03-04-2008, 12:22 PM
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First of all, I did not only recommend the thinning of your substrate for the just the plants sake. The weight alone of the gravel will lead to compaction. When the substrate compacts two things happen. One is the roots cannot spread easily. The second thing is bacteria die off. When this happens, deadly methane can build up in the substrate. This can not only cause the death of plants and fish, this stuff BLOWS UP!!!! As in KA-BOOM!!! EXPLODES!!! I have never had it happen, but I've never tested that theory either. Nor do I want to. I know of no fishkeeper, and I know a couple or so, that has ever used a substrate as deep as 5" over the entire bottom of the tank. 3" is more than sufficient. Especially using a product as good as Eco-Complete. Complete and total overkill. Oh, you can do gravel sweeps more often than I do to prevent the compaction, but wouldn't that upset the root growth of the plants? (just thinking out loud here) You might have to do it every 2 weeks. I sweep and stir mine about every 4-6 months.(it's twu it's twu)
Also, by adding the filtration, and using carbon to filter out any excess nutrients in the water, you pull food from the algae. And sweeping the tank, you pull any unwated plant growth(algae, again) from the tank. not to mention the nutrients in the water column will be dillueted with the new water added. And the carbon has a two fold purpose by adding carbon to the water column. Maybe not to the extent of some liquid products on the market, but rather in smaller quanitities. The filters would also clear your water allowing more light to reach your plants, enhancing their growth cycle. A neat concept, is it not? Cleaning you decorations, substrate, and plants of unwanted material(algae, maybe) will force the algae to start over thus lessening the available nutrients. (could this really be true?)
So, bad advice? I hardly think so. I have never, let me repeat, never, ever had the experience you've just gone through in my tanks. Not even once or a little bit. And I've set up a few new tanks as I have been hanging around the hobby a little longer than most. I think that I can attribute my good fortune to common sense, good aquarium basics, good filtration, good lighting, good substrate, practicing what I've learned, and a little patience.