• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Super basic how many plants question?

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
have you considered Aquasoil (like ADA Amazonia) or is that outside your budget?

one advantage you have is that you already have a 60l cube, so if you transfer over the water and filter media from your established 60l, the new tank should be "almost" cycled. (start saving your water from water changes...)

(I recently set up a 90p using fresh Amazonia v2 soil but with plants/water/media from the old tank... the tank seemed to have cycled more or less instantly because I skipped the diatom stage and went straight to scraping GDA off the glass, just like in my old tank 😅 )
I've not even looked at aquarium soil as I didn't really see what the benefit would be.
 

Simon Cole

Member
Joined
25 Dec 2018
Messages
718
Location
Buckingham
My list is £70 in plants, which is fine, but £350 in plants? Is that usual?
I used to just get one of each and replant, so I would spend around £55 for those plants in a tank of that size.
I would probably do a 30-day dark start with aquatic compost, then drain and plant. I have capped aquatic compost with gravel before in the past, because I felt that was helpful at preventing it from floating.
I used to just trim the runners off Vallisneria species, or pinch off leaves near the base.
Hydrocotyle Verticillata and Lilaeopsis brasilensis don't want to be too shaded by your other plants, the latter has tended to be quite slow growing for me before.
 
Last edited:

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
I used to just get one of each and replant, so I would spend around £55 for those plants in a tank of that size.
I would probably do a 30-day dark start with aquatic compost, then drain and plant. I have capped aquatic compost with gravel before in the past, because I felt that was helpful at preventing it from floating.
I used to just trim the runners off Vallisneria species, or pinch off leaves near the base.
Hydrocotyle Verticillata and Lilaeopsis brasilensis don't want to be too shaded by your other plants, the latter has tended to be quite slow growing for me before.
I assume the 30 day dark start before planting is to get any ammonia leached out and the soil settled?
The hydrocotyle and lilaeopsis would be out in the open. Not trying to create a carpet, just some smaller plants nearer the front.
 

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
I assume the 30 day dark start before planting is to get any ammonia leached out and the soil settled?
Again. Ammonia seems to be the only compound aquarists care for. That's sad. 😔
Ammonia will not leach out unless your soil is alkaline well above pH=8. It will remain adsorbed on soil compounds (clay, organic matter).
30 day dark start is a good way to provide time for maturing microbial life within the soil. Zonal distribution of microbes will get established and leaching of harmful organic compounds from deeper layers will diminish.
Darkness should eliminate algae and cyanobacteria.
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,004
Location
Singapore
I've not even looked at aquarium soil as I didn't really see what the benefit would be.
As a beginner I admit I have no idea whether ADA Amazonia would be better than regular garden soil, but it appears to 'work' in the sense that my research shows a lot of 'successful' aquascapes using it... so it can't be half bad, so I decided to try it - since I don't know that much, maybe I'll just copy what others are doing. 😅 Thats why I'm always visiting journals and asking their owners about how they grow certain plants successfully.

So far my tank is at week 5/6, and no regrets choosing Amazonia v2 over garden soil.
 

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
Again. Ammonia seems to be the only compound aquarists care for. That's sad. 😔
Ammonia will not leach out unless your soil is alkaline well above pH=8. It will remain adsorbed on soil compounds (clay, organic matter).
30 day dark start is a good way to provide time for maturing microbial life within the soil. Zonal distribution of microbes will get established and leaching of harmful organic compounds from deeper layers will diminish.
Darkness should eliminate algae and cyanobacteria.
My mention of ammonia comes more from it's what I see mentioned most rather than what I'm concerned about.
In 30 years of keeping fish I think in freshwater I've only tested during cycling and in saltwater it was still only occasional due to paranoia from running no 'filter'.

I guess it's a vicious cycle, if ammonia is all anyone talks about, it's going to be the main thing relatively inexperienced people pick up on and round and round it goes.

I've never really been one for testing anyway. I've never really been one for changing things to make a situation work either. I tend to just set up what I feel like and then work with what grows well with little interaction.
I guess you could call this lazy, or you could see it as just letting things find their own way.
I'm sort of rambling now.
 

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
As a beginner I admit I have no idea whether ADA Amazonia would be better than regular garden soil, but it appears to 'work' in the sense that my research shows a lot of 'successful' aquascapes using it... so it can't be half bad, so I decided to try it - since I don't know that much, maybe I'll just copy what others are doing. 😅 Thats why I'm always visiting journals and asking their owners about how they grow certain plants successfully.

