Did not plan ahead with the right substrate. Now what? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Did not plan ahead with the right substrate. Now what?

I set up a 20 gallon tank about 3 years ago when I moved. This was a downsize from a 35 and a 65. Other than a few crypts and a windelov on driftwood, I had no intention of going the heavily planted route. Been there, done thatÖ

To keep my options open (and in case I changed my mind), for substrate, I used a layer of laterite followed by some regular gravel (the grain size of the gravel is seen in this photo).





This was a lot less expensive than Flourite, et al, especially since I had little intentions of adding any demanding plants. About a month ago, I changed my minds and decided to plant the tank. Everything is growing pretty well, except I am having problems with the foreground. Because the grain size of the substrate I am using is much larger than I would normally use for a planted tank, whenever the foreground plants (glosso) send out runners to spread, they just donít get any traction in the substrate. Everything is growing well up front but I am having trouble keeping new growth in the foreground planted.

All this to ask what my options are in terms of adding a substrate with a smaller grain size to the foreground without removing any of the fish or the other plants. I donít have time for a major overhaul. My preference is to use a carpeting plant that spreads through runners such as glosso or E. tennullus and was hoping I can just add some other substrate without causing a big mess or water problems. Any advice?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 05:51 PM
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Id say get some SMS and swap it out OR you might be able to remove some of the larger gravel in the front. Make some plastic strips from sodabottles - use those as a divider. Place a finer gravel - or some other substrate. Perhaps get a large bag of sms and use some now for the front. Then when you have time. Remove the back. Good luck!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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What about flourite? Has anyone ever managed to rinse it to the point where it actually rinses pretty clean? I don't want to put something in the aquarium that is going to cloud it up for a few days.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by lawgman View Post
What about flourite? Has anyone ever managed to rinse it to the point where it actually rinses pretty clean? I don't want to put something in the aquarium that is going to cloud it up for a few days.
I was in the same situation as you last year. I got my 31G in May 2006, then I decided to have more plants. I eventually found out that gravel is not the best choice for plants. I also tried adding laterite. In Decemeber, I bought 2 bags of Flourite and removed everything in my 31G. Yes, Flourite will cloud your tank for about 5 days, but after that, the water will be crystal clear! You might want to do it now as it is still warm outside. I recommend fill a bucket with Flourite, and use a garden hose to rinse it.You might want to take a look at my 31G thread, there is a picture on the first page showing one day after the change.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 01:01 AM
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I was going to swap my substrate with charcoal SMS at one point but the thought of removing all the plants and fishes and replanting and relocating them just didn't seem like something I wanted to tackle. I ended up washing a few batches of SMS and pouring them over my existing substrate. I was able to add about an 1-1 1/2" of new substrate over top the gravel, maybe a little bit more on the back side of the tank.

The tank was cloudy for a couple of days but I like the new look. From the front you can see where the gravel and the new substrate meets.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by reybie View Post
I was going to swap my substrate with charcoal SMS at one point but the thought of removing all the plants and fishes and replanting and relocating them just didn't seem like something I wanted to tackle. I ended up washing a few batches of SMS and pouring them over my existing substrate. I was able to add about an 1-1 1/2" of new substrate over top the gravel, maybe a little bit more on the back side of the tank.

The tank was cloudy for a couple of days but I like the new look. From the front you can see where the gravel and the new substrate meets.

Thanks. I may need to try something like this. I will continue to observe my glosso to see if it is necessary.
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