Favorite cap for soil? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite cap for soil?

Hi all,

I will be starting a new planted system soon, fairly large. I'm going to try a soil substrate (probably the MiracleGro-organic-whatever that people on here seem to like). This will be my first soil tank, though I've had many planted systems and other aquariums so I get the general idea overall.

I'm struggling to find a cap I like and though I'd ask here to see what people prefer. I'd like something with a bit of a grain to it (i.e. not fine sand) and dark in color, but preferably not black - dark brown or charcoal would be great. Also, it's gonna be a big tank, and I'm a cheapskate, so inexpensive is best.

Thoughts? What do you all prefer?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 06:18 PM
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Safetsorb sounds like what you want. Search the site and read up if you haven't. You will need to prep it. It will strip the water of nearly everything till it tops off.

I dig blasting grit, it's available in may grain sizes and is cheap. It only comes in obsidian black. It is inert.

Natural/filler/play sand can be pure white to mottled brown or red. Usually inert.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will do a search on safetsorb. What exactly does it strip from the water? Inorganic nutrients?

I've done turface or similar clay products a few times in the past. I liked them except they seemed "light" and that kinda bugged me. Is safetsorb just another clay product? Is it any denser than others?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 02:32 AM
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How big is your tank? That would be helpful for those of us trying to give you some options. For example, I capped my 29 gallon Miracle-Gro tank with Eco-complete. Was a little pricey (~$40 for two 20 pound bags) but it fits the dark color and size requirements you listed. Personally, I'm very happy with the look and the ease of use of Eco-complete! I can post some pics of my tank if you'd like to see how it looks, lmk.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2013, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CyclingPanda View Post
How big is your tank?
360 gallons.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2013, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by All your base View Post
360 gallons.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2013, 06:10 AM
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And here i was worried about capping my 84G haha.. let me know what you find!

So far my contenders are Eco-complete, flourite dark/black or potentially some rock from a landscape yard. pea gravel works however it has lights stuff mixed in. they do have crushed basalt but it has sharp edges.. its a battle to find a nice, top that wont break the bank
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2013, 07:40 PM
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SafeTsorb is fired to a lower temperature and has less density (lighter).
Doing a sample tank using it I found it powdered clouding the water. Does work but I'm not a fan. Athletic materials seem to hold up better for a cheaper clay product.

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2-75g planted, 5-55g planted, 5-20g planted, 110g w/30g sump, 8-10g, Refugium, doghouse/newbie
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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If SafeTsorb is lighter than turface I don't want it. Turface is almost too light for me. I'm starting to wonder if there are any cheap fired clay products that are dense enough to stay put or if I'll have to give in and go with sand or blasting grit...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 06:04 PM
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if u plant on doing a lot of replanting, i'd do a layer style

bottom to top with
small gravel
larger gravel

the small gravel keeps the dirt from floating away and the top gravel holds the thin layer of gravel in place.. this way water flows through the substrate without using tons of smaller sized particles that don't allow flow
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 07:00 PM
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This stuff might suit what you're looking for:
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