Temporary substrate that'll bed plants?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Simon D, 8 Dec 2008.

  1. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    I've got a relatively small tank 60x30x45 approx net 60 litres (EI dosed) with substandard CO2 injection. It is not as heavily planted as I would like but with replanting trimmings the plant are expanding! I'm currently stocking Vallisnaria (x2 species), Echinodorus Paniculatus (Amazon Sword) and Cabomba.

    The problem I have is the substrate. I currently have 3-5 mil pea gravel and intend to upgrade both the tank and the substrate but will not be in a financial position to do this for about six months.

    I'm currently injecting CO2 via aerosole (Tetra Plant CO2 Depot) but this is not enough to change the DC from Blue to anything that even slightly resembles green. I'm still waiting for my reg/solinoid from Aquatic Magic, now nearly three weeks, bit strange that all the cheaper accomliaments (ordered at the same time) were sent the day after and arrived within a week! When and if this arrives I will then set up the FE for more stable CO2 injection.

    In the meantime I have got this "bug", that I am sure you have all had, whereby plants are doing brilliant and want more and a better environment. The plants seem to be growing very well since I started EI dosing (thanks again Ceg for the brill tutorial!).

    I know I've not started off on the best foot, but basically just set up an unplanted comminity aquarium about a year ago and this has evolved into an obsession with a planted tank.

    Backto the main point:

    Is there anything I can add to the existing gravel to make plants root easier. I don't have the facilities to rehome the fish until a nutrient rich substrate has ballanced out. I'm running an EHEIM internal rated at 550 lph and want to upgrade this to an external turning over at least 15 times p/h.

    Can I add some sand to make planting or replanting offcuts easier? I find that plants are up-rooted quite easily even in a low flow and put this down to the size of the gravel substrate.

    The EI dosing has made my plants go mad with growth (Cabomba almost 5 inch per week) and this is with inferior CO2 injection.

    Not intersted in changing substrate outright, as this is part of the larger and later plan. I just want an easier (smaller grained?) substrate that I could mix in with existing gravel and will hold newly cut stems better.

    Any ideas would be gratefully accepted!

    OOOH, Post number 25, that means I can now go onto for sale/wanted/swap forum!

    Many thanks in advance
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    If you're dosing EI and looking to replace this substrate soon then I'd simply stick some cheap 2-3mm gravel in with the larger gravel. It will work between the larger gaps making it easier to secure the cuttings. Then, when you have the cash, get some really good all-in-one substrate.
  3. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Thanks Ed, I get your point and this will probably work well for me.
  4. scottturnbull

    scottturnbull Member

    Why not use Rockwool cubes to establish the cuttings? Then plant out when the roots begin to show. There's also the added benefit that if the cuttings fail, and the stems begin to disintegrate, you can easily remove the Rockwool, without getting decaying material between the substrate.

    On the downside, fish tend to eat anything that looks like food. Rockwool might irritate them, as it tends to release a small amount of fibre particles when it's disturbed. Using net pots helps, but not completely.

    The kind I've seen attached to Tropica plants doesn't seem as prone to releasing particles, for some reason. I have a suspicion that Grodan supplies Tropica with a different type of Rockwool, specifically for submerged use. It's either that, or they treat the Rockwool with a wetting-agent, or something. I'd sure like to know.

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