I have been keeping fish and aquatic plants for nearly 300 years now and have been blessed with a wonderful career in Horticulture. When planted tanks were popularised by the work of Amano, I started looking at various aquarium related forums to see what sort of information was available to hobbyists. It didn't take long to see that most of this was based on the opinions of aquarists who had achieved some success growing plants. Much of it was contradictory and I saw lots of talk about deficiencies, dosing of individual elements, misdiagnosis of problems and expensive mistakes. There didn't seem to be much of an organised approach to growing aquatic plants and there was a real need for reliable answers to the problems facing beginners in the hobby. For me it came to a head when my good friends, Billy and Victor opened Aquaristic Aquarium Gallery. Their mission was to provide top quality products, great customer service, inspiration and of course, to make lots of money.
They stocked the best and most popular substrates, amendments, fertilizers, lighting and CO2 injection technology.They also set up display tanks to show their clients what they could expect from the various products in stock. Despite the wonderful results obtained in their shop, it became apparent that there was no simple way to prepare their clients for the problems they would face in the attempt to produce a lovely nature aquarium. One such problem was to find a substrate that could be used by a novice without the pitfalls of ammonia spikes, melting plants, algal blooms and cloudiness when disturbing the substrate.
Billy asked me if it was possible to develop a media he could happily recommend to his clients, confident that they would have a positive experience. I felt sure that with sufficient yelling, name calling and arguing, this could be done. So here we are, 2 years later, well tested by his experienced friends, ready to flood the market with SMARTSOIL.
WHAT IS IT?
SMARTSOIL is a balanced blend of high quality Clay, Peat, Sand and some secret amendments of my own which do not cause cancer, infertility or death in fish, inverts or humans.
SMARTSOIL addresses the problems that can cause headaches, mentioned above.
SMARTSOIL is sold in bags of approx 2 litres, sufficient for a standard 60cm tank.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
First,you spread the SMARTSOIL evenly over the tank floor, covering only the areas to be planted.
If you are very particular, you can spray this layer with a fine mist of water, press it gently and leave it overnight to harden. This step is useful to professionals who cannot afford to risk murky water when they fill a clients tank.
Then you spread at least 5cm of the sand or gravel of your choice and carefully fill the tank with water. Unlike other media, you are not obliged to thickly plant your tank from day one. I find it best to simply leave things alone.
DO NOT DOSE ANY FERTILIZER FOR AT LEAST A MONTH!!
The SMARTSOIL will absorb any excess ammonia during the settling period. It contains enough ferts to support growth for at least a month without burning plants or causing algal blooms. If you wish to move plants around, some clay will be stirred up but the cloudiness will quickly settle.
SMARTSOIL is a long term choice and will last longer as an effective media than any of the soils I have trialed.
Shrimp friendly too.
Thanks for reading