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Old 04-06-2004, 12:23 AM   #1
wonder woman
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I was at a lfc meeting this weekend and the speaker gave a talk on the subject of planted tanks. Specifically, low-tec planted tanks. His thinking (and experience) was that a substrate consisting of a 1" bottom layer of 50/50 mixed aquatic soil (mostly clay) and plain aquarium gravel, with a 2 or 3" top layer of plain aquarium gravel was the best and cheapest medium for plants.
I have a brand new 100g tank, set up only this last weekend. Ready to be planted. Not many plants right now, I'm really waiting until I have everything ready. I do have a few tiger lotuses I love very much. I'd like to add a sword or two as well. Currently, 260 watts of c.f. lighting (10k), 2 h.o.b. power filters, inhabitants are livebearers, cories, otos, and a pair of killies. No co2 yet, but probably will be adding some sort of DIY unit. It currently has only a 1" layer of regular aquarium gravel, already seeded with bacteria. I have about 1" more of seeded gravel I can add at any time.
I know that in order to do the above operation, I'll have to remove the fish, drain the tank, add the substrate, and then refill it. What, in everybody's opinions, are the pros and cons of this substrate? And, IS it or is it NOT better to SAVE the water currently in the tank?

Thanks in advance!
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550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
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30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:45 AM   #2
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Cheapest.. Next to sand, yes, absolutely.

The best? Probably not. Aquarium gravel has a very low CEC rating and has very minimal ability to actually bind nutrients near the roots of the plants. Once the gravel has become well seeded with mulm then the mulm itself can compensate for the gravels inadequecies.

Aquatic soil is pretty good however, especially if it contains the right clays. It has a pretty high CEC rating and does what its supposed to do.

The only problem in layered substrates like this is that things get mixed up pretty easily over time. I fyou are the kind of person (like myself) who likes to plants and replant quite often you will find your substrate gets pretty stirred up. Digging fish and snails can also compound this problem.

In short, yes you can grow plants with this set up. But I do see a couple of minor problems you will want to consider.

1.) You will need a LOT of DIY bottles to generate any appreciable amount of CO2 in a tank this big. I really wouldnt recomend this option at all, compressed CO2 would be a better way to go (unless you are willing to run a half dozen or so DIY setups)

2.) If you do Add CO2 you will need to modify or replace your HOB filters to reduce your suface agitation, especially if you are only using DIY.
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Old 04-06-2004, 09:45 PM   #3
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Okay, so what would be the NEXT cheapest aquarium substrate for plants (and safe for cories), to cover a 100g tank?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonder woman
Okay, so what would be the NEXT cheapest aquarium substrate for plants (and safe for cories), to cover a 100g tank?
I did a mix of about 30% flourite and 70% sand in my 120g tank and am very happy with the results and it didnt cost two much...

my 2 cents
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:51 PM   #5
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Jason, do you have any pictures of your tank? And do you find that the sand finds its way to the bottom of the tank?
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:56 PM   #6
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Me too!
But, I've heard that the sand compacts, and makes root growth difficult. Do you have this problem?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean
Jason, do you have any pictures of your tank? And do you find that the sand finds its way to the bottom of the tank?
Check out http://www.plantedtank.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2671

No not really... There is some settleing... but it seems the sand stays on top..... for the most part....


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Old 04-06-2004, 11:01 PM   #8
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I'll have to admit, it does look really nice. And your cories must be really happy on it. Maybe if I can find black sand somewhere cheap...where did you get yours, and was it expensive?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonder woman
I'll have to admit, it does look really nice. And your cories must be really happy on it. Maybe if I can find black sand somewhere cheap...where did you get yours, and was it expensive?
The cories do love it, as do my loaches... I got it at home depot for $1.98 for a 50lb bag... There is two bags in the tank.


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Old 04-06-2004, 11:07 PM   #10
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Can't beat that. Wonder if they have darker colored sand. Do you ever get sand in your filter?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonder woman
Can't beat that. Wonder if they have darker colored sand. Do you ever get sand in your filter?
No sand in the filter, my pick up tubes are up about 5 inches from the bottom....

Never seen the cheap stuff in any other color that is darker.... You have to watch some sand as it can effect your water chemistry... If you want darker sand try some landscape suppliers they might have it... The only other possiblity its Tahitian Moon sand which is black, but pricey. But I alway suggest adding a little to a bucket and letting it sit for a few days and see if it changes your Ph, Kh, Gh..... It shouldn't

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Old 04-06-2004, 11:23 PM   #12
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I do get sand in my filters from time to time. My balas love to take mouthfulls of it and spit it around the tank. Thankfull my oto's do a great job of brushing it off plant leaves.. lol
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Old 04-08-2004, 09:06 PM   #13
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hi i use a 70% schultz aquatic soil 20% aquarium gravel and 10% sand . over time the sand will sink to the bottom. the gravel and sand are pretty much used to hold down the plants. and yea corries love the stuff. for etimated 150 g tank. cost me altogether less then $40 for 3" substrate

schultz did change my ph. it dropped it but my tetras spawned from the resulting ph drop but i slowly raised it back up.

i delt with compaction using MTS and banjo cats. the sand and light consistancy of the clay made it easy for the banjos and mts to easily swim into the gravel. and get as deep as 2 inches into the gravel. i have 4 banjos planining to get 5 more. my loches and cories deal with the upper substrate.

since i think schults isnt realy high in nutrients but high in CEC over time the stuff will get as good as florite just have to fertilize a bit till it gets there.

basically how i set it up. filled the tank with schults then powdered sand above it to hold it down then filled the tank. the sand made planting much easier. then used the aquarium gravel only around the heavly reooted plants and plants tha tend to get uprooted easily. and the left over gravel on the top of the rest of the substrate. this allows the banjo free movement in the substrate. and man they are hard to catch when you need to get them out. they just dig right into the substrate
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Old 04-09-2004, 05:24 AM   #14
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ill try to post a pic of my setup its a estimated 150g.
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Old 04-12-2004, 09:38 PM   #15
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Bought 1 bag of Schultz's Aquatic Soil (I think it's also called Profile). It's actually very pretty. I thought it was going to be grey, but it's a nice reddish shade. I hope 1 bag will be enough for the bottom layer of my 100g tank. Anyone else have any ideas on what else I should add in while I'm re-doing it? What about an iron source like Flourite or Laterite?
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MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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