Adding substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2003, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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I would like to add more substrate to my tank. I probably had just enough when I set it up, but now that I have gone to all live plants, I would like to add a little depth to accomodate the root growth and enough to allow contouring.

I presently have natural colored gravel. What would you suggest I add? More of the same gravel? Sand? Laterite or flourite? I admit I thought of this the other day when I saw play sand outside the supermarket.

And would you just add it to the top, or try to mix it into the existing gravel? Add a little at a time, or all at once? Try to disturb the plants as little as possible, or approach this as an overhaul requiring complete replanting?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2003, 11:56 PM
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A 50/50 mix of florite and gravel has been working great for me. Approach it as a complete tank overhaul with a replanting, its probably the quickest and easiest way to do it in the long run.



75 gal heavily planted,50/50 Black beauty,Eco-complete substrate, Pressurised CO2 with solenoid, ph controller, AB Reactor 1000, 330 watts 9325K GE PC lighting,Ehiem Liquidoser, 2-Filstar xp3 canisters.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2003, 12:58 AM
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It is sometimes easiest to start over on a substrate but in some cases not necessary...if its a fairly new tank then nothing is lost to start over but
if the tank has been established for a long time then I wouldnt bother messin with starting all over. In other words... if it aint broke...dont fix it.
Just give the existing substrate a real good vaccuming of fish mulm (which will leave bacteria) and add a 1" - 2" layer of "VERY WELL RINSED FLOURITE" and work it gently into the existing gravel. The flourite does not need to be a solid layer under your plants to be effective.
Look at it this way...even straight aquarium gravel with proper fertilizing will grow nice plants as long as the gravel is not too coarse. A mixture of flourite however will enhance the plants growth.

Then the next tank you setup you can take to the extreme ! :lol:

Unless of course you are up for a project and would like to start over but it didnt sound that way...
If its your only tank right now... I would work with it and save the grief of starting over. I hate upsetting a nice balanced tank unless I HAVE to.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2003, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Het, marcel, why does it not surprise me that you look at this as an opportunity for a complete overhaul?!

I think Buck's approach appeals to me somewhat more. This is my ultra low light, no CO2, no ferts 30 gal. The crypts/anubias/java fern/sag/val are doing okay as is, and the fish are all really healthy. The tank has been running for maybe 3 years, planted for 1. Until I spring for more light (if ever) I don't want to tweak the set up in a manner that will screw things up.

In your opinions, will the flourite be significantly better than sand?

And Buck - negotiations continue re: the 90 in my living room. Realistically, I figure it will be a late fall/winter project.

My sister's family is coming over for Easter, and my BIL is bringing his digital camera. We're going to try to take some shots. Altho, I think I'll be embarrassed to post them anywhere on-line, given the awesome tanks everyone else has running.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2003, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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All right. Just did some additional reading and let me say it for you: "THERE ARE NO NUTRITIVE BENEFITS FROM SAND!"

Will the flourite change the chemistry of my water (which - at present - I do not even test regularly)? Should I add it all at once, or over time?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2003, 02:18 AM
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The Flourite will not change your water chemistry.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2003, 02:27 AM
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Flourite wont effect your worries there.

No need to rush this either , I would do it over time so as not to stir up too much at once.... and be sure to RINSE the flourite till the water comes clear...then just add it by scoopfuls , mix it in and let it stand a day ,

2 bags (30lbs) should get you another 1 1/2" - 2" in your tank if thats a 30 long. You could always remove some of the gravel if you think its too thick but the thicker the better for your rooted plants.

Good luck bro... take some photos
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Wanted to muck around with my tank on Sat. Drove to 5 pet stores and WalMart, and couldn't find any flourite. Being an impatient idiot, I decided on a mixture of a pound of laterite and 10 pounds of very fine gravel.

Scooped out maybe 1/3 of my existing gravel and several rocks. Also pulled all of my anubias for replanting. Good vacuuming, with removal of perhaps 30% water.

After rinsing the laterite in a bucket outside with a hose (can you EVER get it to run clear?!), added laterite where I would be planting my anubias, then added the new sand/gravel and planted the anubias, covering with the old gravel.

Put laterite on the surface around my crypts, val, and sag. Then pushed it down with my finger. Did same with sand/gravel to mix substrate. Relocated some of the crypts slightly and built up the substrate under them while doing this - lifting them while working mixed substrate under them.

Water was slightly cloudy at first, cleared throughout the afternoon, and was crystal clear the next a.m.

It was fun to do, probably took less than an hour, and I'm pleased with the results. Have to wait to see if any improvement in plant growth.

BIL and I took some photos. A couple turned out okay - I'm trying to mess with getting them hosted over on bravenet. Will post them when I get a chance.

Thanks for all the help, guys.
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