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Old 06-02-2004, 01:03 AM   #1
jbarone
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Fluorite Alternatives?


Wow. I just checked out how much fluorite was at my LFS, and am a little discouraged. $25 for 15pds? That seems awfully pricy.

Is there anything else to use for a low tech tank? (stupid question)

Let me rephrase.

Is there anything that is close to as effective as fluorite that I can mix in
with my gravel that won't look too ugly? Preferrably something a little cheaper...

If not, I can always buy a bag, but with the cost of a Co2 injector (I don't want to DIY), an Aquaclear 200 (only $20 at www.petdiscounters.com) and plants, this is going to become an expensive project fairly quicky.

Thanks for all of the help!

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Old 06-02-2004, 01:30 AM   #2
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If you have a petsmart near you go to Petsolutions.com...print out their page that has the price for Fluorite for $9.99 and take it to the manager. They WILL price match and you can get two bags for the price of one!! You could also ask your LFS if they will match the price.
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:03 AM   #3
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That's a good idea...

There ARE alternatives to Flourite. My favorite -- cheap & good -- substrate is a cover of fine gravel, about 2-3 mm size. This will fill up with beneficial fish poop over time. Underneath some stuff that has a good CEC. I use kitty litter (don't ask... search for it) or Profile.

The gravel is about $3 for 50 lb.
KL is about $2 for 25 lb.
Profile is about $15 for 25 lb.

Add some root tabs or fertilizer sticks close to the root feeders. Many plants don't really care how much you spend for what they grow in. Many plants even grow floating, or attached rubber stoppers, if you want.

I switched from a low tech, sterile substrate with KL underneath to pure Flourite (nothing else changed) and had a major BBA drama for about 3 months (could have been coincidence). My glosso that was growing great still hasn't recovered.
I am digressing... but anyway, yes there are alternatives to expensive substrates.
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Old 06-02-2004, 04:08 PM   #4
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Kitty litter sounds good, but won't it dissolve?

Most of the kitty litter I have (I have five cats) cakes/clumps
and I would imagine that it does that because it molds together/fragments.

Is there a specific brand that would prevent this, or am I just being paranoid? I suppose that having a thick layer of gravel over the top, nothing much would bother it---but...


Thanks!

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Old 06-02-2004, 04:31 PM   #5
eds
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He said "don't ask" b/c kitty litter has been debated to death here and elsewhere. Go ahad and search to see if it is the route for you. People feel passionately both ways and others are indifferent. No single correct answer for everyone.

All I have to say is, tho $15 might seem a bit high on your budget, you will only have to spend it one time, and you will reap the benefits for as long as you maintain your tank.

In aquarium-keeping - as well as other pursuits - beware the appearance of false economies.
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Old 06-02-2004, 04:50 PM   #6
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I don't think I'll ever try kitty litter. I don't suggest soil for a beginner either.

Eds is right...a high tech, high light, CO2 injected aquarium isn't cheap. $10-$20 per gallon for the setup...not including fish or plants...just hardware and substrate.

I have no shame in saying my 75gallon cost about $1,000 to setup from scratch, and I even got the first 4 bags of flourite for $15 (they retail for $25 here)
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:10 PM   #7
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Hehe, thanks for the info. (I thought he meant not to ask the LFS store)

I checked out Petsmart, but they claim not to have fluorite in stock.
They're only about 15 miles from me though, so I could always drive down there
and see for myself...

Honestly, I'd rather go full bore into the hobby and not regret my decision later. I'd hate to want to change things a bit down the line and have to rip out all of work/aquascaping that I've done.

So, if I'm going to do this right, I'm going to need...

$25 15lbs of Fluorite
$22 Aquaclear 200
$35 Co2 Injector
$?? DIY Lighting Kit


Seems bare, but I can't think of anything else.

What else do I need?
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:37 PM   #8
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If they don't have Fluorite, check to see if they have Eco-Complete. That is a really good substrate also...about $5.00 more (15.99 at Petsolutions.com) so that could be another cost-saving option. You could also ask the manager to order some for you this week. I would hate for you to blow all the money on something that you can definitely get cheaper. Good luck!!
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:43 PM   #9
eds
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A 36 or 55w retrofit kit will cost you $42.
http://ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm
You'll have to check to see which will fit the dimensions of your tank.
Bulb will also be extra.

You have not explained what type of CO2 system you intend to spend $35 on.
DIY would be an area to economize here, but you said you don't want to.

You will need to spend some $ on ferts. Needs will differ depending on your plants. Dosing macros with bulk chemicals is definite way to economize. With bulk macros and additional bottles of micros, iron, etc., $10 per month would be a very high estimate.

Your plants will cost something. You can spend just about as little or as much as you want. Per plant cost can vary from $.99 to $10. You can start off with very few plants and spread them via clippings as they grow, or you can start off heavily planted from the get-go. For a 20g, I'd estimate $30 could get you started okay. I recommend starting on the slow side, then increasing number and variety, as it is easier to troubleshoot. OTOH, heavy planting can guard against algae.

You'll also want to consider test kits. People differ on exactly what is required. Bare minimum IMO is NO3 and ph. Say $12.

That's about all I can think of.
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarone
I'd hate to want to change things a bit down the line and have to rip out all of work/aquascaping that I've done.
I just want to point out how amusing this thought is to anyone who's been in this hobby for a while!
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Old 06-02-2004, 08:24 PM   #11
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In response to eds, I'd definitely go with another subrate in place of flourite.

I looked at both of them side by side, and frankly am not impressed by the color.
I've got a tan colored gravel with a few small black pebbles mixed in, and think that fluorite/eco-complete would clash. Do they make it in other colors?
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarone
In response to eds, I'd definitely go with another subrate in place of flourite.

I looked at both of them side by side, and frankly am not impressed by the color.
I've got a tan colored gravel with a few small black pebbles mixed in, and think that fluorite/eco-complete would clash. Do they make it in other colors?
So are you planning to mix flourite with gravel? If so use NO LESS than 50% flourite, or you're just wasting your money. Eco would definitely look crappy with your current tan gravel. If you really want to do this 'all the way' you should use 100% plant substrate, eco or flourite, and not mix anything in. They make flourite red, but that would clash worse.

Planted tanks = not cheap
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:39 PM   #13
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There's always laterite - a kind of neutral tannish color.
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Old 06-17-2004, 12:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarone
Kitty litter sounds good, but won't it dissolve?

Most of the kitty litter I have (I have five cats) cakes/clumps
and I would imagine that it does that because it molds together/fragments.
JB, just wanted to backpedal a bit here. It's really just the clumping clay litter that dissolves. They still make the "old-fashioned" type of granular non-clumping clay litter. I know I had a cat that had a thing for water and felt like he had to stir his water around before he drank. Wet feet (especially on a Maine Coon) and clumping litter don't mix!

Cindy
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Old 06-17-2004, 04:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseHawke
JB, just wanted to backpedal a bit here. It's really just the clumping clay litter that dissolves. They still make the "old-fashioned" type of granular non-clumping clay litter. I know I had a cat that had a thing for water and felt like he had to stir his water around before he drank. Wet feet (especially on a Maine Coon) and clumping litter don't mix!

Cindy
Even the non-clumping cat litter can dissolve over time.. Its just baked clay so after being submerged for a while it can soften or even turn to mush. It has happened to people on this board and I 've seen it happen personally (although I have not used KL myself for this reason, too unpredictable)
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