Black substrate recommendations; how much for 50 gallon?
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:58 PM   #1
Kinketsu
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I'm setting up a 50 gallon (36" x 16" x 20") planted tank for tetras. This is my first experience with planted tanks.

I was hoping for a black substrate. My current thinking is it would be some combination of Onyx Sand (I know it is gray), Tahitian Moon Sand, and Eco-Complete. Any specific recommendations would be appreciated. If this can be made cheaper by a suggestion for another source of black stuff, I'd be thrilled to hear it.

Also, how much do I need? I'm thinking I'll be fairly heavily planted in the end (though only 2-2.4 W/gal, and no CO2). I see recommendations on substrate quantity anywhere from 45 lbs (i.e. 3 bags of Onyx Sand) up to 90 lbs (i.e. 6 bags) for a tank this size ... I'm confused.

Thanks,
Kinketsu
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:37 AM   #2
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In my 56 Gallon 30 x 18 x 24 I used 40lbs (2 bags) of Eco-Complete and abot 30 lbs ( 1 1/2 bags or so :roll: ) of Tahitan Moon Sand...

I LOVE the Eco-Complete substrate, well worth the money in my opinion.
The Moon Sand definately is a nice mix with it. The sand is very Black and the Eco is more of a charcoal dark grey... I have some photos at my site (posted below) of this tank, a couple of the photos you will see some light colored stone I stupidly mixed in on a bored evening. :roll:

It makes for a beautiful substrate if you are willing to spend a few dollars. Maybe Marcel would share some insight on how he liked planting in my substrate last week...
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:58 AM   #3
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Well Buck, I was waiting on you to step up to the plate since you got a lot more experience with the stuff.

Heres what I do know: Planting finely rooted plants in eco-complete and a moon sand mix is a pleasure. The roots get good substrate contact immediately, holding the plants firmly. Much better for fine foreground plants than flourite. The looks of a black substrate really highlights the plants and fish.

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75 gal heavily planted,50/50 Black beauty,Eco-complete substrate, Pressurised CO2 with solenoid, ph controller, AB Reactor 1000, 330 watts 9325K GE PC lighting,Ehiem Liquidoser, 2-Filstar xp3 canisters.
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:29 AM   #4
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Yeah, if I had realized how comparable the costs of eco was to flourite, I would have gone eco. Maybe I will in a future tank. Maybe the 20 I'm planning on setting up in my office. :twisted:
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:30 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys, for the info. Nice pics on your site, Buck. The colour looks awesome.

I'm close to convinced ... my only hesitation is I've been so impressed with Seachem stuff to date ... I figured I could rely on Onyx Sand to perform really well. I imagine the Eco-Complete would be very good, too, but less history there ...

Decisions, decisions ... LOL ...

Thx again,
Kinketsu
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Old 10-24-2003, 04:31 AM   #6
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Eco-Complete is a awesome substrate. And it doesn't affect water chemistry like Onyx does. I have Onyx sand in one tank. It's ok. I do wish it were darker.
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
I imagine the Eco-Complete would be very good, too, but less history there ...
Flourite is history in my eyes, not that it isnt good substrate...because it is... but because #1... my plants like Eco-Complete better!
There was amazing differences in root growth between flourite and Eco... the reasons why this is I just have no explanation for because on the Eco bag the "ingredients are general" ... but I tell ya the results are visible.
When I recently moved into my new house and broke down my tanks it was amazing to me to see the diferences between the root systems of "Same Variety Plants" in the 2 substrates.
2 tanks...
One with Eco and sand, the other with Flourite and sand but uprooting was completely different ! :shock:

And #2 reason for Eco, even if all else was equal... well, it isnt "red". :lol:

You can use a cover substrate or sand over Flourite but the dang "red" eventually comes out at some point in time through uprooting and settling. Im just sick of red I guess... heh

The Tahitan moon sand when "mixed in" really adds a nice flare to the color of the Eco and also helps hold very fine rooted plants easily.
Eco-Complete is a bit more "coarse" in size then is Flourite I have found which I imagine might pose problems in 100% form but I have never tried it myself so this is just an observation. Maybe others that are using 100% Eco as a substrate could elaborate.

But any future endeavors will be using Eco-Complete in my house
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the continued followup. I'm beyond convinced now ... now, I'm really excited!

Will let you know how it goes ... still gotta get my lights.

Cheers!

Kinketsu
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Old 11-06-2003, 02:44 AM   #9
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Where can I find the Tahitian Moon Sand? I have searched my LFS's with no luck.

Also, will it buffer my tank in any way? Is it a natural sand?

Thanks
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Old 11-06-2003, 07:31 PM   #10
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CaribSea Tahitan Moon Sand No buffering was noted and it is very fine sand.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/cgi-bin/...574.1056306574
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Old 11-08-2003, 10:31 PM   #11
Kinketsu
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So, my substrate is here, yippee.

A couple of questions:

1. Any suggestions on how best to rinse the Tahitian Moon Sand?

2. Given a 60:40 mix of Eco-Complete and Tahitian Moon Sand, is there any point in putting a fine layer of peat underneath, or just leave it alone?

Thanks,
Kinketsu
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Old 11-11-2003, 03:24 PM   #12
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This is what I was looking for!! I have a few questions also:

So you would od a 60/40 split of Eco and the moon?

You dont wash the Eco right?

In a 26 gal bow front (same size as a 20 tall but bows out a few inches) would one full bag of ECO and about 3/4 of a moon bag be about right?

Where is the cheepest place to order these...Dr foster&smiths?

Thanks
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Old 11-16-2003, 05:59 PM   #13
Raul-7
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Yes, out of all the places I've asked about shipping. Drs.Fosters&Smith have the cheapest prices for substrates w/shipping. For example, I bought 4bags of Eco-Complete and 2bags of Moon Sand for $140! When I asked BigAls about their shipping, they told me it would cost me 91 just for shipping all 6 items...!
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Old 11-16-2003, 06:20 PM   #14
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There's a mail order place in California that would really lower the cost of shipping. I will try and dig up the name of the place.
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Old 11-18-2003, 11:28 PM   #15
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hi this is my first post. nice site!

is moon sand to sharp for clown loaches?

thank u,
carol
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