Byron, why not soil?
Question, why do you recommend to not use soil in first time planted aquariums? What danger could this present? OldFishLady on bettafish recommended soil/sand substrate.
I moved your post out of the article thread as this is a subject that others may wish to post on and we will get into a fairly lengthy discussion which is best in the general plant forum. You asked it of me, so I put my name in the subject.
Soil is very different from the more basic substrates of plain gravel, plain sand and even the enriched commercial substrates. You can set up a new tank with any of these, plant it, and put in fish all on day one and generally speaking it will be successful. This cannot be said of soil. There can be issues depending upon several factors such as the soil itself, the method, the plants... and most authors who advocate soil substrates do suggest either a dry start or not adding fish for up to 6 months.
I am of the view that an aquarist trying their first planted tank should make it easy, not more complicated. Many try plants once, the plants fail, and they give up. This is really unfortunate, because live plants provide benefits in an aquarium that cannot be equaled without them, both from the standpoint of appearance and more importantly water quality and fish health. I want first timers to try live plants and have them succeed. Having success from the start is much more rewarding.
This does not mean it is impossible, far from it. But it poses a different set of issues that must be recognized beforehand, and this takes some experience.
I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. So if i was to not use soil, is there any way i can have my use of ferts to a min? Id be using various plants including swords, steams and floaters.
Itd be best if i could completely not use ferts.
In most cases, using a comprehensive liquid fertilizer as the basic will cause better plant growth. This only need be added once or twice a week, depending upon plants and such as above.
Is there some issue with plant fertilizer that troubles you?
I myself wouldnt mind using the ferts. My husband, however, is hitting the limit with the animals. He hates seeing so much spending going towards them, even when i try to stretch the spending to atleast once every 1-3 months.
So even if i plant swords or java ferns, they can feed off what the tank naturally produces? The tank im wanting to plant will have max 7 fancy goldies in a 75 gal.
Ive already spoke with Olympia. She said all planted, no fake plants and feed the goldies their need of veggies and all will be fine.
IME the main problem with actual soil or potting soil with added fertz is you tend to have rather major algae problems. Which is wny I use a 1" layer of plain old canadian sphagum peat moss in the 1'x1'x3' plastic "bales".
Ill be glad to post videos of my tanks, they have very little algae. (a normal amount, the same as any tank)
However, if you want to just go with anubias, ferns, and floaters, ferts aren't neccesary. (since the plants are epiphytes anyway)
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OldFishLady had recommended ORGANIC no add ferts soils. But if it is 1 less thing to buy, I'm all for it ;)
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