agree more with you on the need to get it right!! The grain size sounds good - I remember doing a lot of research a few years about and determining that around a 2 mom grain size was about perfect for optimal plant growth. That said, I use simple play sand in my tank for a cosmetic foreground and in places it is probably to a depth of 3 or 4 cm. I have Malaysian trumpet snails which help with ensuring it doesn’t go bad but I suspect this is overkill. It’s not intended to grow plants in but some have done well in even this. Anyway suspect your in the right track here, would you want to do a “sub-substrate” under the sand such as tropica plant growth substrate (https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/substrate/) I suspect you could with your grain size.
 

Witcher

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Any feedback greatly appreciated.
hey @jaypeecee
A thin layer of garden soil below the inert substrate may work as a very good buffer for water column feed. You can regulate its acidity by either mixing it with peat or some calcium/magnesium. You can also add some CEC to it by mixing it with the clay. And you can change its aeration by adding either more sand or thicker gravel.
 

jaypeecee

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Couldn’t agree more with you on the need to get it right!! The grain size sounds good - I remember doing a lot of research a few years about and determining that around a 2 mom grain size was about perfect for optimal plant growth. That said, I use simple play sand in my tank for a cosmetic foreground and in places it is probably to a depth of 3 or 4 cm. I have Malaysian trumpet snails which help with ensuring it doesn’t go bad but I suspect this is overkill. It’s not intended to grow plants in but some have done well in even this. Anyway suspect your in the right track here, would you want to do a “sub-substrate” under the sand such as tropica plant growth substrate (https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/substrate/) I suspect you could with your grain size.
Hi Matt,

Thanks for your reply. I have decided against a layer of soil underneath the sand. I used to have this arrangement before in this same tank. But, I've taken on board a comment above by @zozo that it's possible to grow plants on glass marbles. OK, not literally! So, it's a completely inert substrate this time around. Ferts will be added to the water column only. I have considered MTS before but decided against them for fear of them breeding like rabbits. But, the idea of having MTS makes a lot of sense. How do you keep them under control?

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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hey @jaypeeceeA thin layer of garden soil below the inert substrate may work as a very good buffer for water column feed. You can regulate its acidity by either mixing it with peat or some calcium/magnesium. You can also add some CEC to it by mixing it with the clay. And you can change its aeration by adding either more sand or thicker gravel.
Hi @Witcher

Thanks for your reply. Please see my comments to Matt above.

JPC
 

Onoma1

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I am in a similar situation @jaypeecee. I have tried ADA and dosing EI and found algae a problem and 'balancing' the fertiliser, co2, lighting etc tricky. I got there but it took a a few months of trial and error and eventually went for lean dosing with Osmocote on the base. I am still running with large weekly water changes. So far its effective, however, time will tell how this is working. My dirted tank using john innes with a soil retainer and cap is much more resilient, has better growth, only needs the odd water change and doesn't have algae issues...so far.

I have decided on trying Velda Lelite 10L Aquatic Substrate For Lillies as a base for my next scape instead of John Innes. 4.99 for 10 litres. @zozo recommend this and I will try for a deeper substrate for deeper rooted plants (crypts etc)
 

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