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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-18-2013 10:11 PM
Elyssa Well, I just went out earlier and purchased 100 lbs of the 20/40 Black Diamond Blasting Sand. It's funny because right on the front of the package it says in big red capital letters....PRODUCT MUST STAY DRY...

I'm starting with a 26 gallon bow front tomorrow morning & then onto the 55g.

Thanks everybody for your feedback!
02-18-2013 07:40 PM
Option Elyssa,

No problem. NYC water is some of the most conducive for shrimp raising and in my experience it has definitely not dissapointed. And to answer your question - yes I have been using the same NYC tap water in both of my tanks.

So because the eco-complete tank has been having much higher pH's I have been using indian almond leaves to buffer the high pH and further IALs are also great for the fauna as well. Of course, overall I wish my pH would just stay low in that tank by itself.
02-18-2013 12:00 PM
Elyssa Option,
That would suggest that eco-complete does raise the PH assuming your source water is the same and is effecting yours quite a bit. How buffered is your water? I know dropping the PH of mine is a challenge and more fidding than I want to get into and more added expense.

I think my best bet might be going with a substrate that is inert then that is one less thing to worry about.

Thanks for posting your numbers.
02-18-2013 12:12 AM
Option Elyssa,

Just to give you an idea of the discrepancy in pH between my Flourite tank vs my Eco-complete tank. The flourite tank sits at a nice, stable pH of 6.6. The eco-complete tank sits at a pH of 7.8-8.0.

I suppose for some the higher pH might be better...?african cichlids like this I think. But my fauna is mostly amazon or southeast asian fish. And for sure almost all freshwater shrimps (which I have boatloads in the flourite tank) like it at a pH of < 7.
02-17-2013 08:22 PM
Elyssa madness,
The black tahitian moon sand is beautiful.

Good to know that it's more aesthetic issues than anything else.

How long does it take to settle after you've planted or disturbed it?
02-17-2013 07:43 PM
madness Using the 'sand' type substrates you just have to be careful when working in the tank. Removing/moving plants, netting things out, etc. because the substrate is so light that it can get messy.

Mostly aesthetic challenges rather than biological or chemical challenges.

I have black tahitian moon sand (very comparable to the black diamond stuff) in a couple of tanks and it looks great and seems to grow plants just fine as long as I keep the tanks properly fertilized. I rarely mess with the tanks though so I don't have to worry about stirring up the sand.
02-17-2013 05:12 PM
Elyssa To funny Hoppy,
That was my next question.
http://www.tractorsupply.com/little-...50-lb--3907798

They also have the black diamond stuff too. $7.99 for 50lbs.

It's just coal slag and from what I've read a few seconds ago, people seem to have good luck with it.

I figured as much with mixing, you'd end up with a mess over time!

Thanks.
02-17-2013 04:45 PM
Hoppy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyssa View Post
I need to be careful with my PH. I don't want any chances of raising it.
I wouldn't worry about the pH. It is the KH that is more important, by far. The pH ia just a reaction to the KH.
Quote:

Is there anyway to test the water coming out of your tap for the mineral composition? My well water is loaded with minerals and in layman speak is considered hard. I'm not running a water softener system.
Yes, you can measure the GH, knowing that most of the GH will be calcium. And, you can look up, or ask for your local water company water quality report, which usually lists the "stuff" that is in the water.
Quote:

I was cringing over the price of lighting last week and now it appears the substrate might be more. Are there any *cheats*, as in okay, buy a bag of flourite for the actual areas you'll be putting the rooted plants in and then going with another material that's less pricey to fill the areas that won't be planted.
Most of us keep our tank as it is for a limited time, a year or two maybe, then we want to try something else. If you use different substrate materials in different parts of the tank, or layer the substrate, when you try to remove it for doing a good cleaning of the tank, you mix it all up. Even if you leave it in the tank, the substrate will mix up from the activities of the fish and the natural mixing of fine materials moving down, and large particles moving up. Plus, every time you pull out a plant you partially mix the substrate materials. I think there is a lot in favor of using just one material for a substrate, even if it is costly.

Inert substrates work fine, just not as good as nutrient loaded substrates. You can use Black Diamond blasting grit if you want a nice black substrate, and it is very cheap. Or you can use pool filter sand, which can have a color from white to black, depending on where you live. Then, use root fertilizer tabs to get nutrients into the substrate. Those are much better economical options than using different substrate materials in the tank, in my opinion.
02-17-2013 01:16 PM
Elyssa Option, no offense taken what so ever. Answers like that are more helpful to me because my brain enjoys the details and facts!

I need to be careful with my PH. I don't want any chances of raising it.

Thanks Hoppy. I didn't look enough into the Flourite. But had read conflicting info and opinions of that. For the price I was assuming it wasn't inert!

