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Old 10-18-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
Hardy85
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Tank Re-do Substrate Help


So currently using Turface and Black Diamond, while I love both of them, I am moving and during the move I can guarantee they are gonna mix

So considering I plan to re-scape the tank I am curious as to what I could do on a budget to make it more plant friendly.

Thinking the new set up will be all Turface, I'm just wondering if I should do a layer of dirt or peat moss below the turface and if so how much?

I am the type that likes to switch out plants occasionally - otherwise I probably wouldn't hesitate with dirt. But I wanna try to limit how much I change it up after this.

Planning a great stuff, rock, and driftwood scape to provide some height

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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what kind of fish are going into the tank? and what kind of plants?
if you're doing any fish that will get cut up from the turface then I'd say shy away from it.
also stay away from it if you're going to do something like dwarf hair grass or even HC as a carpet.
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardy85 View Post
.....I am curious as to what I could do on a budget to make it more plant friendly.

.....Thinking the new set up will be all Turface, I'm just wondering if I should do a layer of dirt or peat moss below the turface and if so how much?
....
DIRT

Peat is and additive to dirt, not a great substitute for dirt.
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Old 10-19-2013, 03:37 AM   #4
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I don't suggest adding peat moss to any substrate, if you need a buffering substrate then look into an ADA dirt or something similar.
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:14 AM   #5
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I don't suggest adding peat moss to any substrate, if you need a buffering substrate then look into an ADA dirt or something similar.
What is your rational based on?
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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My only concern with dirt is accidentally pulling it up or something, if i did dirt I'd probably go sand. Dirt isn't out of the question, I just don't have the time to make a fully MTS before the move

Also, I currently have both turface and black diamond and have not seen any negative effects on fish or plants

Fish stock:
Parva Rainbows
GBR
Cory
BN Plecos
few misc

Plants:
Need to develop this list
Temple Plant
Crypts
etc.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:22 PM   #7
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Turface and Black Diamond are different density. I bet you could separate them, but it would take time.

If you like the look of Turface, but want dirt under it, then perhaps 1" deep of dirt in the front, a bit deeper in the back would be enough. Yes, they will blend when you dig up a plant. I would sort of stuff the dirt back down then add a bit more Turface to the tank.

I have had a tank with peat moss substrate. Chemically it works out just fine (still running). Aesthetically it is not so nice. Any water movement stirs the peat, then it settles out onto the leaves of the plants. Works really well in a riparium for carnivorous plants, though!
I see no problem in adding some peat moss to a dirt blend for an aquarium.

I tend not to make layers of different substrates. Then there is no issue of pulling up a plant and mixing them.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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My only concern with dirt is accidentally pulling it up or something, if i did dirt I'd probably go sand. Dirt isn't out of the question, I just don't have the time to make a fully MTS before the move...
You could use miracle grow. It only needs a good rinse to get the floaters out.

I pull crypts out of my tanks with MTS capped with PFS and seldom get more than a little dirt. It can be syphoned out or just left to settle back to the bottom through the cap.

The trick is to turn off all current creating devices and SLOWLY wiggle the plant roots free.
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:12 PM   #9
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The trick is to turn off all current creating devices and SLOWLY wiggle the plant roots free.
LOL,

I'll have to remember that.

One concern I would have would be anerobic conditions, I plan to do a 3D rock wall, with a few raised planters... I'm assuming some larger rock below the Miracle grow would help

What sort of depths would you say with the soil / sand?
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:32 PM   #10
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"anerobic conditions" are a natural part of plant substrate, something that gotten hyped beyond reason, see my Toxic Ten link.

Typically dirt is 1" to 2" with a Sand Cap of 11/2 to 2 1/2" with 3" total depth as an ave.

I feel that sand is the best functional cap for dirt. In my tanks you can see an ultra fine layer of sand on top of the dirt. I feel it creates a "seal" that helps the process of the dirt decomposing and uptake of nutrients by the plants.

If you want to use your existing Turface I would suggest 1" of miracle grow, rinsed, the 2" of Turface. There are dozens of threads about miracle grow here for reference. I put my dirt in damp the consistency of mashed potatoes. Then I lay some paper towels on that layer and press down to compact, removing air pockets. Then cover with the cap. I plant them fill.
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
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skimming through that... all I can say is WOW...

I think I'd have been too chicken to attempt that substrate..

So thinking based on that, do miracle grow, jobes plant sticks, dry leaves, coffee grounds and cap with PFS.

Do I need MT snails? I really would prefer not, but would put some in if needed

You just hear everyone talk about the dreaded bubble, and considering the fish I have, I would prefer them not being taken out by one burp lol
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:42 AM   #12
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Thriving aquatic plants actually add oxygen to the substrate. It is areas without plants but with poor water circulation that are subject to anaerobic conditions.
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:44 AM   #13
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I sifted the miracle gro to get most the big chunks out. And capped it. I have another tank that I just dumped and went and it has wood that makes its way to the surface still but oh well
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Old 10-20-2013, 03:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
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.....So thinking based on that, do miracle grow, jobes plant sticks, dry leaves, coffee grounds and cap ....
Thanks please keep in mind, I went to extreme levels on that tank to illustrate a point. The miracle grow will work well for you. I suggest if you add anything it would be potash.

If you decided to crank up the organic content, you'll need to load the tank with plants and include rapid growing plants like hornwort or water lettuce as a safety until the main plants get established....that was a major factor in being successful with the Toxic Ten.
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Thanks please keep in mind, I went to extreme levels on that tank to illustrate a point. The miracle grow will work well for you. I suggest if you add anything it would be potash.

If you decided to crank up the organic content, you'll need to load the tank with plants and include rapid growing plants like hornwort or water lettuce as a safety until the main plants get established....that was a major factor in being successful with the Toxic Ten.
Ok thanks for the advice
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