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Compost as substrate?

Discussion in 'Planted & Display Tanks' started by Zante, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Zante

    Zante Active Member

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    Thinking of a planted tank for my discus upgrade, and see if I can get the plants to do most of the filtration. Inspired by Dr Walstad's book, I have been considering this:

    1 inch of compost, making sure it is vegetable compost. I'm sure I can find "vegan" compost or something like that
    garden netting over the compost. This will allow the plants' roots through, but it will stop cories from digging up the compost and keep the layers separate
    1 inch of sand.

    Wood, rocks and the like would be placed on the netting and sand placed around them.

    Plants would be placed on the netting and kept in place by the sand layer until they root themselves properly

    Opinions?
    Suggestions?
    Anyone already tried something like this?
  2. simon marshall

    simon marshall Moderator & BIDKA Mentor Staff Member

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    I have do9ne this many years ago used Peat with a gravel tidy over the top, the plants grew like made with root tabs and ferts, however after 12 months the peat started to sour and smelt pretty horrendous. With modern technology now I personally don't think this is required now days.
  3. Steve Dawes

    Steve Dawes Well-Known Member

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    If you go down this route you can buy speciric aquatic compost which is guaranteed fish safe
  4. larry rogers

    larry rogers Member

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    If you bury composted material you will need sufficient plant stock to keep water from standing still in substrate. If plant stock cannot achieve circulation substrate will sour and become toxic. The only alternatives are to vacuum or use an under-gravel plate. Vacuuming will remove substrate compost and plant roots will eventually stop flow in under-gravel plate unless you reverse flow. Reversing the flow will force much of the nutrient load into the tank and cause algae problems. Try laterite clay and food tabs instead. Nutrients are concentrated under root mat and laterite helps keep plants healthy and putting down good root mat. I currently have a laterite substrate tank which has been in service for eleven years without major cleaning, breaking down tank, or vacuuming. The root mat has become so dense in the tank that the substrate has risen a quarter of an inch to an inch depending on the plant your next to.

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