too much information about substrates! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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too much information about substrates!

i'm overwhelmed...i'm setting up a new tank and can't decide on a substrate. if you LOVE your substrate and it WORKS (ie. healthy plants), can you tell me about it! undecided on going low- or high- tech but atm plan on starting low tech with ferts and excel.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 07:36 PM
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I just replaced my Fluorite with Eco-Complete. It's been less than a week, so my sample size isn't that big, but so far, I love it. I didn't like the Fluorite because it would kick up a cloud of dust every time I disturbed it, plus I didn't really care for the red color. I like the black much better. Good substrate otherwise. The Eco-Complete seems to be completely clean, straight out of the bag.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 07:52 PM
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Are you on a budget? Are you in a rush? Is color important to you?

You can always go the expensive route... Eco complete or etc.

You can try an inert cheap substrate such as Turface Pro league, Soil Master Select, 3M colorquartz, etc.

Or (my personnel preference) you can make your own Mineralized Top Soil substrate and "cap" it with one of the cheap inert substrates from above.


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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 08:41 PM
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I got a 5lb bucket from aquariumplants.com and it seems to be working out well. My plants went from tiny to huge and carpet plants have spit out runners left and right.

Don't forget though, it's not just the substrate which will give you healthy plants

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 11:47 PM
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I like quikrete all purpose sand washed out so the super fine particles are gone. Its cheap and looks nice adn natural. It has a neutral overall tan color but isn't completely uniform. For places where the substrate needs to be deeper and the sand won't pile up as nice, I've been using Caribsea Flora Max midnight which looks like crushed lava rock with a nice brownish black color and pairly uniform particle size.

-Charlie


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 12:08 AM
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I hear ya Rooted. Made me nuts when I was just starting out. The questions TopFrog asked are relavant first. If you've read many of the threads here, you're probably confused because virtually anything works...if you are going to fertilize.

Are you a DIY'er. Rather have the simplicity of a retail product? Know what kind of plants you want to grow? Thought about color?


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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rooted View Post
undecided on going low- or high- tech but atm plan on starting low tech with ferts and excel.

On a side note, if you go low-tech (ie low light) you don't need a lot of fertilizers...just a trace mix thrown in once a week or so.


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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:03 PM
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My favorite substrates are Flourite blacks (you just have to rinse Flourite well before use) and MTS capped with Flourite black.





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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:52 PM
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Should point out that 3M colorquartz is no longer made and that whatever is lying around is all that is left. There is NONE locally for me, now (unless you want green)
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Good responses...in sum, it's all good and depends on what we do after we put the plants in it.

yes, color matters (no neon pink please, no offense pink substrate users). I like dark and/or natural (I was also considering turface). i also don't mind plain old gravel, not sure how fine to make it since i want to have some cories or dwarf cories. not on a budget (however i won't spend hundreds of dollars) or in a rush.

@topfrog: can you explain what the heck you mean by this: "Or (my personnel preference) you can make your own Mineralized Top Soil substrate and "cap" it with one of the cheap inert substrates from above." appreciate it! sorry, that went right over my head but sounded like good stuff.

in my 29 i used flourite "complete" or something like that. my plant growth was phenomenal under the high lighting that the lfs encouraged me to buy (and not knowing otherwise i just did whatever they told me, ha ha) but then everything started dying off, turning brown and yellow. so i've adjusted everything but want to avoid a frontloaded success in plant growth followed by a downer period. does that make sense?

still overwhelmed but now i know i won't make any fatal errors that are irreparable.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 12:51 PM
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i just purchased Flourite Dark from petstore . com for $16.19 per bag. You get free shipping if you purchase over $75. What surprised me is that there is no extra heavyweight charge. My total was $97.49 including shipping(the only thing they do add is insurance which was only $0.35) for 6 bags.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 01:45 PM
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Best advice regarding substrate choice I ever got was from Hoppy on my first post here. Go with the one you like best as it will make you want to be involved with the tank. Ultimately your involvement in the tank is going to make or break it. So if you like the LOOK of a certain substrate and it fits your style (ie-high light/low light) do it.


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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 02:11 PM
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Mineral Top Soil capped with whatever....plants love the stuff.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rooted View Post
@topfrog: can you explain what the heck you mean by this: "Or (my personnel preference) you can make your own Mineralized Top Soil substrate and "cap" it with one of the cheap inert substrates from above." appreciate it! sorry, that went right over my head but sounded like good stuff.
Check out the sticky at the top of this forum, it has info on how to make MTS.





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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 02:47 PM
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MTS sounds like a lot of work, it really isn't. You will never regret it, plants love it, lasts forever, and you still cap it with whatever of your liking. I have 4 tanks set up like this, and my plants are growing great.
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