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Old 07-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #1 
Eduka
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Sand/Soil Substrate?

I've seen a few people that use sand and soil for their plant substrate. I was just wondering how you clean this without messing up the layers? I've always just used sand and never had a problem. Do you need trumpet snails? I'm considering doing this for my tanks, but want to know a little more first lol I'm intrigued...
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:33 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Here is a link to one of my soil based tanks that can give you some insight
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=84915

The NPT's soil based natural planted tanks-you don't vacuum them per se-you can lightly vacuum the surface of the substrate but you should have plenty of plants to start and they will use this mulm/debris for food-its important that you don't disturb the soil or plant roots.

Trumpet snail are important with soil based tanks due to their burrowing habit that helps prevent anaerobic soil.

The soil based are as close to a natural ecosystem that can be created in a closed system and everything has a job so-to-speak-Once they are mature they don't need care/water changes like a regular planted tank that uses inert substrate.

Like with any planted tank-the driving force and success will be with/based on the proper color temp lights. Without proper color temp lights and photoperiod the plants can't photosynthesis and without thriving plants they can't help keep the water safe and can be the cause of water quality issues....
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:05 PM   #3 
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I've just stopped getting upset over the layers mixing a little. Some of my plants didn't make it through an algae outbreak I had and I had to put in new ones. I use a straw to get skinny stem feeders into the substrate without disturbing it, but one corner is just hopeless due to a sword with very pronounced roots. BUT everything's happy and growing again, and the algae is finally dying off. I agree with OFL, proper lighting is key! Without the right lighting, the only thing you'll grow is algae!
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:26 PM   #4 
Eduka
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OFL - Thanks! I read the whole thread lol My only question now is I have 10 gal divided tanks...would this type of set up still work? Would each divided part kinda just become its own eco-area? Or would it be too difficult? Oh, and soil...should I avoid the kind with the little white fertilizer balls in it?

Sweet - Is algae usually an issue with proper lighting? Or is it from improper lighting? Or does it matter and you get a ton of algae anyway? lol
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #5 
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Algae shouldn't happen with correct lighting. I had the wrong lights for my first month of plantedness, so I got lots of algae. But now that I have the right lighting and plenty of stem feeders, on OFL's suggestion, it's all slowly dying off. :) ((My snail is enjoying the snack, lol. Didn't want to scrub too hard on the plants it had grown on.))
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