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Re: [AGA Member] old soil substrate from a planted tank

Steve Pushak wrote:

On May 21, 2004, at 7:17 PM, Steve Pushak wrote:

Richard Schiek asks
The old substrate had a rotting smell
  I assume that this is bad

No its ok, the smell is quite normal for any substrate, particularly a
soil substrate. The tank stopped being productive because you probably
ran out of nutrients that had initially made it grow well. A soil
substrate can supply a lot of nitrogen for several months and this helps
to support rapid growth. Unfortunately, the nitrogen often appears as
ammonia, which can sometimes create a green water bloom. Nitrates are
not as easily assimilated by unicellular algae but are readily used by
aquatic plants. Often all you need to do is begin dosing nitrates and
growth will begin anew.

Thanks! That fits with my experience. For about a year this tank supported very lush growth, but with intermittent algae of all sorts. Then growth stalled and I learned about dosing Nitrogen and Phosphate. Things improved, but many plants still struggled (even plane old vallisineria). Around this time bubbles would occasionally burp up from the substrate as well. After a recent vacation where tank wasn't dosed for two weeks, algae had completely taken over. So, I relented and decided to redo the tank. Hopefully it will do better on its next incarnation.



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