I have the opportunity to allow afternoon sun to shine into my planted aquarium. Is this a good idea? It seems like anything that is real in nature would be good but thought I would ask to make sure.
Direct sun can be problematic. First, there is the temperature aspect; direct sun shining through aquarium glass (and the window glass first) creates heat, and it is amazing how quickly a tank (the smaller the faster) heats up.
Second, algae is more problematic with sun than diffused daylight, and it can be a nuisance even with daylight. I have a 10g in front of a window now as an experiment; the plants are doing fine (I have shades to prevent direct sun) but I have algae very fast, including a little cyanobacteria on the window side in the plants. I don't have this issue in any of the lighted tanks, and water, ferts and plants are the same.
I have a soil substrate tank in a window and it's doing wonderfully. (It also has a light over it as well)
Just have to make sure the plants get enough CO2 and ferts. With soil, it's automatic.
The soil releases nutrients, and the bacteria in the soil produce additional CO2.
Still haven't seen my plants pearl, but I don't have a speck of algae.
Also will want some sore of emersed or floating plant in a high nutrient tank so it will use the excess.
Where do you get soil substrate, are you speaking of plain old potting soil?
I use Organic Choice potting soil (and many other people do too)
There's a book..
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist by Diana L. Walstad. She's the expert in the field of soil tanks.
I also have some other sources, I'll PM them to you.
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