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Using a base layer of plant matter in new tank substrates


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Hi @Imhicks101

So I looked up several sources of the chemical analysis of grapevine leaves and this is what I found with some variations:

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70%; crude protein, 6.7%; ether extract, 6.2%; crude fiber, 28.1%; ash, 6.7%; nitrogen free extractives, 52.3%; neutral detergent fiber, 52.7%; acid detergent fiber, 33.3%; hemicelluloses, 19.8%; permanganate lignin, 14.0%; permanganate cellulose, 19.3%; acid detergent lignin, 10.2%; Ca, 1.15%; and P, 0.33%. No noticeable content of Silica was detected. Tannins (as tannic acid equivalents), 2.7%

The only nutrients I see listed that a plant could utilize are the calcium (Ca) and phosphorus / phosphate (P).  Do not confuse "nitrogen free extracts" with nitrogen; nitrogen free extracts are basically sugars.  -Roy

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On 5/14/2022 at 3:48 PM, lmhicks101 said:

A blog I was listening to said that putting a base of old grape leaves under your substrate when you set a new tank up will help growth in crypts due to high macro nutrients when they break down. Has anyone done this and if so did you use anything besides grape leaves?

I set a tank up last November for growing pearl weed.  I started with a layer of dry cow manure (approximately 1") at bottom, then a similar thickness layer of potting soil, and topped it with about 2" of pool filter sand.  The pearl weed is growing like crazy.

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On 5/16/2022 at 10:18 AM, JettsPapa said:

I set a tank up last November for growing pearl weed.  I started with a layer of dry cow manure (approximately 1") at bottom, then a similar thickness layer of potting soil, and topped it with about 2" of pool filter sand.  The pearl weed is growing like crazy.

I might have to try that. I have horses near me. I’d probably put a bit more then 2” of sand. I put that and stuffs already seeping through. 

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On 5/16/2022 at 11:29 AM, JettsPapa said:

Yeah, I neglected to mention above that with layering substrate you need to be extremely careful when filling the tank.

For me it’s not the actual soil or anything coming through unless I pull something up to quick. It’s this grayish stuff that’s seeping through at the base of plants. The base layer is old flourish stratum soil so it’s the funk off that when you disturb the soil and it settles back down. 

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