New 20G, 50G, and 135G!!! Must find CHEAP substrate solution
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:22 AM   #1
hubbahubbahehe
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Hi all, I just been blessed with a 20G, 50G, and 135G and i cannot afford Fluorite or Eco-complete for all these tanks....LOL...can you imagine the price tag?.. any suggestions for a cheapER solution is MUCH appreciated!!
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:27 PM   #2
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Plain old coarse sand and laterlite?
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:47 PM   #3
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That's probably what I'd do. Coarse Silica Sand and Laterite/Kitty Litter.
Or, Potting Soil and Black Sand. I shopped around for a few weeks before finding a LFS that could order large bags of black silica sand (20lbs for $10).
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:04 PM   #4
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:idea: How about a staged approach, try something in the 20, if it works set up the 50, then the 135.


Please, no potting soil, I beg you, no..... :!:
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:50 PM   #5
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Hi guys, I'm using sand right now....and i'm not diggin the bright look of the sand...it's almost blinding..and the plants don't look as nice , say as on top of a black substrate and a black background...the black really makes the plants stand out.... right now, i've got coated black gravel from my fish only days when i was young.... i've got about 100 lbs of it and iwould hate to see it go to waste....i know that this alone is insufficient and downright will not work...but would it be ok to incorporate it somehow?

perhaps i could use 1-3 mm gravel??? i can live with that appearance. i just found a place near my house Tri City Rock, that sells landscaping materials.... anyone been to one of these places before?? can you fill me in on what to expect when i get there? i have no idea what it's like.
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:03 PM   #6
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I would use coarse sand/fine gravel (same thing :lol and put something with a high CEC underneath it. I personally have good experience with that Walmart Kitty litter, or you could use profile which is sold for ~$15/40 lb bag in some places. Then add jobes or root tabs around the root feeders.

I would stay away from soil... just my opinion though.

How did you end up with that many tanks? Are you sure you have the room for them? :mrgreen:
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:09 PM   #7
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hehe well i already have a 40 G, a 55G, two 10 G, one 20L and people come by my house for bible study..check out my tanks..then go , "hey i got an extra tank, you want it?" and OF COURSE I DO!! hahah.... needless to say, I've got quite a collection in my garage now!!! lol...

Wasserpest, I would LOVE to use the special kitty litter from Walmart, it's so easily accessible to me...but it did not pass the acid test, fizzled like crazy, i'm talking non-stop fizzling.....so *sigh* too bad...

wasserpest, oh man, if they sold profile for that cheap, i would definitely get it....unfortunately...it's around the same price as a bag of fluorite...maybe 4 dollars cheaper at best....

yea, after my stinky soil experiment....i'm a lil scared to do it haha....


so it looks like i'll still need to find something for the underlayer.....ugh...

hey wasserpest, you think i could use the coated black gravel i have on top? or should i dump that and just use uncoated gravel?
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:23 PM   #8
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Well... if you don't know where to put that 135 :mrgreen:

You can use whatever you like on top... I don't like the looks of coated gravel too much, kinda un-natural, but the black does provide for a nice contrast with the plants. I am using a pitch black substrate in my 10 gal, and the Glosso looks great in it, but I am quickly getting tired of it and will probably soon replace it with some river sand (black&white) that I spotted closeby, for more natural looks.

I saw that cheap profile stuff last in Orchard Supply... maybe have a look 'n' see if they sell it close to where you live. Do you think that acid test will work with a baked clay like the kitty litter? Not sure, I though that was more for testing rocks.
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:27 PM   #9
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hmmm...we do live relatively close to each other...so i'm assuming that our Special kitty clays should be the same....

so you say that special kitty works well...what are you comparing it too? could you explain more about it?? which worked better for you, profile or kitty litter?
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:37 PM   #10
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I am comparing the KL to profile. It has the same stability, and looks more natural than the reddish profile (doesn't matter much if you use it underneath a top layer). I tested pH for both and didn't see any effects either way. I did NOT check if they raise hardness. Again, if it is a layer underneath an inch or two of other stuff, I don't think that is such a big problem.

A scientific analysis of various substrates used in fish tanks published at the web (don't have the link handy right now) made that KL look really good in terms of nutrients. Of course, there are also reports of problems with that same brand. YMMV
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:44 PM   #11
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hehe, thanks wasserpest, so what were the reports of the problems? I'm intrigued.
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:51 PM   #12
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You will always find someone with that horror story where substrate x raised the hardness of the water by y degrees which immediatedly killed all of the z's.

Anyway, there is some good reading here http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/cec.html
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:59 PM   #13
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oh ....that was so hard to get through...no pictures at all!!!! lol

sigh,,,,, decisions decisions decisions.......what to do what to do!!!
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:17 PM   #14
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Are you going to use strong lighting above all these tanks? :shock: $$$.....Or would they be low light/maintenance tanks. I'm experimenting with an moss growing tank/paludarium in the off-sunlight. Mostly every plant is cultivate above the water, and is growing with less trouble than submersed. So maybe an idea?.....Nice friends you have, they give you tanks! Maybe you can use a layer of peat plates, they are often cheap and are fertile enough...
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Old 12-08-2003, 11:20 PM   #15
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i am going low tech low maintenance on these tanks...i can't afford to do high tech with all these tanks...let's see how low tech works, then perhaps i will upgrade laters...

i think i've come to a decision and i wanted to run it by everyone.... i've decided to go with a topsoil bottom layer...... and i'm goin to the landscaping supply store and getting 2-3 mm dark gravel of some sort....

now i was just at OSH and i noticed that potting soils are too rich....but top soils seem to be okay....honestly i don't know what the difference is between the two besides their name....anyone can enlighten me on this??
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