Is there anyway to test the water coming out of your tap for the mineral composition? My well water is loaded with minerals and in layman speak is considered hard. I'm not running a water softener system.

Are there any *cheats*, as in okay, buy a bag of flourite for the actual areas you'll be putting the rooted plants in and then going with another material that's less pricey to fill the areas that won't be planted.
02-17-2013 02:29 AM
lochaber
Quote:
Originally Posted by Option View Post
I would have to agree. For me, aside from the looks (never really liked the mix of black/dark red/brown substrate) and the courseness (lava rock is sharp & jagged)....the biggest deal breaker for me was that being lava rock it raises your pH to levels astronomically.
I don't think typical lava rock should affect pH... I'm pretty sure it's about the same chemical/mineral composition as basalt, it just has a lot of bubbles in it. Depending on where it was mined/gathered, Some carbonate rocks may have gotten mixed in, or possibly runoff deposited carbonate minerals on/in the lava rock.

If it is a contaminated source, I would imagine it would either wash out after a bit, or you could possibly try to DIY it with a muriatic acid bath. But that's a lot of work for lava rock.

Oh- and as to substrate calculation, I've found this somewhat helpful, although it doesn't have too many options:
http://www.plantedtank.net/substratecalculator.html
02-17-2013 02:16 AM
Hoppy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyssa View Post
Option,

I was just reading about the Seachem Flourite. I hear Seachem says to just put it in and it will cloud the water and clear. I'm sure this has been debated to death, but why would you want to rinse this stuff clean, if I'm sure a lot of the expense has to do with all the good stuff in it for plants. Am I missing something? Are there any alternatives to this particular brand, because looks pricey.

Thanks.
Flourite is an inert substrate. It doesn't contain any of the "good stuff" that plants need. It does have a pretty good CEC, so it can hold cations, like iron, ammonium, calcium, magnesium, etc., so plant roots can use them easily. It is a nice looking, uniform texture substrate material, which I like very well. But, it is not a nutrient filled substrate.
02-17-2013 01:46 AM
madness
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyssa View Post
madness,
LOL, thanks for the math lesson. I'm looking at some of the prices and compositions and the back of my mind is saying...glorified kitty litter.....hmmm!!!

I like the look of the lava rock. I will look into that. I assume you have used it...how is it working for you? I need something that isn't going to mess with the PH as in raise it. How is the break down in the long run?

This is the first I've heard of it and I want to thank you for taking the time to post it. I want to cover my bases and am not into wasting $$$. Thanks again!
There is variance in lava rock. It sort of amounts to 'get the right type and you won't have problems.'

That is the one reason I would prefer to pay more for specifically chosen/tested/prepared lava rock like that from substrate source rather than getting some REALLY cheap lava rock from a landscaping place (which many people do) and then having to worry about testing it.

I actually have about 50lbs of the nice smaller black lava rock substrate from SubstrateSource sitting here but the tanks that I was going to use it in have not been started up yet. So I can't vouch for how it actually works in the tank but a lot of other people do and I was planning to use it for more sensitive/expensive shrimp tanks.

I didn't mean to be patronizing with the simple math but often times people end up asking for someone to do the calculations so I just went ahead and did them to start with. I didn't intend any offense.
02-17-2013 01:30 AM
Option
Quote:
Originally Posted by madness View Post
I personally found Eco-complete to be a waste of money.

Nothing wrong with it, but it costs a lot more than the plain/cheap options and it doesn't provide all of the benefits of the more expensive nutrient rich soils.
I would have to agree. For me, aside from the looks (never really liked the mix of black/dark red/brown substrate) and the courseness (lava rock is sharp & jagged)....the biggest deal breaker for me was that being lava rock it raises your pH to levels astronomically.
02-17-2013 12:54 AM
Elyssa madness,
LOL, thanks for the math lesson.

I like the look of the lava rock. I will look into that. I assume you have used it...how is it working for you? I need something that isn't going to mess with the PH as in raise it. How is the break down in the long run?

This is the first I've heard of it and I want to thank you for taking the time to post it. I want to cover my bases and am not into wasting $$$. Thanks again!
02-16-2013 11:52 PM
madness The footprint of a 55 gallon tank is 48"x13" or 624 square inches.

Multiply the footprint by the depth of the desired substrate to get the volume (cubic inches).

1 inch thick substrate would require 624 cubic inches.

2 inch thick substrate would require 1248 cubic inches.

Lets use 1,000 cubic inches as an example. There are 70 cubic inches per 2lb bag of lava rock that I linked to.

1,000 (cubic inches) / 70 (cubic inches) = 14.285. Lets round up to 15 bags.

15 bags x $3 each = $45

-------------------

With Eco-complete you are probably looking at 4 or 5 bags (20lb bags, not sure on the volume in each bag) and the bags are $25 each.

-------------------

Lava rock is so porous that you have to just calculate volume rather than weight or it won't work out correctly.
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