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Does pore space of substrate effect root and plant growth


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I talked about doing this before my heart attack earlier this year. Please forgive me it has been quite a few years since I’ve done pore size experiment .

Original Plan:

So the idea was to see if plants would grow better or worst with the same conditions but different pore size. Pore size is it’s simplest form “is the space between the substrate” ex: think marbles, so a jar of shooters the big ones. There is more space between the marbles is a certain amount. In the next jar has regular marbles there is Less space. Next size is BB size. As you keep getting smaller to sand which is comparable to glass for this purpose. At this point it is the smallest it can get for this experiment.

The plan changed more to its current version after help and advice from great friends I have meat here. Thank you and I will recognize you at the end. 

Supplies:

55 gallon aquarium(set up and running for 2.5-3 years with 

Hang on back filter

Large sponge filter

Hygger Ligh (hygger 36W 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light, Sunrise-Daylight-Moonlight Mode and DIY Mode, Adjustable Timer Adjustable Brightness Fish Tank Light with Extendable Bracket 7 Colors for Planted Tank https://a.co/d/iESha9X) 

If you want the details about the light
 

Gold guppy fry. They will come and go this is my selection tank.

Ghost shrimp (12-14)

Blue mystery snails (4-5)

Amazon sword (9)roots trimmed to 1” be fore planting.

Jungle Val (6)

Tacky Plastic Stone Bridge(Fathers Day Present + shows divide between the two blacks)

Substrates:

Vigoro pea pebbles17F3B9F1-C815-4375-97E7-C5F9F704248A.jpeg.652c73c866aac81064c6ecfb2da7ce5b.jpeg

not the one that says up to 3”. The average size is 1-1.25, with a few pieces longer stones at 1.5” and the smallest is .75”. The gravel was washed several times to wash and light or organic material to Float. After this I would shake the bucket to get the the fine material like small pieces that broke or was add during the packing process. I then took from the top of the bucket so I got the stones that were the proper size and added the to the tank on the left side.

 

 

Black Diamond Blasting Abrasive[coal slag] 12/40 mesh( this is the sieve size. Sieve is a set of screens that keeps the the bigger on top and each level gets smaller: fun fact)

I looked at the course coal slag and it is bigger but more angular(angular doesn’t always mean sharp, sharp material is mostly angular. I can also mean it has angles which can be rounded.)it is used mostly for big rock tumblers. One manufacturer recommends it for aquariums.

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12D761FB-D01B-40ED-86C1-DE03CA8D8AC6.jpeg.4b88e12f047b92e2e58141b4911e3a42.jpeg
Black aquarium gravel

This was a gravel that was in this tank left from my son. It feels slightly porous. I removed all of it from the tank and washed well. There was some floating bits in it and very fine materials. It took almost a whole 55 gal tank of the substrate to get a little less than 1/3 of the same tank. So that makes this an imperfect experience but I think it will still work for this purpose.

F5F840F9-A6D3-4C11-B8A4-56726736D4B1.jpeg.db8a1f5d6b84da2962a590ee509dd2a7.jpeg

Side by side:

 

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C2CF359A-9C1F-4C6F-8F8B-407A255FC1A1.jpeg.49eb27e134030e2632c880a8bbda78fb.jpeg
You can see how much pore space. Lots of room for water and detritus. 5E034D40-E132-438B-8573-5940E9241324.jpeg.1eae42c29a4822db748009496e24af5c.jpeg
There is still noticeable space between the gravel. Much less than the pea gravel.For now this is the best picture I have. I will try to get a better one soon. 
25169BD8-EA85-4E97-AB80-E8A6C31104B4.jpeg.75b8140cb00059e61a0c951ec4d2dcbb.jpeg

There is not noticeable space between the grit.

 

Im stopping for today. I will update often as I haven’t really even gotten everything explained yet. Oh any editing please feel free to msg me about spelling and grammar.  After 8 years of college you would think. I wrote and often respond at late night or early morning like now at 4am. 

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93191230-2655-4A8F-A955-EE8E1BB6D044.jpeg

Edited by Brandon p
Fixing omission
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On 7/18/2022 at 7:34 AM, Fish Folk said:

Anecdotally, I have seen roots push into / grow through BDBS slightly better than  through white sand.

