A substrate like this easier to find?
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
captmicha
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A substrate like this easier to find?


Soil, sand (filter or playground, I've used both), and Aquasoil (clay pebble-stuff) is okay but I wanted to go with something different. I've been looking at both Turface and Zeolite. And similar products made of the same stuff.

But the problem is that I want it to be very fine, like as close to sand particle size as possible. I can't find this size in any of these products locally except for a particular brand of zeolite but it's blueish-gray and not very natural looking, which is also a requirement. I want it to look like tiny pebbles/natural sand. But I want the exchange capacity that these type of products (zeolite/Turface/etc.) have.

Is there anything that fits my requirements that's widely available at say, Lowes or some other widely distributed chain store? The closest place that carries Turface in Greens Grade (the smallest size) is over 2 1/2 hours away. I'm not going to drive that distance for substrate!
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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Somebody who actually has it may want to verify, but I think there is a fine version of aquasoil.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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What about layering your substrates? Put the larger size turface or zeolite on the bottom then cap with a more desirable looking substrate. I did this in a crypt tank and it has grown a forest of crypt!
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:41 PM   #4
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Fluorite Black Sand & onyx sand
Eco-complete black fine grade
ADA powersand & amazonia powder type

Only the ADA ones are naturalish
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:29 PM   #5
captmicha
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Quote:
Fluorite Black Sand & onyx sand
Eco-complete black fine grade
ADA powersand & amazonia powder type
These don't have the CEC of the substrates I posted I'm looking for.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:16 PM   #6
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Most aquarium substrates are either fired clay (flouritem, eco complete, etc) or heated, rolled organics (ADA and its ilk), or simply inert. The one thing I can think of that MIGHT get you what you need (and I'd have no clue where to get it) would be a very finely ground vermiculite. You'd have to soak, squeeze, soak, squeeze and microwave it in water to get it to sink, but it'd be the highest CEC you're likely to find that's also safe for aquaria. It has probably the highest CEC if any such material (100-150) Other than that, no clue. But...

...that being said... technically, I don't really think a high CEC is needed in our closed systems. A high CEC is not only a capacity but also a speed at which the soil will reach a negatively impacting acidic status (most aquatic plants like a slightly acidic soil so this has to go lower than most aquaria will ever reach with the shallow depth of substrate). The flip side of that is that it continues to hold these cations longer than a soil with a low CEC. Point is, with all the water changing we do, CEC is far less important than nutrients, grain size, texture, etc for the growth of plants.

All of that being said... I've seen tanks grown with inert pool filter sand with just as healthy a plant base as aqua soil, etc. Just use a substrate that fits with the rest of your setup. (don't use pool filter sand if you're not going to fertilize heavily, etc)


Best of luck on your search.
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
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Try Safe-T-Sorb ,not quite as fine as sand but smaller than normal aquarium gravel. It has a nice mixed grayish brown color that looks great. At less than $5 for a 40 pound bag at Tractor Supply, it can't be beat. Will try to get a picture posted as I have just revamped my 125g using it, 2 bags gave an average depth of about 3".
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:40 PM   #8
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Hi captmicha,

sadchevy is correct that Safe-T-Sorb #7941 has the high CEC you are looking for and a smaller grain size than most aquarium gravels and although it does have some 'sand size' particles it is not sand-like.

Here is my 20 gallon; 20 watt AH Supply LED retrofit; no CO2; dosing modified EI with glutaraldehyde for carbon
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:49 PM   #9
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Hi captmicha,

These photos I took some time ago of various high CEC Montmorillonite clay products may help; although the Turface Pro League Grey has been discontinued it will give you an idea of the grain size for the Turface Pro League products.

Dry


Wet


Wet closer for better view of grain size
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Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 07-21-2013 at 03:49 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:56 PM   #10
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Seattle Aquarist- How are your corries barbels with the Safe T Sorb?

SadChevy- Can you please post a picture? I am in the process of getting a 125 together.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:02 PM   #11
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If you want something fine then I'd go with ADA Aquasoil Powder....it's literally a powder it's so thin. It's perfect for growing HC and many other delicate foreground plants. The powder is meant to go on as a top layer so even though it's more expensive than the regular aqua soil, you do not need much.

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Old 07-21-2013, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubzilla View Post
Seattle Aquarist- How are your corries barbels with the Safe T Sorb?

SadChevy- Can you please post a picture? I am in the process of getting a 125 together.
Hi Aubzilla,

Post #8 above should answer both of your questions; I currently use Montmorillonite clay substrates (including Safe-T-Sorb #7941 pictured in post #8 above) in all of my tanks and have never had an any sort of a barbel issue with any that I have kept, bred, or raised. You can see the C. sterbai and C. sterbai albinos in the picture as sell.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi Aubzilla,

Post #8 above should answer both of your questions; I currently use Montmorillonite clay substrates (including Safe-T-Sorb #7941 pictured in post #8 above) in all of my tanks and have never had an any sort of a barbel issue with any that I have kept, bred, or raised. You can see the C. sterbai and C. sterbai albinos in the picture as sell.
I figured you didn't, but I thought I would ask.
I wanted to see what the grain size looked like in a much larger tank, perspective and all that.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubzilla View Post
Seattle Aquarist- How are your corries barbels with the Safe T Sorb?

SadChevy- Can you please post a picture? I am in the process of getting a 125 together.


Corydoras barbel health has everything to do with water quality and the general health of the cories themselves, not the substrate.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:39 PM   #15
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Pictures of safe-t-sorb in a 125g.
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