So far my tank is at week 5/6, and no regrets choosing Amazonia v2 over garden soil.
Main benefit for me would be not having to go through the baking, soaking, sieving etc of garden soil and removing some of the unknown worries.

My garden soil is heavy clay. Doesn't seem to have caused any harm in my 60L. Was mainly thinking about buying it this time purely out of ease.
 

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
An easy & cheap way is to get a few cat litter - bentonite. It's a dried and partially purified clay. Suitable as a minor (5 to 10 per cent) enrichment of silica sand. It will enhance adsorption capability of your substrate - adsorbs ammonium very well (that's why it's used as a cat litter).
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,261
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
It will remain adsorbed on soil compounds (clay, organic matter).
I'm really not sure about this.

The ammonium ion (NH4+) is going to be lightly bound as a monovalent cation (in the <"lyotropic series">) , where the "strength of adsorption is proportional to the valence plus hydrated radius of the ion", giving us:
........ Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ ≈ NH4+ > Na+.
The ratio of NH3 / NH4+ (Total Ammoniacal Nitrogen) will then <"be pH dependent">, but water is an <"amphoteric solvent"> and <"both forms of TAN are highly soluble">.
Ammonia seems to be the only compound aquarists care for. That's sad.
I care about it because it (and the consequent nitrite (NO2-)) are <"toxic to livestock at very low levels">. I think you disregard it at your peril, because elevated levels can rapidly lead to a <"positive feedback loop"> with tragic consequences.
...... The LC50 concentrations (concentrations required to kill 50 percent of test animals) have the following ranges: 0.3 to 0.9 mg/L for cold water fish; 0.7 to 3.0 mg/L for warm water fish; ........ Safe concentrations for long-term exposure are around 0.015 to 0.045 for cold water fish and about 0.05 to 0.15 for warm water and marine fish & shrimp.
I want <"belt and braces">, <"plenty of plants, plenty of oxygen"> and a <"diverse microbial assemblage"> to try and keep ammonia levels low at all times.

I don't really care how people get there, but plant / microbe biofiltration (<"phytoremediation">) is definitely my weapon of choice.

30 day dark start is a good way to provide time for maturing microbial life within the soil. Zonal distribution of microbes will get established and leaching of harmful organic compounds from deeper layers will diminish.
Darkness should eliminate algae and cyanobacteria.
I like stability and a long growing in period. I've often said <"good things come to those who wait">.
......... That what I've always recommended, <"plants and time">, basically <"good things come to those who wait">. <"Seasoned Tank Time">, just gives it a <"snappier title">..........

cheers Darrel
 

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
An easy & cheap way is to get a few cat litter - bentonite. It's a dried and partially purified clay. Suitable as a minor (5 to 10 per cent) enrichment of silica sand. It will enhance adsorption capability of your substrate - adsorbs ammonium very well (that's why it's used as a cat litter).
I'm almost certain I have some ready, it's also good for soaking up spilt oil.

So your suggesting just a mix of that and sand, no soil?
 

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
Hi all,

I'm really not sure about this.

The ammonium ion (NH4+) is going to be lightly bound as a monovalent cation (in the <"lyotropic series">) , where the "strength of adsorption is proportional to the valence plus hydrated radius of the ion", giving us:

The ratio of NH3 / NH4+ (Total Ammoniacal Nitrogen) will then <"be pH dependent">, but water is an <"amphoteric solvent"> and <"both forms of TAN are highly soluble">.

I care about it because it (and the consequent nitrite (NO2-)) are <"toxic to livestock at very low levels">. I think you disregard it at your peril, because elevated levels can rapidly lead to a <"positive feedback loop"> with tragic consequences.

I want <"belt and braces">, <"plenty of plants, plenty of oxygen"> and a <"diverse microbial assemblage"> to try and keep ammonia levels low at all times.

I don't really care how people get there, but plant / microbe biofiltration (<"phytoremediation">) is definitely my weapon of choice.


I like stability and a long growing in period. I've often said <"good things come to those who wait">.


cheers Darrel
Looks to be alot of info in your post, thanks. I'll have a good read through it later.
 