I have fairly good results from a 2-inch base of BDBS with a 1-inch cap of Eco Complete, or similar.

I have never used it. I’m excited to see what it does. It feels a bit courser than most of the pool sand. I have to check now. I saw someone posted about using some sort inert grind compound last week I wish I red it I’ll have go back and look. I wanted to try the courser blend but most people that used said this was the same one most used. I have sent most of my adult life worried about pores space of sand on land. I’m interested if the same applies in water in land. I ran, built, and was knee deep in golf courses, polo fields, and sports fields. I hate to poke holes in my own test but to really test only pore space one would need perfectly round because the shape of the materials does matter as well but I think this a fair representation of what a lot of beginners to med range Aquarium keepers. 

 

On 7/18/2022 at 7:34 AM, Fish Folk said:

Anecdotally, I have seen roots push into / grow through BDBS slightly better than  through white sand.

I have fairly good results from a 2-inch base of BDBS with a 1-inch cap of Eco Complete, or simi…

 

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@Brandon pWith a 125 on deck and needing to get a substrate in there that is affordable I am eagerly watching this one. I have been favoring going to Tractor Supply and getting BDBS but had heard the medium was the way to go. 

@Fish Folkthat is really interesting on the Eco Complete being on top instead of under the BDBS. I ask because my preference would be the BDBS on top and Black Eco Complete beneath it. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 5:33 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

@Brandon pWith a 125 on deck and needing to get a substrate in there that is affordable I am eagerly watching this one. I have been favoring going to Tractor Supply and getting BDBS but had heard the medium was the way to go. 

@Fish Folkthat is really interesting on the Eco Complete being on top instead of under the BDBS. I ask because my preference would be the BDBS on top and Black Eco Complete beneath it. 

I find larger stones end up on top eventually. 

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So I think the word for what you're looking at is twofold, particle size is one of them, but also compaction.   In my case I have something with high pore size, but because of the actual compaction after it's underwater for a little while it's a lot different than you'd think when you see it outside of the tank.  Something like a planted substrate won't really compact, aquarium gravel also.  Sand, a few others, definitely will compact pretty heavily.

A fun experiment on this, take a jar of substrate of a known dimension, measure the height before water and then fill the jar with water.  Now the question is: What is the best way to compact the substrate so it's fully compacted?  I would think flow plays a role in this as well.  Another option might be to add the water so the substrate is submerged and then vibrate the jar so that the substrate has a chance to get forced down to the bottom as much as possible and fill those little nicks and grooves.

A good example of this is baking with white sugar vs. brown sugar.  One of them is usually forced into a compacted state while the other doesn't really do that.  Roots and growth are going to have different characteristics in different substrates because of that.

 

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On 7/18/2022 at 9:05 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

So I think the word for what you're looking at is twofold, particle size is one of them, but also compaction.   In my case I have something with high pore size, but because of the actual compaction after it's underwater for a little while it's a lot different than you'd think when you see it outside of the tank.  Something like a planted substrate won't really compact, aquarium gravel also.  Sand, a few others, definitely will compact pretty heavily.

A fun experiment on this, take a jar of substrate of a known dimension, measure the height before water and then fill the jar with water.  Now the question is: What is the best way to compact the substrate so it's fully compacted?  I would think flow plays a role in this as well.  Another option might be to add the water so the substrate is submerged and then vibrate the jar so that the substrate has a chance to get forced down to the bottom as much as possible and fill those little nicks and grooves.

A good example of this is baking with white sugar vs. brown sugar.  One of them is usually forced into a compacted state while the other doesn't really do that.  Roots and growth are going to have different characteristics in different substrates because of that.

