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  1. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, That looks pretty good. Nice rounded grains and all quartz (SiO4) by the look. cheers Darrel
  2. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, It is just because the sand is all silica sand (SiO4), everything else has been dissolved away by the very acid water. In this <"Amazonas" article on Uruguay"> you can see some much more pebbly biotopes. cheers Darrel
  3. dw1305

    Colour of substrate compared to hard scape

    Hi all, I'm a <"rounded cobble fan"> as well. cheers Darrel
  4. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, It doesn't seem to in my tanks, but I'm using soft water, I plant really heavily, I don't add many nutrients, I don't have a huge fish stock, I feed mainly live food, I always have Trumpet snails (Melanoides tuberculata) and Asellus etc. So I'm not sure how generally it can be applied...
  5. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, That is what I have in some of the tanks, (bought as <"play sand">). Some have slightly coarser sand, which I bought as <"Aquarium sand">. Years ago I <"sourced pool filter sand">, but I'm not sure it offers any advantage and I actually prefer a finer silica sand grain. This is what...
  6. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, My guess is that you will, but I don't know exactly what processes occur in the substrate, and my guess is that <"nobody else does either">. Most plants that naturally grow emergent from water (like most of our aquarium plants) <"have adaptations"> to deal with deep, muddy and...
  7. dw1305

    Sand substrate recommendations . . .

    Hi all, Yes I reckon. As far as I know I've never had any substrate issues with sand. I've just moved the lab. tank and the sand was pretty clean after ~10 years. Long ago when I was in my "aquarium gravel, no water changes, plants as decorations", fish keeping stage I used to <"kill my...
  8. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, That is trickier, most of the local rounded gravel in SE UK is likely to be flint based and lighter coloured. You need a member from NW UK to go and collect you some from <"a mafic igneous rock source">. cheers Darrel
  9. dw1305

    Life in the substrate

    Hi all, Yes, all of those would do. I'd probably try some leaf litter from a pond, and then quarantine it for a couple of weeks and see what you get. I've been keen on getting <"a culture of Dero digitata">, so far unsuccessfully, but they are <"apparently easy to keep">. I have Naidid worms...
  10. dw1305

    Life in the substrate

    Hi all, Yes, <"the same applies really">. Have a look at Stephan Tanner's <"Aquarium Biofiltration">. cheers Darrel
  11. dw1305

    Question about sand and dirt

    Hi all, My thoughts as well. There might be microbial? advantages to a humus rich substrate for Cryptocoryne spp. etc . cheers Darrel
  12. dw1305

    Volcano mineral out of stock everywhere in uk?

    Hi all, No, its not "Power" that is important, its "ADA". How about <"garden soil">, topped with <"Moler clay cat litter">? Ten years on, I might go into the <"substrate business after all"> (below), the ADA thing is a bit more tricky, but I wonder about a name change (via deed poll) to...
  13. dw1305

    John Innes 2 young plant

    Hi all, If you use it as a base layer you won't need very much, because it is nutrient rich. If you want use a thicker layer you need to use a DSM method. Have you seen @Tim Harrison's tutorial <"The Soil Substrate or Dirted Planted Tank - A How to Guide">? cheers Darrel
  14. dw1305

    Substrate Maintenance

    Hi all, I think it can be, often because the vendors of certain products are less than honest about <"what their products do"> and <"how necessary they are">. This is another issue, trying to sort out the <"wheat from chaff">. It hasn't always <"gone very well for me"> personally, and has led...
  15. dw1305

    Tetra Active Aquarium Substrate

    Hi all, There are issues with a lot of potting composts because they contain <"composted green waste">, which tends not to be fully oxidised. Have you seen @Tim Harrison 's tutorial <"The Soil substrate..... ">? cheers Darrel
  16. dw1305

    Soil and sand

    Hi all, You can grow Cryptocoryne spp. In two inches of sand. Corydoras pygmaeus doesn’t dig so you can probably just cap the powder. Cheers Darrel
  17. dw1305

    Persisting ammonia with Amazonia

    Hi all, If it goes to 0 ppm it would show that your tank was fully "cycled". I'm not a great fan of the not cycled/cycled concept, have a look at <"Planted Aquarium query"> for a fuller explanation. Yes, that is the potential danger. Can we have a photo of the tank? It will give us a bit more...
  18. dw1305

