So I soon starting a 29 gallon project, due to the limited space I have and I would rather work my way up to a larger tank. I have most everything I need for the project, except substrate. I did not do any fluoride or sand in my last tank, but I am thinking about doing it in the new tank. My question is, is it absolutely neccessary... I know it probably helps with plant growth and everything. What happens when you gravel vacuum? Do you suck up the fluoride or other smaller substrate. I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction for using fluoride or something else fairly cheap.
I know once I try it, I will be mad that I did not use it in my smaller tank. But I guess there is nothing I can do now.
ok, I assum you are saying flourite. Well, laterite is one cheaper alternative. Laterite has another advantage that it isnt the substrate, but an additive, meaning you can have any substrate you want on top. With flourite, it is the substrate, thus you are confined to just one choice.
i think you need about $90 to fill in a 55 gallon, tank, where as, with laterite, you can buy the most expensive one as much as $32. I recommend First Layer laterite from Aquarium pharmaceuticals, its cheap(about $16 for 55oz, and you only need 1 oz per gallon).
Both will cloud water, but it will go away, and clouding when uprooting plants is no problems(Actually, whenever I uproot mine, its not clouding yet, but this might be because the plants are fairly new).
Thats pretty much what I think, and hope other people could help you.
There is a huge variety of substrates that you can use for a planted tank, so everyone will look at their own and think it's the best and only way...
The extremes are probably from using an inert substrate like sand or gravel, which is cheap, long term stable, and doesn't contain or bind much nutrients, via different amendments in a lower layer, like laterite, peat, soil, soil conditioners or kitty litter, which can bind and release nutrients for plants, to a 100% Flourite/Onyx substrate, which maybe gets you the best results in exchange for a bigger part of your paycheck :wink:
And any and all combinations thereof.
But to answer your question. When you vacuum gravel (gravel vacuum, same thing?), depending on how thick the layer is, you will remove first any detritus/fishpoop, and if you go deeper you will suck out any finer layer if that's what you have below. If you use gravel over flourite it will get mixed up with each other.
When I vacuum I try not to clean to deep to not disturb the bottom layers, and my pea gravel layer is deep enough for that.
On the other hand, if you have a finer layer, like sand, over a coarse layer, like flourite, vacuuming this will over time bring up the coarser particles.
Keep in mind that even if you use something as sterile as gravel, you can supplement that with "root tabs" close to your root feeders for a slow release fertilizer supply. These root tabs can get really expensive though... so what you save first might get expensive over time.
If you use laterite or some other fine layer on the bottom, it might make your water hazy if you do a lot of re-planting. Roots just love that stuff, and don't want to let go when you pull them out.
Not sure if that answers your question...
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