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
So your suggesting just a mix of that and sand, no soil?
My suggestion is not to make matters more complicated than necessary and stick to plain silica sand.
But if you want to improve it somehow, a bit of purified clay is a good way to go. With that, you'll gain most of the potentially positive effects of soil, without those harmful ones (easily degradable organic matter).
 

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
I'm really not sure about this.
The ammonium ion (NH4+) is going to be lightly bound as a monovalent cation (in the <"lyotropic series">) , where the "strength of adsorption is proportional to the valence plus hydrated radius of the ion", giving us:
Correct, but still in natural waters ammonium in the sediment is often more abundant than in the water column by orders. And I've read some papers which described differing affinities for various cations among various clay minerals.
A few years ago I had a tank with 'experimental' substrate rich in clay, and naturally enriched with detritus. I routinely fertilize with ammonium. It took only several hours (from morning till afternoon) till ammonium completely disappeared from water column. On the other hand, nitrates remained present for days. I admit that I could not quantify plants' consumption, and I'm aware that aquatic plants generally uptake ammonium preferentially. Still, my experience suggests that adsorption of ammonium in the substrate was significant.
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,261
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I routinely fertilize with ammonium. It took only several hours (from morning till afternoon) till ammonium completely disappeared from water column.
Ion exchange <"isn't entirely straight forward">, mainly because, as well as the lyotropic series, the concentration of the ions in solution is also relevant. The <"Lenntech ion exchange guide"> is a useful document.
On the other hand, nitrates remained present for days. I admit that I could not quantify plants' consumption, and I'm aware that aquatic plants generally uptake ammonium preferentially. Still, my experience suggests that adsorption of ammonium in the substrate was significant.
Unfortunately we are back into <"Donald Rumsfeld territory">, but I'm going to suggest that the vast majority of the <"TAN uptake"> is by the plants. Again conjecture, but I'd guess what the plants haven't taken up has undergone nitrification and you are left with the <"smoking gun of high nitrate levels">.

For a <"definitive answer"> you would need to use <"labelled isotopes of nitrogen">.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,004
Location
Singapore
My suggestion is not to make matters more complicated than necessary and stick to plain silica sand.
But if you want to improve it somehow, a bit of purified clay is a good way to go. With that, you'll gain most of the potentially positive effects of soil, without those harmful ones (easily degradable organic matter).


"I experimented with most substrates available on the market over the last 10 years. I typically used two different substrates on each side of the tank just to see whether there was a significant growth difference due to the substrate.

The biggest difference I've found over the years is the difference between inert substrates (Flourite, Eco-complete, Turface etc) and soil (commercial baked soils such as ADA, controsoil, or raw soil - topsoil/dirt/garden soil). Most plants grow better, more stable in soil.
They root better and have less growth issues compared to using inert substrates. This actually makes things easier for beginners, as soil lessens the need for very tight nutrient control via water column dosing. That being said, there are plenty of tanks out there that grow plants well with inert substrates; especially if the water quality is good and nutrients are provided regularly.

For the few who are confident in managing nutrient cycles and water chemistry, soil can help provide an edge in achieving better quality plant growth. The only downside is that it can be messy - but this is easily countered by additional vacuuming/water changes after up-rooting plants."- Dennis

I more inclined towards Dennis Wong's view that using an aquasoil is actually "easier." I am certainly no expert in chemistry or plant biology, so if can purchase Aquasoil that makes it easier to grow plants that I want to grow , why not?

I am pretty certain that my Ludwigia Senegelansis will look far worse in a tank with inert substrate for example. I'm sure some expert will show me a photo of beautiful L. Senegelansis with inert substrate but I'm sure it took them a lot more effort :cool:
 

KirstyF

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2021
Messages
539
Location
Kidderminster
Anecdotally, I’ve recently had Cobomba planted in ‘mature’ aquasoil (7 mths old) that rooted well and is growing nicely within a few weeks (1 strand has reached surface level, others catching up fast) and at the same time, I planted some in a pot of brand new aquasoil (in the same ‘mature’ tank) which proceeded to mostly melt at substrate level and float away. (Now re-planted in the old aquasoil and taking hold) The one small piece hanging on in the new aquasoil (now about a month old) is only about 2inches tall and shows no signs of growing so far! (Not tried it in sand only yet I’m afraid)

On start up, however, I had any number of other plants in newer aquasoil that did just fine, although I did a two week dark start before planting and daily water changes for the first 9 days.