    Persisting ammonia with Amazonia

    Hi all, Good, that sounds really promising. <"Looking at plant growth"> is just a lot easier than picking your way through test kits etc. You will have some nitrate (NO3-), I'm not anti-testing, but there are some <"issues with testing">. Don't worry it is the "Prime" that <"gives you an...
  19. dw1305

    Organic Potting Soil with Lava Rock Cap

    Hi all, The organic matter will be oxidisable, so can potentially remove a lot of oxygen from the water. Do you know what the potting substrate is? and whether it has added nutrients? Have a look at @Tim Harrison tutorial <"The Soil Substrate or Dirted Planted Tank - A How to Guide">. cheers...
  20. dw1305

    Play Sand

    Hi all, I’ve used play-sand without any issues. Cheers Darrel
  21. dw1305

    Think I’m done with Aquasoil

    Hi all, <"Sand for me as well">, and no planted quick growing stems. I'm not going to manage that bit. cheers Darrel
  22. dw1305

    Tropica Aquarium Soil - Longevity?

    Hi all, I've not used any of the <"aquarium soils">, but my guess would be that the softer ones (mainly) have a <"greater CEC">. I may be a bit cynical but I suspect for all these substrates that the companies, that exploit them, want to <"dig up a deposit">, sieve and bag it as cheaply as...
  23. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, Other reasons really. When I had some higher flow tanks (I had an excursion in Loricariids) <"I used coarser substrates"> and let the current sort them. If I kept Hill Stream loaches etc. I'd return to rounded gravel as a substrate. Have a look at @doylecolmdoyle <"loaches thread">...
  24. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, I'm not a gravel fan normally, but I really like what @Tim Harrison had done with the gravel, very natural looking. cheers Darrel
  25. dw1305

    Sulphur in soil substrate

    Hi all, It is <"hydrogen sulphide (H2S)">, we can detect it at very low levels, below one or two ppb. The issue is low levels of oxygen in the substrate, have a look at <"Winogradsky column"> link, and the <"which filter media..."> thread. There are a number of reasons why you might have this...
  26. dw1305

    Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

    Hi all, It is certainly true more generally. Ferrous (Fe++) ions are only likely to become available in acidic reducing conditions. Plants are very interested in controlling iron levels in the substrate, mainly because it combines being an essential micro-nutrient, at low levels, with being...
  27. dw1305

    Active substrate and KH

    Hi all, What is your tap water like? No, not really. All that will happen is the active substrate will stop being active more quickly. Potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) is a <"cheap and easily obtainable source of dKH">. cheers Darrel
  28. dw1305

    Bord Na Mona Growise Aquatic Compost

    Hi all, That will do. <"Bristol Water"> comes from a range of sources, Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes, the Severn (via the Sharpness canal) and some ground water abstraction. There is a new pipeline, that connects the Barrow Tanks with the Cheddar reservoir, which allows them to move water around...
  29. dw1305

    Bord Na Mona Growise Aquatic Compost

    Hi all, It is only really suitable as a minor component of your substrate, the main issue is the green waste compost, it is the '25% sustainably sourced ingredients' on the label. The problem is that it is the <"green waste"> collected from peoples <"domestic refuse collection">. This is then...
  30. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, No, it wasn't intended as a criticism of your lovely Discus. Personally I'm a wild type "tabby" fish liker, but even I don't object to a bit of colour enhancement. I don't understand all of it either. I think the important bit is that the roots are leaky structures and produce much more...
  31. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, I've got a few papers looking at using aquatic plants, in constructed wetlands, to treat wastewater. Unfortunately I haven't managed to find a more user friendly aquarium based version. There is a Danish Academic, <"Ole Pedersen">, who both works in this field and keeps planted...
  32. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, Slightly different in the substrate, some iron compounds may be reduced in anaerobic conditions and become plant available again. This is particularly likely to occur in the zones of <"fluctuating REDOX that surround roots">. Once a week should be fine for starters. That is exactly it...
  33. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, That is all right, I went through the steps in the post, but I already knew the answer was about 10g of EDTA from a quick bit of guesstimation. Been there, done that. It is only really the iron chelates (FeEDTA & FeDTPA ) that photo-degrade. You can use a brown glass bottle (or wrap...
  34. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, That is both "I do this sort of calculation" and "I get lost in the powers of 10" quite frequently. You check through your post and then this is, honestly, just <"careless typing">, it should be "20,000/1000 = 20 ppm". cheers Darrel
  35. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, Yes, you don't need anything like that amount. That is fine, you only need to know the percentage of each nutrient and the volume of the tank. Point taken, it is really easy to get lost in the powers of 10, I do it quite often. We just need to make sure we don't get anywhere near...
  36. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, Fingers crossed. It sounds a plan, try the iron and see what happens. That is it really. Plants need all <"fourteen of the essential elements for growth">, just in amounts that differ over several orders of magnitude. Plant growth is like a car assembly line, you need all the components...
  37. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, What do your plants look like, are the new leaves really small and pale? Adding iron will only make a difference if the plants are iron deficient. You should. There are dosing calculators you can use, like <"Rotala Butterfly">, or the method in the <"FeEDDHA"> thread. cheers Darrel
  38. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, That should cover most bases. Do you add a separate iron source, or just the traces? I'm not an advocate of RO for the same reasons. Have a look at <"Duckweed Index says...."> if you have very hard tap water it can mean that FeEDTA isn't an effective enough chelator to supply iron. What...
  39. dw1305