 

You blew it! Now I don’t get to explain it. I that was my life for 20 years just not underwater exactly. Went you build and maintain sports fields and polo fields if you not have grass because of compaction or a player or horse gets hurt,it normally much worst for the horse (yes I know you play polo on a “pony”). The shape of things is important to companion too. I’m not sure if you saw the post about the vibratory materials as substrate this weekend. That what I was telling him. The have some stuff that comes in crazy bad shape for compaction. I have lost of $400 soil and agronomy books form college I could use the pics from. It is really fascinating. I liked to use kids toys to do the same sort of experiment with to sell renovations. Most people have no idea so if you can make things bigger they can see and feel it. That was mostly with Golf Courses that have people that have no idea making decisions they have no real reason to be making other than they won the popularity contest from the club that year. I there are so many variables it’s  amazing. Pitch in when ever you want. For and aquarium I’m going to just that rounder materials are going to work better but I didn’t really address it here. It doesn’t work for ground traffic because round it’s that stable but I think in the water it might work well. I wish I had a white board. Compaction is one of the reasons I don’t like pool filters sand it’s  angular and fits pretty tight. With sand it harder to see but there are better options but you can’t see it maybe if this goes well I’ll do just different sand types. and break out the good microscope. For awhile there was lots of questions which type was better to start with. I though this might help and be fun for me.

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On 7/18/2022 at 11:00 PM, Brandon p said:

With sand it harder to see but there are better options but you can’t see it maybe if this goes well I’ll do just different sand types. and break out the good microscope. For awhile there was lots of questions which type was better to start with.

DO IT!  This would be awesome.

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@Beardedbillygoat1975i looked at the course online and I feel that it did not look as good and the medium looked better. Not just aesthetically bust the course look with the naked eye to have irregular size and has not angles. I’m trying to To stay away from saying angular because of belief that angular is always sharp. With out holding and feeling it and looking at under the microscope I was sure. The most important reason is a few maybe less vocal members but ones that I trust advised me that medium would be best and most often used. Just from the feel and seeing how it acts in the water Im not sure I would use white again without have a similar size and shape.. however the plants have only been in a few days. I though I had idea what the outcome was going to be. Now I’m not sure. 

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Photo updates:

But first a few things. Most of my tanks are second hand and often the reason I can get 55g for $10 is the glass is damaged by some etching. The front of this tank does had some. I the back of the tank does have algae on it. I generally don’t  clean the backs but I also have a background. I will add the back round. I forgot to add that he roots were trimmed back to 1” on the Amazon sword and will edit in the first post. I will trim the plants up but I was worried about to much stress. I will get the melted leaves off tomorrow. E7942126-721D-42D5-9B06-6FB892F8F0BD.jpeg.563d4be9cfe64a70e66c39f6c84ba00c.jpegE4004C35-76DA-4AEF-AD75-4B7D61B51EA5.jpeg.6e2f53a5e471e11536a0c7f8cade01aa.jpeg02F01955-CE80-4C2E-B221-BDF0F21E1946.jpeg.cfa99caf4237663b781bf1c25643b884.jpeg23A8379F-FBF0-48BB-9A2A-FCECF8B622D8.jpeg.3f069a63f0d724cb3ece4cf8463d57e5.jpeg94B1789E-5862-4BED-9214-BBDCD2405F97.jpeg.af4c676e6605c030e6c08d30531eb0c6.jpegDD3E3229-105F-43A3-A02D-0535760201D1.jpeg.ce163e75e345562958f0e3bbf9c77f93.jpegC5475CC9-9F06-406B-A88F-4E6D35FA1466.jpeg.e5e685e7898736f54af02f53196287a1.jpeg Please ask if you want closer phots or of certain things, and I will be happy to get them. 

Edited by Brandon p
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@Flumpweesel please let me know. I see a 2.0 with sand. There are other brands out there as well that appeared the same and the same sieve size that was less. People know this brand some ii wanted to stay with the know. I personally would not have mind used in the cheaper for my personal tank. I ordered off eBay because it was less expensive than in the store local and shipping was free. 

Edited by Brandon p
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This will be interesting, I switched from a kinda course gravel to fine shale (small but light so doesn't compact easily)in my main tank (because of a goldfish with a stone throwing habit I decided to take the big stones off it).

After this has run a few weeks it will be interesting to pull and compare the root development see if the plant has focused on strong anchoring roots or been able to put out fine feeders.

As you know terrestrial plants do better with good air flow to their roots as breather containers have been demonstrating.

