Re: NANFA-L-- Native Aquatic Plants

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Native Aquatic Plants
From: Todd Crail (
Date: Tue Jul 27 2004 - 21:18:18 CDT


Have you had issues with cyanobacteria blooms in getting a system balanced
on setup? Or does this buffer area of sand/gravel/whatever seem to keep
them from emerging into the tank-in-large? Walstad seems to think plain ol'
soil with nothing on top is fine, but I've a friend who had nothing but a
solid cyano bloom from day 2 using the soils.

I've been very fond of letting a sand-only bed reduce nutrients into itself
with the aid of a canister filter (takes care of the mulm and breaks it into
something usable, that's for sure :) and build up over time, but I'm still
_tied_ to using a plant food supplement for things like crypts and
valiserna. I'm quite happy with the Sera Florena, but it is very costly,
and I'm too danged lazy to mix my own "poor man's dosing drops". And... I
need to start thinking about ways to cut my costs (still working on that PVC
canister filter ;).

I have also noticed that by using a good sized layer of fine gravel, it sort
of "pre filters" the mulm and breaks it down in much the same way as a
canister... In this case, it's a 2" cover of Seachem Flourite (yeah, that
saves money ha!) over a 3" sandbed. I'm sure the small stuff that Jonahs
sells of his red flint would do a similar task. However, I really like the
look of bare sand with gravelly and rocky areas, and I think I need to keep
sand exposed to continue having success with these suckers I've been
enjoying this year.

But I have to wonder if the soils could help alleviate the additives for
these families of plants, and additionally, help me have more consistent
success with bacopa and sagittaria that I've bought-in-stores (it may stand
that I just need to find wild source, but that doesn't happen very often in
Ohio, so I'm hesitant even then to remove any plants :)

So I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences :)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Laura Burbage" <>

> Regarding your questions about substrates, I generally
> use 1" topsoil with some very fine vermiculte under
> 1/2 to 1" gravel in the aquaria. Outside, I often
> skip the gravel. I sometimes skip gravel inside too,
> but only in unfiltered tanks. I'm currently
> experimenting with cat litter (clay) and vermiculte
> under gravel. For plants that are very heavy feeders,
> I occasionally stick tiny bits of miracle-grow sticks
> under the gravel near their roots. I have used sand
> over the soil (both play sand and pool filter sand),
> and the plants grow very well, but mulm tends to
> accumulate on top of the sand; with coarse gravel it
> settles lower. Lastly, I try to keep in mind where
> the plant usually grows. If it grows in mucky soil, I
> make sure my substrate is very fine. If sandy
> streams, then maybe less organic material, etc. For
> the Eleocharis acicularis you were asking about, I
> grow it in seived topsoil/vermiculite. This is
> because it's roots and runners are very fine, and seem
> to penetrate better this way, making it grow faster.
> I might use a finer gravel over this one, since its
> stems are so delicate.

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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:21:35 CDT