    Could it be the substrate? Tank in terminal decline...

    Hi all, What fertiliser are you using? cheers Darrel
  40. dw1305

    Is JBL proscape a good soil

    Hi all, There is a thread here: <"JBL ProScape Soil">. cheers Darrel
  41. dw1305

    Understanding flourite black?

    Hi all, You can use a <"mesh separator">. Soil with a sand capping is a good, cheap option. Sand is OK, you just need to feed the plants. Soil gives you a bit more wriggle room. Have a look at Diana Walstad's <"comments about nitrogen">. She was the original proponent of <"using soil">. Very...
  42. dw1305

    Understanding flourite black?

    Hi all, Welcome @Herrwibi. Have a look at the "Flourite" post in <"Hobby laterite....">. I haven't seen the black flourite, but it may have more carbon (C) in it, or <"possibly manganese (Mn)."> You could ask Seachem, but they are unlikely to tell you any more than is on their <"Flourite black...
  43. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, The Dennerle gravel looks to have a mix of rock, including granites and limestone. Your local stream gravel looks quite promising, I might go with that, but just separate out some of the lighter colour fragments. You might find that if you give it a good shake (in a bucket?) that the...
  44. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, That sounds like it is a softer rock. If water action had produced an approximately spherical rock then you can be pretty sure it is hard and insoluble, this works really well with beach or stream cobbles, but you can apply it to any smaller rocks (including sand and gravel). If it is...
  45. dw1305

    GRADED GRAVELS, INCREASING SIZES - CONTRASTING

    Hi all, I'd try that. If it is rounded grains? it will be fairly hard and insoluble. If you have hard tank water, and don't use CO2, having limestone gravel doesn't actually make the water any harder. The reason is that the water is already fully saturated with Ca++ & HCO3- ions, and that...
  46. dw1305

    What's Wrong With My Substrate (If Anything)?

    Hi all, I think Nerites are good algae eaters from a hard surface, but possibly less useful plants. I have soft water, and tend to like animals that will maintain a population in the tank, so I haven't tried them myself. That is back to Seachem's <"advertising skill with wording">. My guess...
  47. dw1305

    What's Wrong With My Substrate (If Anything)?

    Hi all, It is really just a matter of personal choice. I like snails and have them in all my tanks, other people (@Tim Harrison) have much better tanks than I will ever own and they don't have snails. If I had to choose only one snail to keep it would be either Red Ramshorn or MTS. If I had...
  48. dw1305

    What's Wrong With My Substrate (If Anything)?

    Hi all, I'm with @alto, I don't think the substrate has become compacted and anaerobic. Echinodorus spp. have big, chunky roots and naturally grow in muddy substrates etc. They will have morphological and physiological adaptations to allow them to utilise oxygen poor substrates. For the soil...
  49. dw1305

    New to Sand and in need of some direction

    Hi all, Cruelly snubbed. This is the finer grade sand in use, from <"Water lettuce....">. cheers Darrel
  50. dw1305

    New to Sand and in need of some direction

    Hi all, All the filter sands should be inert, the only thing you have to look out for is that they are "silica sand", because a lot of people are selling reclaimed glass. It doesn't matter for a sand filter whether its quartz or glass, but it looks a bit strange in the tank. cheers Darrel
  51. dw1305

    New to Sand and in need of some direction

    Hi all, Should be a few on <"Amazon">. If you shop around you can probably get 25 Kg delivered for less then £20. I like the finer 0.4 - 0.8 mm grade (16/30 grade), but you can get 0.8 - 2 mm (8/16 grade) as well. cheers Darrel
  52. dw1305

    New to Sand and in need of some direction

    Hi all, I'm a sand fan. Any dead leaves, or faeces, sits on top of it and can be syphoned out. Having said that I'd definitely have a sponge pre-filter on the intake, if sand gets into the filter it will cause rapid impeller etc wear. Same for me, I'd wouldn't want a whirl-pool effect. Lots...
  53. dw1305

    Is sand sand?

