Low Tech = Affordable Substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Low Tech = Affordable Substrate

I'm trying to set up a 30 gal tank on a tight budget. So far have gotten great equipment deals used but now I'm wondering about substrate. I do want the most lush growth I can get out of low light plants!

How much do I need for this tank? Like how many pounds?

What's a good, inexpensive substrate? It looks like some of you mix the expensive stuff like ecocomplete/flourite with regular gravel or sand. I don't think I want to use actual dirt or potting soil, if that's possible.

Please post your suggestions!

[Also any suggestions on wood/stump deals would be appreciated]

Thanks

sox--ghetto tank master....

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:18 PM
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the cheapest solution is to use no substrate, seriously. and use floating plants to suck up extra N/P/K. Works well for me. The floating plants grow like weed and every week I have to throw away a lot. For submerged plants I grow Anubias and Java Fern, which don't really require substrate. I just added a thin layer of pool filter sand just for decoration purposes. Paid $8 for a 50 lbs bag, used maybe 4 lbs.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:20 PM
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tight budget
lush growth

two words for ya DIRT TANK

The Fraternity of Dirt
If at first you don't succeed,,, keep kicking it
RubberSideDownOnTheLanding,
2-75g planted, 5-55g planted, 5-20g planted, 110g w/30g sump, 8-10g, Refugium, doghouse/newbie
2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Could you elaborate on 'dirt tank'? Is there a "Sticky" or FAQ thread for Low Tech here I should look at?

thanks,
sox

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:25 PM
x2h
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
tight budget
lush growth

two words for ya DIRT TANK

the OP has stated that dirt is not an option.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x2h View Post
the OP has stated that dirt is not an option.
Really??? this is what I read; I don't think I want to use actual dirt or potting soil, if that's possible.

Op, I've done several as have many others without high drama. Hands down the easiest tanks I maintain.

Oldest, cheapest and still kicking
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html

At the bottom of page one I setup my latest dirt/NPT/Walstad type tank.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...k-warning.html

Nothing about it is hard and the cost is dirt cheap. (pun intended)

The Fraternity of Dirt
If at first you don't succeed,,, keep kicking it
RubberSideDownOnTheLanding,
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2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x2h View Post
the cheapest solution is to use no substrate, seriously. and use floating plants to suck up extra N/P/K. Works well for me.
Hey, to each his own, but IMO a bare bottom tank goes against pretty much the primary reason most people keep an aquarium: to create a habitat. They look so sterile and deserted.

Dirt tank is def the best way to go for "cheap" but if you are opposed to dirt (and I understand, I was too for my first tank) you could always pick up some pool filter sand.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:45 PM
x2h
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Originally Posted by ktownhero View Post
Hey, to each his own, but IMO a bare bottom tank goes against pretty much the primary reason most people keep an aquarium: to create a habitat. They look so sterile and deserted.

Dirt tank is def the best way to go for "cheap" but if you are opposed to dirt (and I understand, I was too for my first tank) you could always pick up some pool filter sand.
The OP wanted the cheapest solution on substrate, and in that regard, nothing beats bare bottom!

I agree, bare bottom is not the most pretty. that's why i put a thin layer of sand in my tank for decoration purposes, as you can read that in my post (I hope you didn't stop reading where you have quoted). And it costs me a few dollars only. Cheers!
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 02:48 PM
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My old tank was a mix of gravel and sand from my local beach. It looked good and natural. Plus the plants did really well in it. Gravel cost me maybe 5 bucks, sand was free.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x2h View Post
The OP wanted the cheapest solution on substrate, and in that regard, nothing beats bare bottom!

I agree, bare bottom is not the most pretty. that's why i put a thin layer of sand in my tank for decoration purposes, as you can read that in my post (I hope you didn't stop reading where you have quoted). And it costs me a few dollars only. Cheers!
I'm afraid I didn't read your whole post, my apologies. So you don't really have a "bare bottom" tank, just a really fine layer of substrate?
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 06:55 PM
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I would use Miracle grow topped with the cheapest gravel/sand you want to cover it

My dirty journal
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Um...I am "OP"? What is "OP"?

So...from scags--gravel and sand . How many pounds?

thanks,

sox

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 07:03 PM
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OP = original poster

http://www.plantedtank.net/substratecalculator.html

The Fraternity of Dirt
If at first you don't succeed,,, keep kicking it
RubberSideDownOnTheLanding,
2-75g planted, 5-55g planted, 5-20g planted, 110g w/30g sump, 8-10g, Refugium, doghouse/newbie
2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 07:11 PM
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If you have a petco near you, hopefully this is cheap enough:: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...s-15-99-a.html

Currently out of the hobby
Forum lurking every now and then
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 08:02 PM
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turface pro, 12 bucks for a 50 pound bag
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