May 8, 2010

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, the NJAGC held its meeting at Jens’ home, with some special guests from the Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association – GWAPA.In attendance were:

Mike F
Jay L
Sergio C
Jason T
Johnny A
Kenneth O
Jason T
Darek K
Ingo S
Jon L
James L
Mark B
Stanley K
Jason S
Drew S
Joseph H
Frank Z
And, from GWAPA:
Sean M.
Ghazanfar G

Before the meeting kicked off, we had some good pizza with assorted toppings (no anchovies – that would be twisted!) and drinks to get us going. Mike kicked off the meeting with some minimal business, asked how folks liked the new forum, and turned it over to Dave from GWAPA.

Mike talking "Business"

Dave and Sean did an introduction about the presentation on mineralized soil.

Something that Sean started using years ago, but as of late, seems to be the rage in our club.

A few pointers on the mix – use PLAIN top soil, no “premium”, no enriched potting soil, doesn’t have to be “organic”, rinse 3-4 times. Don’t use artificial heat to try and shortcut your way to faster “clean” soil.

Once the soil has aged, and dried out, the key is no smell and a fine, lighter than powder consistency. Then, mix in real clay (not the polymer/fake clays in some art stores).

Once you have the mix all set, Dave recommended using a layer of whatever your final top layer substrate will be around the edges so that the mineralized soil doesn’t poke out the sides and front of the tank. Lightly sprinkle the bottom of the tank with the dolemite. Then comes the soil/clay mix you prepared. Moisten it to a consistency of a runny elmers glue. The thickness, or better, the lack of thickness of the mineralized soil layer placed inside this perimeter should be thin, barely enough to cover the glass.

Placement of mineralized soil

Using this as a sub-substrate, he regularly gets crypts to try to flower underwater.
Most stems plants do well – basically, any plant that does well if you put a root tablet under it will thrive with mineralized soil.

Results with mineralized soil

Once the presentation was complete, Jens went into an explanation of his myriad of tanks, starting off with his 24g Aqaupod.

Jens uses a paint ball style/sized cylinder based CO2 injection system for this tank which is teeming with endlers.

Jens then moved on to the “trial” tank. His custom built (by himself) 14g tank that he used to practice his building technique on for his larger project.

Mike really egg’d Jens into talking about how he came about this tank. Basically, a 1AM phone call from a “certain other club founder” saying that his tank “unzipped”. And how that certain other club founder only had to have the finest – Sapphire Glass for his custom tank, and on and on, anyway, Jens wound up buying the pieces of this 90g tank and re-assembled it.

Jens put on the “demo” mode of the Giesemann lighting for us – a very nice, albeit expensive fixture:

Then we had a chat about the guts of the tank – the new filter since the last time we visited, the auto-dosers, how his needlewheel co2 system broke so he is now using a ceramic disc diffuser.

As usual, many club members brought in some plants for swapping/taking.

And, some other photos of the meeting:

Ingo, looking into a tank

For old times sake – I had to put up an “Ingo looking into a tank” shot 🙂

Big thanks to Jens and the folks from GWAPA for making the trip up to NJ!


Till next meeting,

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