    Hi all, The grains will be very angular and quite sharp. cheers Darrel
  54. dw1305

    Is sand sand?

    Hi all, Often nothing, but there all sorts of interesting by-laws and rights to work mineral deposits. Sand working is really big business. Have a look at <"SOS Hayle">. Beaches in the West of Britain tend to be largely shell sand, but around <"Bournemouth etc"> they are mainly just silica...
  55. dw1305

    Is sand sand?

    Hi all, I think most water washed (or wind blown) sand is silica and round grains, purely because quartz is really hard, and time polishes off the edges. If you want a larger size of sand, that is definitely not sharp, then <"pool filter sand"> always has round grains. I usually just have play...
  56. dw1305

    Unipac Limpopo Black Sand

    Hi all, It won't do any harm, but it shouldn't make any difference. If it is silica sand with an iron oxide coating, neither of those are soluble in hard, or soft, water. Do you have a TDS (conductivity) meter? If you do then that would tell you fairly quickly if anything is soluble (TDS will...
  57. dw1305

    Unipac Limpopo Black Sand

    Hi all, If you don't add CO2? It won't raise the pH. If you add CO2 you might get below pH7 during the "CO2 on" period, but even then any extra hardness will <"precipitate out"> (as CaCO3) as soon as the gas is off. If you don't add CO2 even your 50:50 RO:tap mix will be at ~pH8 and won't...
  58. dw1305

    Mineralized Soil vs Tropica Growth Substrate

    Hi all, I'd go with silica sand and some <"oak leaf mold">, that should have the desired effect, and allow you to grew <"Cryptocoryne spp">. etc. cheers Darrel
  59. dw1305

    Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

    Hi all, The montmorillonite clays (like calcium and sodium bentonite) are also of volcanic origin, but they are physically unstable (they expand when wet) and have a very high CEC, so I don't think that is the right clay. On our campus they've just used injected bentonite clay ("drilling mud")...
  60. dw1305

    Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

    Hi all, You can ask Seachem, but I'm pretty sure they won't confirm, or deny, it. cheers Darrel
  61. dw1305

    Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

    Hi all, @Oldguy's suggestion of adding chelated iron is an easier solution. It definitely wouldn't do any harm. It probably will and that might become more likely with micro-porous pumice. Have a look at @Manuel Arias's comments in <"Which filter media...">. Iron will become available under...
  62. dw1305

    Hobby laterite balls? Any reviews?

    Hi all, That is the one, it is why all these old tropical soils are red and quartz rich, everything that is potentially soluble has been washed away, just leaving insoluble quartz and iron (& aluminium) oxides & hydroxides. The iron can't be plant available, or it would have been leached away...
  63. dw1305

    Tropica Plant Growth Substrate Lifespan

    Hi all, Yes, that is it. The only way of getting the substrate to release the ions it has bound would be to put it in a strong solution of another ion. If you have a high enough concentration of ions in solution the differential between the substrate and water will mean that a less strongly...
  64. dw1305

    Tropica Plant Growth Substrate Lifespan

    Hi all, All active substrates will stop being "active" after a while. They don't lose the ability to exchange cations, they've just reached an equilibrium point with the tank water. That is the real point CEC is "Cation Exchange Capacity" and that is exactly what it is, the <"ability to retain...
  65. dw1305

    Basic info for a newbie

    Hi all, She <"had a change of mind"> after <"Ecology of the Planted Aquarium"> was published. It is a fantastic book, but most low tech. tank keepers now use a filter (or at least have some form of water movement) and change some water. cheers Darrel
  66. dw1305

    substrate for planted tanks

    Hi all, I think there are advantages to soil, and those are some of them. Personally I haven't investigated soil partially because: I live in an area where everything is limy, and I've always used rain-water and kept (and tried to breed) soft-water fish. I don't mind going 10 miles (to the...
  67. dw1305

    substrate for planted tanks

    Hi all, I'm a sand user. I just mix a small amount of clay and semi-decomposed leaf litter (about 10% by volume) in initially, so ~90% sand. I have one tank with moler clay cat litter and the granules have remained intact for ~10 years. After I set the tanks up I don't vacuum the sand, I...
  68. dw1305

