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mitche8359 02-04-2003 05:44 PM

Does anyone have a good site or article on substrates? I'm currently using a small course gravel but want to read up on substrates, the different kinds, etc.

GulfCoastAquarian 02-04-2003 05:56 PM

Everything you ever wanted to know and then some:
Substrates For the Planted Aquarium
Substrates for Aquarium Plants

aquaphish 02-04-2003 06:20 PM

the articles are very informative,but I find they cause some confusion as to which one to use!!!

I have a 40 gal. planted tank and use a 50% mix of Flourite/gravel and have some good looking plants!!!

mitche8359 02-04-2003 06:24 PM

thanks for the comments. I'll give the articles a read.

GulfCoastAquarian 02-04-2003 07:42 PM

Yeah, there sure is a lot of information out there and even more opinions. Flourite is an easy way to go. Hassle free and aesthetically pleasing. But I'm going to start a new tank and try some of these more advanced loam/enriched clay substrates with some heavy root feeders.

mitche8359 02-04-2003 08:44 PM

I had a chance to skim the articles. Yes, there is a lot of information. Worse, I think I might be in some trouble. I went from a faux pas plastic plant tank to a planted tank without considering the substrate. I have natural gravel in the tank a good three inches likely.

Looks like most of the substrates are supposed to go under the gravel. Buggers... looks like an overhaul coming up over the weekend.

I like that gravel look though for the SA amazon theme I have going. Can I put flourite under the gravel for now until I read more on the subject and decide how to go?

Is flourite available at most lfss?

GulfCoastAquarian 02-04-2003 09:23 PM

Most LFS's carry Flourite. Your regular gravel will grow plants just fine, though. As a matter of fact, some plants don't care what substrate you have, since they are water-column feeders. Hygrophilia, Rotala, Egeria, Ludwigia, Bacopa, Hornwort, Wisteria, etc. are all primarily stem feeders. Their roots main function is to anchor them in place.
If you do have the opportunity to completely tear down the tank (no fish yet), then go for it. If I had no fish in my tank with a 2/3 Flourite / 1/3 gravel mix, I would do an inch of kitty litter first, followed by Flourite, and topped with an inch of regular Home Depot Play Sand.
But if your tank has fish and is well established, and your gravel is smaller than 2-3 mm in size, I wouldn't worry too much about tearing it all down. Even root feeders like Echinodorus can do well in a sterile gravel substrate with supplements like Tetra Initial Stick (or Root Tabs) and some Jobe's Sticks.

Hooked4Life 02-05-2003 03:01 AM

When I converted my 20G Long from fish only to a planted tank, I had around 1" of aquarium gravel. I added another 1" of aquarium gravel and 1" of Flourite. That gave me about 3" total for the substrate and you can see by the pictures that the Flourite looks quite nice. When I do my next take I may decide to use 100% Flourite to gain more of the benefits from the Flourite.

mitche8359 02-05-2003 12:30 PM

Hmmm... my response from home didn't show up. Buggers.

Quote:

Your regular gravel will grow plants just fine, though.
I was hoping that someone would say that... :) I guess I'll let it be for a while to see how the plants take to it. The gravel is 2-3mm with some larger gravel tossed in for aesthetics. I plan on adding some river stones as well to complete the look.

The Jobes Sticks that you mentioned, are they the typical house plant type or is there an aqua plant variety that the lfs sells at an elevated price?

Quote:

That gave me about 3" total for the substrate and you can see by the pictures that the Flourite looks quite nice.
Nice pictures. I imagine that the flourite is the top layer of the substrate? Looks like a fine gravel. I was going to add a smaller size gravel eventually just to get different sizes in the tank so maybe I'll see what's available at the LFS.

GulfCoastAquarian 02-05-2003 01:55 PM

The only kind of regular gravel you'll have a hard time with is the course gravel. It will be very difficult to get plants to root in those stones. The finer the gravel, the better the roots.
The Jobes sticks you want have a very low phophate number (the second in the standard N-P-K rating) so the houseplant one at 13-4-5 is pretty good. Some have found a "fern" version with even less phosphate, so if you can find that one, it would be better. Just shove one half stick underneath each large root feeder (sword, crypt, etc) and don't touch the plant or substrate around that plant for a month or two.

mitche8359 02-09-2003 12:32 AM

I looked for flourite at the lfs. I thought I was looking for a large bag of material that looked like gravel? The product available at the lfs was laterite. Not exactly a cheap product if it was going to be used as a layer of substrate. I'll mix it in with some of the new smaller gravel that I bought to put around the anubias.

m.lemay 02-09-2003 12:32 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by mitche8359
I looked for flourite at the lfs. I thought I was looking for a large bag of material that looked like gravel? The product available at the lfs was laterite. Not exactly a cheap product if it was going to be used as a layer of substrate. I'll mix it in with some of the new smaller gravel that I bought to put around the anubias.
Be prepared for a real cloudy mess when using laterite.
I had about 1 inch of gravel in my tank, and I really didn't feel like tearing it all down to avoid the cloudy mess. So. I ordered 2 bags of Flourite and mixed it right into the gravel. It looks awesome and though it did cloud the tank a little it cleared up within 4 hours. I did my 29 gal with laterite and that sucker stayed cloudy for about 3 days. It was so bad, its a miracle the fish survived.:o

Marcel

Buck 02-09-2003 12:59 PM

I use the Jobes (for large indoor plants it says on package ) ... its 14-3-7
Now that I no longer have a UGF it is working very well :hehe: :hehe: It was the lowest phosphate I could find with the highest Nitrogen content. My lone failing Crypt is growing nicely now. I also use Flourish Tabs... since going heavier in the sub ferts my plants are growing fewer and fewer "water roots". Im always learning...
Dont let any of the substrate ferts hit the water column or you are asking for Trouble though... notice that is trouble with a capitol "T"...
They will ALL cloud your water if disturbed... read above where I said " Im always learning... :hehe: :hehe:

mitche8359 02-09-2003 03:03 PM

Quote:

stayed cloudy for about 3 days
Did you rinse the laterite? I haven't put it in the tank yet , but I read that it's supposed to be rinsed before being added to the tank.

I'm going to try another lfs today for the flourite. Seems like the way to go if I can find it.

Buck -- are you saying that you don't use flourite of any kind?

SNPiccolo5 02-09-2003 04:07 PM

You wouldn't rinse laterite, since it is just a powdery clay substance, if you put water into it, then it would turn into a clay or a soupy clay.

Flourite on the other hand is basically regular gravel, except it is made of fired clay (baked, if you will, but that is not the term). This clay is porous and absorbs nutrients from the water collumn, so new flourite has nutrients in it, but after in the aquarium for a month or so it has more nutrients. You rinse flourite, and it is very important to rinse it. I never got it to run clear, but a good 10 minutes of rinsing per bucket is needed. I put mine in a bucket and rinsed it, so it took several buckets before all the bags (of flourite) were added to the tank.

Flourite is not a substrate additive or fertalizer, it is basically _gravel_ for the planted aquarium. Laterite is a powder substance which WILL CLOUD YOUR WATER IMMENSLY!!! Jobes sticks can be added to any substrate, and are for heavy root feaders.

I hope this isn't confusing, but you sounded confused in your last post. I was confused at first and still am confused a little bit about what makes a good substrate... I have flourite in my tank with jobes sticks, and it seems to be working... Hope this clears some things up!

-Tim


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