Substrate question for my wife's 5 gallon planted guppy tank
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
bbroush
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Substrate question for my wife's 5 gallon planted guppy tank


So my wife really liked two guppy/endler hybrids (still unsure on these) at exotic reef, and I told her she should start her own tank with one of the tanks jeander gave me. (Thanks again!) and so we got her set up right away with a 5 gallon acrylic tank, we used water, plants and some extra sand from my 20g high and the sponge filter from my 20g to make it as Pre cycled as possible. Plants so far are just a pothos vine and another small vine from EntoCraig, water wisteria, and some duckweed; which are all floating right now because of the lack of soil.

Here is my question, right now there is only 1/2 an inch of sand, bc I couldn't spare anymore (I honestly need more in my 20g) but I was just wondering what would be a good cheap substrate for her 5 gallon. (Whatever extra there is I could use in my 20g)

She's not sure what plants she wants yet, but she wants the tank to be as low maintenance as possible, the 2 guppies will probably be all she has in there, maybe a beta some day, and whatever MTS were transferred from my sand. So whatever recommendations you guys can make would be great. Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:49 PM   #2
lochaber
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With a tank that size, I don't imagine substrate (even a high end one) will cost that much. One bag of almost anything will probably leave you with quite a bit left over.

Cheapest would probably be some sort of dirt capped with pool filter sand or paver sand, or similar, but if you buy those you will probably end up with more leftovers then you know what to do with.

you may even be able to wild-collect enough if you can find a nice clean area where you know that it hasn't been subjected to excessive pollution or pesticide use.

As far as I know, pothos are terrestrial plants. They work great as riparium plants (just roots in the water(people grow cuttings of these in vases of water all the time)) - put them in a little basket or something at about water level. That should be pretty good, as the roots will give fry hiding/feeding places, and the plant should pull nutrients/waste out of the tank quicker, since it has access to atmospheric CO2.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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Yeah I didn't explain that we'll before, but I have the pothos coming out of a couple holes in the lid. That's good to know though, so what areas would be pesticide free? And which sand would you recommend for the cap? (For both economics and overall quality)
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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I have no idea what sort of area you live in, but if you can get to an undeveloped area, a decent distance from a road, stuff there will probably be okay. Just be careful you aren't on park land (I think BLM should be fine?), as you generally can't remove anything (plants, critters, rocks, dirt, etc.) from parklands.

Sand, I haven't used myself, but I've heard good results both using paver sand and pool filter sand.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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Good to know. I live in Utah, and their is a lot of parkland, thanks for your help!
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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So i found a deal on amazon for flourite substrate, $10 for the 15lb bag! I think I may buy another couple and replace my 20g H substrate also. Question though: optimal depth for flourite only for low maintenance heavily planted on both 20H and 5.5. 2"? 3"? I'd like to get your opinions. Thanks
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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Bump
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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so im new to the forum but have been getting some great advice, i put together a low tech 37gl tall tank and used Miracle grow organics choice potting soil and so far am have good results with it. i used the soil with a play sand cap and cost me less then 20$ so for you it would be alot cheaper. the tank was cloudy for a couple weeks but it did clear up.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:30 PM   #9
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I'd like to do something like the Walstad method for this tank, and use the fluorite as the top layer, and top soil or crushed lava rock underneath. I like the idea of not having to wait to put my fish back in the tank. If it works well I will do the same with my 20gallon and replace the sand I have there, or just put a layer of soil/crushed lava rock under the sand I have.
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