    Substrate Life Span

    Hi all, I think toxicity is likely to be largely an oxygen issue, and could potentially occur in a lot of different substrates. If you have a mineral rich substrate, that becomes anoxic under reducing conditions, then you can get toxic levels of many micro-nutrients. There is lots of work on...
  69. dw1305

    Substrate for Crypts

    Hi all, Soil would be my choice as well. I think people who grow them emersed tend to use leaf mould and soil mixes. I haven't looked around the rest of the site, but the <"emersed Cryptocoryne"> information at <"Biotope One"> looks quite interesting. cheers Darrel
  70. dw1305

    Soil enrichment

    Hi all, I think you are right, the clay based tabs will be cheaper to manufacture than the resin coated controlled release fertilisers, but the companies that produce them don't have the same economies of scale as the big fertiliser companies (Fisons, Yara etc.). We have a few threads about...
  71. dw1305

    Soil enrichment

    Hi all, I think it is becaiuse they are produced for different markets. The aquatic root tabs don't have much in the way of nutrients in them, so you don't get much bang for your buck, but you are unlikely to poison your fish. Because these are intended for pots and baskets, not aquatic use...
  72. dw1305

    Meaning of rising kH

    Hi all, That would be my guess, unless you've been topping up with DI water? You would expect that dKH would decline over time as carbonate was consumed during microbial nitrification. It is called "old tank syndrome" all thought it tends to be much less of an issue in planted tanks. cheers Darrel
  73. dw1305

    Alternatives to ADA Bacter 100 etc

    Hi all, I think @alto is probably right, and that the leaf material would give you a sudden flush of nutrients (leaves are sugar and chlorophyll (protein) rich), but not much in terms of slow release nutrients. This is when I find the <"BOD concept"> useful. It would really be down to how...
  74. dw1305

    Alternatives to ADA Bacter 100 etc

    Hi all, Personally, just let the tank grow in. Plants roots will do all the work for you. This comes up a lot on forums, have a look at <"Bacteria/biological starters"> it references a lot of the recent advances in identifying and quantifying micro-organisms in aquariums. There is also Dr...
  75. dw1305

    Substrate ideas

    Hi all, None of them will have much effect, because the active substrates work via ion exchange, they swap a an ion of lower valency in the substrate (usually an H+ ion) for a more strongly bound divalent ion (usually Ca++) in the water. If you have very hard water the substrate will very...
  76. dw1305

    Organic compost query

    Hi all, If you have a garden with clay soil you can just use that. I go and get the clay I use from the green-sand to the east of us, because our soil is alkaline and I keep soft water fish. If I had suitable clay in the garden I would use that. I think the aquatic composts have a lot more...
  77. dw1305

    Organic compost query

    Hi all, Why do you want to use garden compost? and is it from your own garden compost heap? If it is from your own compost heap? I would only use it very sparingly, if it isn't I wouldn't use it all. The problem would be that green waste compost is very rich in soluble salts (basically you've...
  78. dw1305

    Cycling without plants?

    Hi all, Pretty much, if you don't have plants you are obliged to try a <"fishless cycle">, and then rely on microbial filtration within the filter and substrate It isn't that it isn't possible, a lot of people keep fish with high water quality requirements (like Discus and L46) using bare...
  79. dw1305

    Cycling without plants?

    Hi all, I think it is like the others have said "good things come to those who wait". I don't think it matters how you got there, once the plants have grown in the tank is much more stable and resilient. An interesting point is that the more recent research on nitrifying organisms suggest that...
  80. dw1305

    Cycling without plants?

    Hi all, Yes, that is true. I wonder whether people are concerned about the high levels of ammonia leading to an algae bloom? If you don't have any plants you can leave the lights off, and then get past the ammonia spike in the dark? I've not used aquasoil, but I would definitely <"have a lot...
  81. dw1305

    New to active substrates

    Hi all, It needs to be a <"moler clay based one">, like "Sanicat Pink" or "Tesco Low Dust Cat Litter". The moler clay is a natural diatomaceous earth deposit. We don't normally tend to syphon the substrate, it isn't as important in planted tanks. I mainly use sand because any debris sits on top...
  82. dw1305

    Does Florabase Pro lower Gh?