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I think that’s why I’m seeing more than one of these happening. With the plant choice of Amazon Sword I think the roots could grow and lock together. In My 75 the roots reach from front to back and I commonly have to trim the roots from growing up. I was thinking 3 months for the length of this. I know on land we measure how round the sand is because to round grass pulls right out. If it’s to angular it will compact. There a a”happy” place that is in the middle. Airflow in soil on land is something most people don’t even think of. The other thing you mentioned is something I’m going to have to be very careful removing the gravel not to break the fine roots. Thats. one thing i wish was talked about went you have heathy plants you have those nice fine roots.talked about more when plant aren’t don’t well and people ask if the will come @Flumpweeseldo you have photos of the shale. It does effect this but I’m alway interested. I don’t have any real experience with gold fish. My sister had one she one at a fair as a little girl and she had it more many years! At least 6 for a poor fair fish I thought hat was good. I have no other real knowledge other than some base thing. I did knot the are said to be big movers. 

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Wow it sure will. I wanted to use lava rock and bought a bag I wanted to keep this one more towards the basic. I’m going to to have to do this with sands next I think and who knows.  I would worry about things separating and moving. I think it’s material pstd . The first link is part of the of why substrates, pore, space and capillary flow are a love.  The second I don’t endorse but in the short time I listed is  the marbles that I have been taking about. Your happy to watch it all. 
Many of you are think what’s this got to do with fish but it started my idea and there are some direct things 


 

https://archive.lib.msu.edu/tic/usgamisc/monos/2018recommendationsmethodputtinggreen.pdf

 

 

 

start at 3:22 to 3:57 it’s my marble analogy

 

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So I grabbed a pinch of shale out of the tank the picture doesn't really show it but a lot of the larger pieces are flat and when you drop it into the water it floats down slower than other gravels. I found a ruler to give you a scale as I figured British coins would be of little help.

I only have a thin layer at the moment in the typical fashion of something that was once in all the shops is suddenly not to be found when you need some . 

I have been given a part bag of some thing similar which I will be running some compatibility tests before adding (making sure they mix don't form compacting layers)

IMG20220721090955.jpg

Edited by Flumpweesel
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On 7/21/2022 at 1:11 PM, Flumpweesel said:

So I grabbed a pinch of shale out of the tank the picture doesn't really show it but a lot of the larger pieces are flat and when you drop it into the water it floats down slower than other gravels. I found a ruler to give you a scale as I figured British coins would be of little help.

I only have a thin layer at the moment in the typical fashion of something that was once in all the shops is suddenly not to be found when you need some . 

I have been given a part bag of some thing similar which I will be running some compatibility tests before adding (making sure they mix don't form compacting layers)

IMG20220721090955.jpg

I like the look of it and I personally feel better that it shouldn’t. It looks more like the sand used on golf greens made giant I hope your test work good. I’m learning a lot. It has a go mix of round and curves. It does look sharp. I still am planing the 200 redo and that is something I could go with.

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On 7/18/2022 at 2:14 AM, Brandon p said:

Oh any editing please feel free to msg me about spelling and grammar.  After 8 years of college you would think. I wrote and often respond at late night or early morning like now at 4am. 

After my TIA I discovered that my hands and brain don't always communicate well.

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Photo of root length of all swords planted 1” as close as I could do I felt.AB31591F-0FBF-4BA7-B461-019C3F781C80.jpeg.ece0221f2fbd6555aeb4e37de4dae6ce.jpegNew grow you can see after 8 days819224AE-DB84-49B1-9D08-D29D268E6398.jpeg.c43c639cfcbb568b8c680cd219eb1c6c.jpeg

Ramshorms really liking the algae on the back. I still have not covered the back yet.259A6102-E302-4C7E-A33B-41DD45CA4B46.jpeg.617dcd803696d8d1b987bedcba2f992a.jpeg 

Edited by Brandon p
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Trim the worst, I would probably treat the same as a display tank plants just do what feels right. The old growth isn't really significant for the test. I would look at number and size of new leaves and root development for the end comparison. Maybe time before new growth showed

Maybe decide on a tatty scale and have a when I leaf gets like this its gone approach to them all.

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