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No soil aquascaping

Discussion in 'Substrate' started by janey, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. janey

    janey Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I was going to go substrate-less on 8 tanks I have that need setting up.

    Then the Amano book arrived today. It has made me desperately want lush green carpets:p and all the benefits of plants behaving like secondary filters in the tanks.

    I am thinking about things I could use in the substrate. I don't want to mess with my water params ph etc - they look so good now now after cutting with RO.

    I'm thinking of using the following: Bacter 100, slow release ferts, bonsai pumice, ph inert gravel (or sand?), maybe a little akadama?
    I'm thinking a layer with some bacter & ferts, then pumice/akadama mix, finally a cap of gravel.
    I looked at ADA penac W - is it worth including?

    Is there anything else I should consider adding from the getgo?

    Ferts - how many will roughly I need in a 24L tank & will they cause ammonia spikes? I am clueless & confused about ferts use. :confused:Can anyone recommend a decent fert to go under the gravel?
     
  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    janey

    All I can say as a beginner you are very game to try something like that.

    My suggestion would be use a proven system on seven of the tanks and experiment with one tank until you perfect a system that works for you.

    You might have to use a Co2 system as well that will depend on your choice of plants.

    I will leave this one to the plant experts.

    Keith:):)
     
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  3. janey

    janey Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Keith

    I am desperate and grappling with a low budget and little time! But a little desperation is quite a good thing sometimes it kind of forces one to take up challenges!;)

    Co2......:cautious: .....:eek::eek::eek:

    I'm thinking pretty low tech if possible. Moss, anubias, ferns, other anubias, more moss.....maybe a baby tears look alike to the foreground, is there such a thing or am I dreaming??. Very few stem plants except for easy growers - I don't even know what they are yet but am researching madly!:p:D
     
  4. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    http://web.archive.org/web/20050203174810/http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide.php

    janey

    You have two big major concerns to start off with Low budget and little time.

    OK that now means low light, easy to grow and, no Co2 plants.

    Unless you are very experienced you must slow down, do all the research first, costing, and the availability of the plants.

    Substrate cheapest and easiest to use is the standard 1-3mm river gravel.

    Dont forget the Cycling process this can take a few days, a few weeks or months depending on how its done and the cost.

    I am speaking from years of experience and years of being on Forums.

    Finally if you hurry there is a very good chance of concerns and in the end you could loose interest simply because nothing is going as planned.

    If you plan it thoroughly use the KIS Rule you will have an excellent chance of finishing with something you can sit back and admire and start to enjoy the happiness of Aquarium life.

    Keith:):)
     
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  5. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with Keith. I would not suggest ever going without a substrate whether planted or not. It is a filter in itself and the bacteria colony within it is very useful.

    I would go either with the River Gravel as Keith suggested or the Akadama which I use. I prefer akadama because it tends to soak up particles from the water column like a sponge and gives very clear water.

    With Akadama it will pull your KH down initially so you fill it up with tap water, let the Akadama pull the KH from the water. Empty the water out 24 hours again and refill with tap water. repeat until the KH is steadyish.

    Although I wouldn't suggest you or any beginner does what I do which is put the Akadama into a new setup, fill with water, then the next day empty and put new water in and the livestock that day. Would outrage many old schoolers thinking I am harming fish and shrimp but I've never had a problem r.e. fatalities etc.

    All your plants will grow under very low light. 1WPG or so should be fine however if you want a carpet you will have to tie mosses to bits of slate and let them grow across the substrate for a year or 2 :) plant carpets such as HC, Babby tears will grow fin under low light but they most definitely need CO2 to do so and I wouldn't bother with CO2 for what you are planning.

    As a guide this tank is Akadama with Mopani and low light ferns, anubias, mosses and Hygrophila Polysperma in the rear. No CO2 and is 16W LED over about 20US Gallons which will be like having 30W of flourescent. It just has shrimp in it:
    [​IMG]

    All of these tanks are pretty similar with low light and easy plants with shrimps :) This is how to use a cupboard:
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    janey

    Have we shocked you or what?

    We have given you plenty to think about and choices for you to consider.

    Keith:):)
     
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  7. janey

    janey Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Wow - thank you both for such excellent advice - I certainly have a lot to think on now.
    Supercoley I love your tank set up - and that's the best use of a cupboard I can think of! I'd rather have no clothing -lol!:p

    I am mulling over everything as I sit and keep attempting to remove the silicon beading at the top of the tanks - it's taking forever & only a blade works - & then just!

    I have got fugeray planted plus LED lights - apparently they are medium strength - just praying I don't find myself needing to learn all about CO2 next :cautious:- my poor old brain can only take so much! :rolleyes:

    I am longing to get started properly now!:)
     
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