    Hi all, Could you use rain-water? cheers Darrel
  83. dw1305

    250 liters* substrate advice

    Hi all, I've used quite fine sand and Cories really like it. cheers Darrel
  84. dw1305

    250 liters* substrate advice

    Hi all, We have a <"DIY substrate thread">, but it is from a while ago. cheers Darrel
  85. dw1305

    Long term substrate

    Hi all, I don't know, magnesium (Mg++) would be reasonably tightly bound on the clay minerals, but potassium (K+) is a mono-valent ion, and will be exchanged for ions with a higher valency fairly quickly. As @Tim Harrison alluded to ion exchange isn't a straight forward process, and ions are...
  86. dw1305

    Akadama - A cheap substrate

    Hi all, I agree with the others, air is fine but I would definitely use the HMF (or a sponge block) and <"jetlifter combo">, rather than a UGF. cheers Darrel
  87. dw1305

    leaves & gravel vacuuming

    Hi all, There are some <"threads on Planetcatfish"> about <"Rooibos tea bags">. Lindy has her own personal supplier of Loquat leaves;). Other than <"Tannin Aquatics"> I'm not aware of another seller of whole dead leaves. Magnolia grandiflora leaves are also big and structural and they are sold...
  88. dw1305

    leaves & gravel vacuuming

    Hi all, I call the leaves we add deliberately "structural leaf litter" to differentiate them from dead leaves from aquatic plants etc. I have some "structural leaves" in all my tanks. There is a useful article (on Seriously Fish), by the Betta etc breeder Colin Dunlop <"All the leaves are...
  89. dw1305

    Cant find 6/14 silica sand 25kg anywhere?

    Hi all, You should be able to get swimming pool filter sand in a suitable grade. That is really a fine gravel rather than a sand, you would need @Tim Harrison to confirm but I imagine that 2mm would do just as well.. If you don't have anywhere selling Hot tubs or swimming pools near you, you...
  90. dw1305

    Akadama - A cheap substrate

    Hi all, I'm not sure, that one is described as "hard", but you would need to find a review on a bonsai site. The moler clay granules they use in cat litter (and as an absorbent for spills) don't degrade over time. You can buy them in 30 litre bags from...
  91. dw1305

    Akadama - A cheap substrate

    Hi all, Probably from a <"Bonsai place">. cheers Darrel
  92. dw1305

    ABG Mix.

    Hi all, I think you could probably use coir (coconut fibre) instead. You can buy it as <"blocks">. cheers Darrel
  93. dw1305

    A potting soil that will lower hardness?

    Hi all, What Marcel says. There is some more detail in <"Active Substrate in action">. cheers Darrel
  94. dw1305

    Bubbles in Substrate Good sign or Bad?

    Hi all, That would be my thought as well. cheers Darrel
  95. dw1305

    Bubbles in Substrate Good sign or Bad?

    Hi all, The bottom one looks like the iron staining is occurring in the zone with fluctuating REDOX values. You get that rusty mottling in gley soils with fluctuating water tables. You can also clearly see the oxygen bubbles that have been evolved by the green algae in contact with the glass...
  96. dw1305

    Which soil? JI 1,2 or 3?

    Hi all, I'm not sure that will contain any magnesium, I think that is probably a trade name for a limestone that is at least partially metamorphosed into marble. If you calcine the rock dolomite you get "dolomitic limestone", which has both calcium and magnesium. I've bought quite a bit of it...
  97. dw1305

    Which soil? JI 1,2 or 3?

    Hi all, If you get dolomitic limestone you want it to be a nice pink colour, and even then it is only about 12% Mg. If you use dolomite you don't need a separate calcium source (it is CaMg(CO3)2). I would be tempted to mix that 50:50 with what ever soil you use. Probably Amazon Frogbit or...
  98. dw1305

    Which soil? JI 1,2 or 3?

    Hi all, I wouldn't use JI composts, but if you don't have an option JI No.1, is the best bet if the fish are going straight back in. JI seed compost would be lower in nutrients again. The number doesn't make any difference to the composition of the compost, <"just the amount of nutrients">...
  99. dw1305

    Is lava rock safe for use under the substrate?

    Hi all, It definitely will contain some available nutrients, how much will depend on the volcano and how vitrified the rock is. I think these rock are formed from basic basaltic (shield) volcanoes, so are technically are <"Scoria">. cheers Darrel
  100. dw1305

    Is lava rock safe for use under the substrate?

    Hi all, I think it should be fine. cheers Darrel
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