I also have Crypts planted in both soil and sand that are doing just fine, and I set up a new tank maybe 5 weeks ago now, with mostly sand and an aquasoil corner (new soil) and the Vals, polysperma and hydrocotyle that I threw in from my existing tank, to get things cycling, are,
so far, performingly equally in either position and are suffering neither from the new aquasoil or the lack of it.

So…..I would say that aquasoil is not a pre-requisite to a successful tank but, brand new, it can sometimes be a little unkind to sensitive plants. if you do decide to go that way, a dark start is good advice. Whether it is ammonia or organic compounds that may be released, a bit of maturity in your substrate won’t do you any harm.

If you can’t dark start…..lots of water changes at the very least….and if your Cobomba starts floating off, just re-trim and re-plant. They will likely hold eventually.

Also, chuck in plenty of nice cheap plants (like a ton of Cobomba or anything quick growing and cheap as chips) and wait….once things have settled and you’ve got past the usual, humph, I have diatoms, and then humph, I have algae and then, I’m not sure if my lights are enough, and then, how much ferts was that?’……and then you’ve sworn alot and drank plenty of beer…you’ll be just about ready to invest in that more expensive stuff to make it look prettier! 😊
 

GraemeVW

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jun 2022
Messages
130
Location
Chesterfield
Anecdotally, I’ve recently had Cobomba planted in ‘mature’ aquasoil (7 mths old) that rooted well and is growing nicely within a few weeks (1 strand has reached surface level, others catching up fast) and at the same time, I planted some in a pot of brand new aquasoil (in the same ‘mature’ tank) which proceeded to mostly melt at substrate level and float away. (Now re-planted in the old aquasoil and taking hold) The one small piece hanging on in the new aquasoil (now about a month old) is only about 2inches tall and shows no signs of growing so far! (Not tried it in sand only yet I’m afraid)

On start up, however, I had any number of other plants in newer aquasoil that did just fine, although I did a two week dark start before planting and daily water changes for the first 9 days.

I also have Crypts planted in both soil and sand that are doing just fine, and I set up a new tank maybe 5 weeks ago now, with mostly sand and an aquasoil corner (new soil) and the Vals, polysperma and hydrocotyle that I threw in from my existing tank, to get things cycling, are,
so far, performingly equally in either position and are suffering neither from the new aquasoil or the lack of it.

So…..I would say that aquasoil is not a pre-requisite to a successful tank but, brand new, it can sometimes be a little unkind to sensitive plants. if you do decide to go that way, a dark start is good advice. Whether it is ammonia or organic compounds that may be released, a bit of maturity in your substrate won’t do you any harm.

If you can’t dark start…..lots of water changes at the very least….and if your Cobomba starts floating off, just re-trim and re-plant. They will likely hold eventually.

Also, chuck in plenty of nice cheap plants (like a ton of Cobomba or anything quick growing and cheap as chips) and wait….once things have settled and you’ve got past the usual, humph, I have diatoms, and then humph, I have algae and then, I’m not sure if my lights are enough, and then, how much ferts was that?’……and then you’ve sworn alot and drank plenty of beer…you’ll be just about ready to invest in that more expensive stuff to make it look prettier! 😊
That's very helpful, thanks.
I already knew that cabomba really isn't going to care what the substrate is, just a few of the others that might. I'm assuming (well, completely, 100% guessing) the Nymphaea may do better in decent substrate.
Considering I want the tank to pretty much be 80% cabomba, maybe I'll plan the planting a bit more, be selective about where I add soil, dark start it for a few weeks at least, then chuck in as much cabomba as I can. Add the other plants once that's settled down and is growing.

There won't be enough, but I could probably steal the substrate from cube to help things along. The cube will end up as a quarantine tank so won't need it. The fish that are waiting to be teansfered can just have some new sand for now.
I was planning on putting half the cubes filter foam in the new filter, but stealing it's substrate would help the new tank along even better.
Edit... maybe I won't take the old tanks substrate. It's under control, but there is algae in it. Probably best not to transfer that over.
 
Last edited:

eminor

Member
Joined
5 Feb 2021
Messages
485
Location
France
I won't put soil under sand, i'll use only inert soil in the future, it's always a mess with soil when you uproot the plants
 
Top