HELP: Re-using substrate? (PHOTO ADDED OF SUBSTRATE) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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HELP: Re-using substrate? (PHOTO ADDED OF SUBSTRATE)

So I recently bought a used 60P and it had planted plants and substrate already in there.

My question is:

1) can i re use the substrate? It looks like a mix of dark soil (very crumbly, small tiny little balls - not really dirt/sand like) with grey pebbles - I believe he mentioned he uses ADA soil. Unfortunate, the two types of substrate mixed, will this prevent my plants from doing well if i used this mixed soil?

2) Im drying the soil as I type this right now under the sun on top of news paper. I've read that you need to actually wash and clean the soil first or run it through clear water... is this necessary, if so why?

Thank you for taking the time to answering these questions!

Last edited by jaekwong; 07-11-2013 at 05:18 AM. Reason: PHOTO ADDED
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 04:58 PM
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Could you share some photos of the substrate? That would help us identify what it is and maybe allow folks to give you better advice.

You'll just have to get your hands dirty with the plants in order to separate them. That's probably the only way to know what you want to keep and what you don't.

Typically keeping plants in a bucket for a week or two will be fine, depending upon their fert and CO2 needs.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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bump! any one else able to help me out with the above questions?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 08:52 PM
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You should wash it with water first to remove any bacteria or any kind of infections...then dry it under the sun.

The substrate (black pepple) looks like inert lava rock to me!!!

What happened when you squeeze it?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 08:58 PM
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its ada aquasoil mixed with powersand. you can use the soil but it will be unsightly, imo.
i would try sifting thru the soil as much as possible if you want to reuse it.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the info guys!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 01:15 AM
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aqua soil with power sand, do not wash it or it break down if you try to wash it with water pressure, the best way to clean it is add it to your tank first and slowly fill up the tank and keep on chancing the water while at a same time adding the water, so you will add and take the water out at a same time, you will get tons of dust everywhere but it will clear up if you follow this step.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 02:45 AM
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It sounds like Aquasoil and Powersand mixed. Since you have already got it out to dry, I would allow it to do so completely.

What I would do is separate out a portion of this mix that you would estimate to make a layer 1/2" to 1" thick. Pick out the Powersand grains from that portion and set aside the "clean" Aquasoil. I would not wash or rinse any of the substrate. The idea would be to minimize "dust" forming which would be broken down Aquasoil grains.

I would then place the Powersand grains on the tank bottom then gently pour the dry Aquasoil/Powersand mix over that and shape your substrate to your desired elevations. Place any hard scape items in the tank and finalize there position. When you are satisfied with your hard scape look, slowly sprinkle in the dry "clean" Aquasoil. Adjust the height of your stones and or driftwood pieces by lifting them up to make up for the added depth.

The next thing I would do is mist the tank using a water spray bottle and continue the misting of the entire tank bottom until water starts to pool in the lowest sections. I would then start planting any aquatic plants in there planned locations using planting tweezers to minimize disturbing the substrate from breaking down and forming fine particles. Lastly I would continue using the spray bottle to continue filling the tank until you can use a garden hose to trickle water slowly to fill the remainder of the tank without disturbing the bottom.

The tank water will more than likely be cloudy at first but will slowly clear with natural settling or if you are using some sort of mechanical filtration, slowly be filtered out. This cloudiness occurs with new Aquasoil too so don't be discouraged with the initial messy look. I hope this helps and good luck.

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Last edited by BeastMaster; 07-12-2013 at 03:36 AM. Reason: grammar
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