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I won't dignify my little project by calling it an experiment as there are too many variables; however, the results so far are interesting to me. I set up one small tank with a sand substrate and DIY CO2, no regulator,etc. and one small tank with potting soil and sand substrate and no CO2. Both tanks have received 1 weekly dose of Flourish Comp and a 50% weekly water change. The CO2 tank housed 1 betta and some snails and the soil tank just had snails. The lighting is "roughly" the same. Both tanks have produced very healthy root systems. Even the stem plants that were planted in the substrate developed lush roots. The CO2 tank seemed to produce bigger, taller plants. The soil tank produced more compact plants with more leafs.

One thing that I have found interesting is that some plants in the soil tank actually drooped over night and stood back up after the light had been on for a while.

Anyway, hope this has been of use and I would appreciate any insight / info on the results.
 

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Hi Fish Monger,

Sounds like a lot of work and observation went into your substrate and CO2 experiment and you got results! Congratulations! I'll have to leave it to others to interpret them. BTW, what was the name of the soil and do you know if fertilizer was added by the manufacturer or not?

Thanks!

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The soil is Scotts Organic Potting Soil. The ingredients are listed as forest products with a "wetting" agent. The lighting is low intensity 6500 tubes. I wasn't worried about the soil too much because I didn't intend to add fish. The non-regulated CO2 didn't concern me either because the only fish is a betta and my PH is very high anyway. This was kind of a little try it and see project. As I said, I am really pleased with the root development in both. The CO2 is from the DIY sugar, yeast, and 2 liter recipe. I was looking at the soil tank one day and a few giant bubbles came up from the substrate. Big bursts of CO2 I suppose. It's something fun to try if you have a couple of spare containers sitting around.
 

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....

One thing that I have found interesting is that some plants in the soil tank actually drooped over night and stood back up after the light had been on for a while.

Anyway, hope this has been of use and I would appreciate any insight / info on the results.
What plants are they and do they do this in other tanks as well? I know that a good number of terrestrial plants do something similar so I wouldn't be surprised if it were a natural day/night plant thing.

Experimenting is always fun, even if it isn't the most scientific of methodology.

Jeff.
 

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"... I was looking at the soil tank one day and a few giiant bubbles came up from the substrate. Big bursts of CO2 I suppose. ..."

The same thing has happened in my gravel substrate tank - not huge bubbles but bubbles nonetheless. It makes me think of "dead spots" in the substrate and SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide) which smells like burnt eggs or something like that. I could easily be totally wrong, but I am going to take a chopstick to the gravel.
 

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I have that all the time, mostly from around the driftwood. It's just captured CO2. Out of curiosity I checked out the smell factor, odourless gas. If I wiggle the wood, more of the same. Sometimes it builds up, sometimes it does not.

In my case with the maximum 3" deep sand substrate and still new tank, less than four months, there probably isn't anything deep enough to worry about, nor will there ever likely be. I expect that some mulm has built up around the base of the driftwood and is decomposing causing the CO2 and the wood/sand holds it for a period.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What plants are they and do they do this in other tanks as well? I know that a good number of terrestrial plants do something similar so I wouldn't be surprised if it were a natural day/night plant thing.

Experimenting is always fun, even if it isn't the most scientific of methodology.

Jeff.
They are Water Wisteria (hygrophila difformis). I haven't noticed any drooping at night in the other tanks. This has always been a difficult plant for me to raise. Suspect insufficient light intensity is the real problem. This project was put together with stuff already on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The same thing has happened in my gravel substrate tank - not huge bubbles but bubbles nonetheless. It makes me think of "dead spots" in the substrate and SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide) which smells like burnt eggs or something like that. I could easily be totally wrong, but I am going to take a chopstick to the gravel.
Poking around in the gravel wouldn't be a bad idea. Couldn't do any harm and might do some good. A friend suggested that to me when I mentioned that my plants seemed to be falling off on growth. Can't say that I have noticed any difference; however, I don't think it was wasted time. People keep snails for just that purpose.
 

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Poking around in the gravel wouldn't be a bad idea. Couldn't do any harm and might do some good. A friend suggested that to me when I mentioned that my plants seemed to be falling off on growth. Can't say that I have noticed any difference; however, I don't think it was wasted time. People keep snails for just that purpose.
I have some Malaysian Trumpet Snails, probably less than twenty, and more all the time. They're supposed to be good for aerating the substrate, but I could see as how they would avoid pockets of CO2 or SO2.
 

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I have some Malaysian Trumpet Snails, probably less than twenty, and more all the time. They're supposed to be good for aerating the substrate, but I could see as how they would avoid pockets of CO2 or SO2.
?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have some Malaysian Trumpet Snails, probably less than twenty, and more all the time. They're supposed to be good for aerating the substrate, but I could see as how they would avoid pockets of CO2 or SO2.
Couldn't find any information about the CO2 / SO2 issue. I was thinking that the bubbles coming up from your gravel might have been the result of the snails hitting a pocket of some sort. The best plant tanks I ever had also contained these snails. We called them horn of plenty snails.
 

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Couldn't find any information about the CO2 / SO2 issue. I was thinking that the bubbles coming up from your gravel might have been the result of the snails hitting a pocket of some sort. The best plant tanks I ever had also contained these snails. We called them horn of plenty snails.
"horn of plenty snails" hah! Cornucopia snails?

We started out with 10... never see any more than three at a time but now we have some rather large ones and some really tiny ones... so who knows how many may be in the tank.

It's H2S, Hydrogen Suflide, not HO2, Hydrogen Dioxide, that is the supposed bane of all life in an aquarium. I believe that the potential danger to the tank inhabitants from this source is far lower than some seem to think.

Jeff.
 
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