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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question Substrate?

I am setting up a new tank and have never used a substrate. What's a good "standard" use substrate? I plan on some plants, some smaller fish and some rocks and driftwood.

Any suggestions are appreciated
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 01:02 AM
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What size of tank are you setting up ?
And what species of fish are you planning on stocking it with ?
Are you going low tech, and what type/amount of plantings do you think you will use ?
Your answers to this will help determine what advice is best to give you.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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20G, Neon Tetras, Shrimps as livestock. Some snails for algae work.

Tech? definitely adding a simple Fluval co2 system, decent lights. Is this Med tech? lol

Hope this helps get responses
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 02:38 AM
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Well, with shrimps you can't go wrong with silica pool filter sand. Inexpensive, easy to clean & keep clean. Grows plants well using just a few root tab ferts.
The small Fluval CO2 system is not bad and would work just fine in a small tank like yours. It's sort of hi-tech on a small scale. Go for it.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Well, with shrimps you can't go wrong with silica pool filter sand. Inexpensive, easy to clean & keep clean. Grows plants well using just a few root tab ferts.
The small Fluval CO2 system is not bad and would work just fine in a small tank like yours. It's sort of hi-tech on a small scale. Go for it.
A quck check on the googler found this, http://www.lowes.com/pd_230025-286-196301_0__

Is that something that might work?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Well, with shrimps you can't go wrong with silica pool filter sand. Inexpensive, easy to clean & keep clean. Grows plants well using just a few root tab ferts.
The small Fluval CO2 system is not bad and would work just fine in a small tank like yours. It's sort of hi-tech on a small scale. Go for it.
Isn't silica sand bad for fish? Many people claim that causes all sort of issues.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:06 PM
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Isn't silica sand bad for fish? Many people claim that causes all sort of issues.
I've been keeping silica sand in most of my tanks for the majority of my 40+ years of fish keeping. No problems of any kind in my experience. My only complaint with it is color. Too light for some applications.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hisxlency View Post
I am setting up a new tank and have never used a substrate. What's a good "standard" use substrate? I plan on some plants, some smaller fish and some rocks and driftwood.

Any suggestions are appreciated
Hi hisxlency,

I like substrates with a high cation-exchange capacity (CEC) like the heat treated Montmorillonite clay products for planted tanks. Originally I used natural fine gravel (Monterrey Sand) with good results but my plants have done much better with the clay based substrates.

Several of the Montmorillonite clay varieties I liked have been discontinued in the last few years but I am currently using Saf-T-Sorb #7941 with good results and I like the grain size and mix of natural colors. It is dusty and requires a good cleaning prior to first using it. It is available online at Drillspot for $9.29 per 40# bag with free shipping included.
http://www.drillspot.com/products/1476408/Moltan_7941_Montmorillonite_Clay_Absorbant_40_lb

Here is a picture of my 10 gallon, with Safe-T-Sorb substrate. This tank has no CO2, just Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Excel. The baby Corys have been in there for over 3 months and have doubled in size.

Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XMarineland Doublebright, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit; all with Press. CO2; (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS)

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Roy - Thanks for the info. I really do appreciate it. Same goes for the others who have posted. I keep learning mroe and more

Can I add a darker colored substrate on top of the Safe-T Sorb? I like the natural color of it but wanted a darker look to the tank to accent my plants and decore style im going after
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by hisxlency View Post
Roy - Thanks for the info. I really do appreciate it. Same goes for the others who have posted. I keep learning mroe and more

Can I add a darker colored substrate on top of the Safe-T Sorb? I like the natural color of it but wanted a darker look to the tank to accent my plants and decore style im going after
Hi hisxlency,

You can 'top' a Montmorillonite clay substrate but because the clay is typically lighter than other substrates the heavier substrate will probably 'sink' to the bottom.

If you are interested in a darker clay substrate aquariumplants.com has a more expensive 'black' substrate that is purported to be a Montmorillonite clay.

Roy
75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XMarineland Doublebright, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit; all with Press. CO2; (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 01-30-2013 at 08:27 PM. Reason: ..
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 07:13 PM
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Pool Filter Sand is completely inert and will not leach silicates.
Thousands of aquarists have used it for many years.
To my knowledge, it's only some commercial type/ construction silicas that may leach silicates.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 09:28 PM
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You can always go with playsand, which is typically a bit darker than pool filter sand. Both need to be thoroughly rinsed before use to remove the smaller particles. A hose and five gallon bucket work great for rinsing.

As long as there are no contaminants, any silica sand is perfectly safe to use.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaques View Post
Isn't silica sand bad for fish? Many people claim that causes all sort of issues.

I think there are a lot of people that believe putting silica sand in will cause diatom blooms, but I haven't seen anything reliable about this, and I don't think there is any significant link. Silica (silicon dioxide) is the basic component of glass, most of the sand/gravel used in tanks, and many of the rocks that are considered 'aquarium safe'. Also, silica is pretty insoluble

As far as people go, there are some health concerns working with silicate materials, as the fine particles will damage the lungs when inhaled, and the body doesn't really have any mechanism to effectively remove them. but this is more of a concern when moving large amounts, or drilling/cutting/grinding, or some other activity that will kick a lot of dust up into the air. On of the basic precautions is simply keeping stuff wet - you can see this a lot at construction/demolition sites, a lot of times there will be a guy hanging out just spraying a hose on whatever is getting worked on.

As far as using silicate sand in the tank, I think you would have more problems from impurities/contaminants, or maybe using the wrong grain size or something.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi hisxlency,

I Several of the Montmorillonite clay varieties I liked have been discontinued in the last few years but I am currently using Saf-T-Sorb #7941 with good results and I like the grain size and mix of natural colors. It is dusty and requires a good cleaning prior to first using it. It is available online at Drillspot for $9.29 per 40# bag with free shipping included.
http://www.drillspot.com/products/1476408/Moltan_7941_Montmorillonite_Clay_Absorbant_40_lb

Here is a picture of my 10 gallon, with Safe-T-Sorb substrate. This tank has no CO2, just Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Excel. The baby Corys have been in there for over 3 months and have doubled in size.
as an FYI. I found Safe-T-Sorb at my local Tractor Supply store, $4.99 for a 40lb bag!
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