New Substrate

New Substrate (Photo credit: Cylindric)

I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that my dwarf hair grass, while green and lush, was not spreading.
I noticed today that two or three runners have started (little blades of grass poking up through the substrate around the plugs).  I’m not sure if it can be attributed to late blooming, or a change in the water conditions as I’ve been adjusting for discus issues, but it’s taking off like crazy.

I’ve been considering switching my substrate to sand, and it looks like if I’m going to do it, it probably needs to be sooner than later.  I’m afraid I’d have to start all over again with the plugs if the root system became too established and the spread becomes thicker.

I’ll probably continue CO2 and fertilizer treatments to keep the plants strong and healthy until I make the switch to sand.  Maybe I’ll reduce the treatments by half to keep them strong, but maybe slow growth.  My plan is to do it in a week or two after the parasite issues have been resolved. . . but if the grass starts to spread too quickly, I may transplant the fish to a holding tank and make the substrate switch.  Looking back, I very much wish I had used sand from day one.  Gravel tends to catch anything that falls, and is very difficult to keep clean which the discus don’t particularly like.  Sand is smooth, so the feces and excess food waste will glide along the bottom and pile up in a corner with the water current and wait there for you to vacuum it out.  99% of the information I’ve encountered says a cheap, simple pool-filter sand works just fine as it’s a silicate and very clean.

Aquarium rebuild photo with flash

Aquarium rebuild photo with flash (Photo credit: Mike’s…Seat related tales)

I’m going to do a little more research on eco-complete sands which are said to house bacteria that munch down the fish waste and turn it to plant food.  It sounds too good to be true.  I’m not concerned about the plants getting nutrition, (although a natural approach appeals to me more than adding chemicals to the water), but I’m very intrigued about the waste-to-food conversion.  Anything to help keep the water clean and maybe reduce water change frequency will be much appreciated by the fish as well as the caretaker.


I’ll keep you posted.