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Clay like substrate

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by rasmusW, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. rasmusW

    rasmusW Active Member

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    Hi all!

    I have just re-read the describtion for the d37-gillspot, that Tom put up some time ago.
    In it, it says that the habitat had a “clay like” substrate, which made me think of how to mimic that in a tank?
    I have read of people using red clay to help plant growth (mixed with peat), but could it also be used just as is, as substrate?

    Maybe there is a better way to archieve this “effect”?

    Lastly, have anybody here tried “sansibar red/orange” sand? I think it’s from Fluval.

    Thanks in advance..


    -r
  2. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    You can use a calcined clay based substrate, there are <"various naturally heated ones"> from volcanic deposits (Akadama, Seachem "Fluorite") that you could crush up to give you a finer particle size. I have a tank with <"diatomaceous moler clay"> and that has been fine.

    You can also use a mineralised clay soil, but you would need to cap it with some sand.

    Personally I would just have a <"fine silica sand substrate">, "play-sand" is usually fairly fine grain (much finer than pool filter sand), and then add some structural leaf litter. This is what @Tom C <"says about the natural substrate"> where he has collected Apistogramma spp.
    Because I only keep planted tanks I add a <"small amount of acid clay and leaf mold"> to the lower layers of the sand.

    You can get around any worries about anaerobic substrates by using rooted plants like Cryptocoryne spp. and Echinodorus spp. <"Plants have leaky roots"> and <"radial oxygen loss"> will create zones of fluctuating REDOX value in the substrate.

    If the water isn't really soft (and they aren't banned in your area as an invasive alien) Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata) are another option to help with substrate dynamics.

    cheers Darrel
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  3. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Fine sand - almost silt - is the typical substrate in apisto biotopes in the wild. The coarse sand that I've used for 40+ years is above the ruler; the fine sand is some I collected in the Río Itaya where TomC & I collected A. sp. Oregon in 2012:

    upload_2019-10-21_8-48-48.png

    'Subtly' different, yes?
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  4. rasmusW

    rasmusW Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for the suggestions, you two.
    Darrel: looks like i got a few things to read up on..

    Sadly i don’t have a new tank to set up(-wondering how to go about that... hehe), but if i did i would probably go with the types of sand i already got going, but it was a fun thing to think
    about.

    Mike: that is crazy fine grained sand. It almost just looks like dust.

    I hope some day to have yet another tank to build, but untill then... Dream on.

    -r
  5. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    There is a huge amount of scientific literature out there that is also relevant to fish keeping. It is just most fish keepers don't know about it and therefore never look through it.

    I'm lucky, in that I've had an interest in <"waste water treatment">, <"constructed wetlands"> and <"water quality"> via my day job

    The use of DNA and RNA libraries to discover novel nitrifying organisms (initially in waste water treatment) led to people looking at Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) filters as well and from there at aquarium filters. What they found has totally changed what we thought we knew about the nitrogen cycle.

    I'd probably start with Bartelme, R. et al. (2017) <"Freshwater Recirculating Aquaculture System Operations Drive Biofilter Bacterial Community Shifts around a Stable Nitrifying Consortium of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Comammox Nitrospira">

    I think it would be fair to say that it is going to be a while before these scientific advances fully trickles down to forums, LFS etc.

    cheers Darrel
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  6. Linus_Cello

    Linus_Cello Active Member 5 Year Member

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  7. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Hi,

    Darrel and his bad ass links basically changed the way I keep my fish. Especially the patented Duckweed Index™!
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  8. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I didn't really invent the "Duckweed Index", but I am proud of it <"and it does work">. One great advantage of this approach is that it doesn't rely on water testing etc. You just have to have a floating plant and then watch it.

    The "Duckweed Index" came out of research on the <"phytoremediation of waste water using Lemna minor">. I subsequently found that a lot of my "discoveries" had already published in aquarium books by <"Diana Walstad"> and <"Horst & Kipper">, none of it was really new.

    The only difference was using Limnobium laevigatum as an <"improved "Duckweed">.

    My original premise was that if you can use dilution, phyto-remediation and bio-assay methods to reduce and monitor the pollution level in very polluted water, you can use the same approach to improve the quality of less polluted water.

    cheers Darrel
  9. Ian Logan

    Ian Logan New Member

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  10. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Ian I'd like to think so, but I think the ammonia based principle of cycling will be around for a while yet.

    I think one of the issues standing in the way of a new approach is that there is a huge industry that has built up selling people instant gratification, or "silver bullets", like "bacterial starters" "pH buffers", "water testing kits" etc. which <"don't really serve any useful purpose" (link on UKAPS)>, other than transferring your money to them.

    I'd put in a word for <"Dr Tim Hovanec">, he has acknowledged that the past is a different country, despite having a financial interest in microbial starters.

    I'm not anti-water testing, in fact quite the opposite, but I'm not going to base my tank management on <"hobby grade testing kits">.

    cheers Darrel
  11. Ian Logan

    Ian Logan New Member

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    Hi Darrel

    Really useful references (again) which i have gone through - its taken me this long to track this thread back on the forums so sorry for late reply!!

    My spark of interest in this subject originates from being a science student, fish hobbyist and Jaques Cousteau fan back in the 70,s. as a chemistry drop out I started working for an aquatic retail outlet. I got interested in building(quite crude in retrospect) koi pool "bio" filters as we were an early importer of Koi to the UK and have watched mouth agog, wishing I'd commercialised something as it has built from then into todays market ££££'s; your "Silver Bullets"

    It struck me that there is still a lot of poorly understood or abused science thrown into these designs with some designs showing little real strategy of synergising mechanical and bio filtration. I suspect a similar situation with some of the aquarium sump designs I see where it the common thread seems to be to have what is on trend with secondary thought to O2 levels or flow; I'm generalising of course - but it serves my purpose :)

    I have now learned a lot more about the role of plants and the range of micro fauna in the N cycle and suspect we will uncover far more regarding the impact of variables: e.g fluidised beds vs submerged, type of filter media, ph, temp range on the functional biological spectrum. hence my hope for informed choice or at least improved.
    For the record if I was constructing a koi pool filter today it would be a constructed wetland; let see what I say in 10 years.

    KR

    Ian
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  12. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    My bet is still on "constructed wetland", possibly as planted wet and dry trickle filter. I've used these in a <"range of sizes">.

    You might be interested on a few more of the threads on UKAPS, there are a few on <"Koi filtration">, and at least one famous <"Koi pond builder"> is a member.

    cheers Darrel
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