Newbie Substrate Options - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-13-2010, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Posts: 336
Newbie Substrate Options

Hello, I'm new.... or rather Franco,
I'm going to be setting up one or a couple smaller planted tanks in a month or so and I have questions about substrate options. I've done a lot of research but can't make up my mind.

Couple you nice folks explain to me setup such as different layers, thickness, additives, combinations, and bonuses/drawbacks of each setup?

Flourite and other laterites for aquarium use are like $50/bag around here so i'd rather not use those. I'm looking for cheap options.

I will probably use a black gravel for a top layer unless it is unnecessary with some of the combinations such as black ecocomplete.

Things I am considering are:
Vermiculite
Turface
EcoComplete
Something with a soil layer sandwiched between
etc

I know my options pretty well but I cant find consistent info on combinations or setup and stuff.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Franco
Franco is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 01:51 AM
Honeycomb Master
 
Centromochlus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (122/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 6,770
Everyone has their own opinion on which substrate is best, so i don't think your going to be able to find a black and white answer.

I used flourite for a while, and it was great. Only complaint was that it was extremely challenging to clean before putting it into the aquarium.

I just purchased 150lbs of turface for my 150 gallon tank, and it only cost me $13 per 50lb bag. I decided to try turface because of the huge difference in price (compared to flourite or eco-complete), and from what i've heard, it's a pretty good option if you're on a budget. The only complaint that i've heard about it is that at first, it doesn't all stay at the bottom too well because the grains are so small, but it eventually sinks down.

I haven't used eco-complete yet, but i know a lot of people on this forum use it.
Centromochlus is offline  
post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 02:07 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Craigthor's Avatar
 
PTrader: (188/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hiawatha, IA
Posts: 9,774
I would recommend Turface a single 50lb bag would do a couple of 75's almost. I know I can get it here locally for $9.80 a bag about 10 minutes from my place. I'm in Cedar Rapids so if you don't mind the drive or are heading through this way. I know they have the natural and when I got mine they had about a ballet of the charcoal colored left.

Craig

Fluval Spec III Shelf!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
Craigthor is offline  
 
post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 03:09 AM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 160
What does the Turface colour comes with, does it only come in brown shades? And there seems to be a lot of choices, which one is best suited for planted aquarium? and if you are to compare them to EC or Flourite, which one comes close to it?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lemuj is offline  
post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 04:03 AM
Honeycomb Master
 
Centromochlus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (122/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 6,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemuj View Post
What does the Turface colour comes with, does it only come in brown shades? And there seems to be a lot of choices, which one is best suited for planted aquarium? and if you are to compare them to EC or Flourite, which one comes close to it?
Turface comes in brown, red, and charcoal i think.

The only difference between Eco-Complete and Flourite that i can think of is their color, and Eco-Complete raises the pH level of your water for a few weeks i think.
Centromochlus is offline  
post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 04:19 AM
Planted Member
 
Filete's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Mexico
Posts: 185
check out aquariumplants.com own substrate.
Filete is offline  
post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 04:23 AM
Honeycomb Master
 
Centromochlus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (122/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 6,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filete View Post
check out aquariumplants.com own substrate.
Which is basically repackaged Turfaced, so i hear.
Centromochlus is offline  
post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 04:25 AM
Planted Member
 
Filete's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Mexico
Posts: 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzFishKid View Post
Which is basically repackaged Turfaced, so i hear.
Really? @#&%...
Nice colour options though.
Filete is offline  
post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 05:32 AM
Honeycomb Master
 
Centromochlus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (122/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 6,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filete View Post
Really? @#&%...
Nice colour options though.

Yeah. Unfortunately, that's basically what it is. You can get the same product for MUCH cheaper.

Turface is sold in red, brown, and charcoal. Same colors that aquariumplants.com offers.
Centromochlus is offline  
post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 01:46 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Craigthor's Avatar
 
PTrader: (188/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hiawatha, IA
Posts: 9,774
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzFishKid View Post
Yeah. Unfortunately, that's basically what it is. You can get the same product for MUCH cheaper.

Turface is sold in red, brown, and charcoal. Same colors that aquariumplants.com offers.

Yep same stuff, aquariumplants.com is susposedly the last of the Soil Master Select (SMS). I wouldn't recommend the Red as the red coloring on it will wash off.

Craig

Fluval Spec III Shelf!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
Craigthor is offline  
post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Posts: 336
What is turface made out of? Is it just clay? Does it act like laterite as a CEC and contain nutrients?

When using Turface, do you sandwich it as a layer or under a top layer of gravel or just use straight Turface in the tank? I'm guessing the smaller particles settle down to the bottom and the larger form a layer on top like EcoComplete and the bigger flourite?

I would prefer something as low tech (low light, no CO2) and low fert as possible. Thats why I was considering soil substrates.

I'm guessing you cant layer turface with other substrates very well unless you grade it and make it a uniform size because of the settling out.

I've also heard of using Bonzai tree substrate--looks just like the larger laterite particles I've seen.

I want to end up with a black or dark layer on top because I like the look of that so if it is easier to use a single substrate that is black instead of buying black gravel as well that would be awesome.

Anyone with experience using soil substrates that could tell me if they are worth it? I've been doing experiments in 1 gallon bowls and it is much better that straight gravel (previous macrophyte folly).

Thanks for the Response!
Franco is offline  
post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 07:51 PM
Honeycomb Master
 
Centromochlus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (122/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 6,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
What is turface made out of? Is it just clay? Does it act like laterite as a CEC and contain nutrients?

When using Turface, do you sandwich it as a layer or under a top layer of gravel or just use straight Turface in the tank? I'm guessing the smaller particles settle down to the bottom and the larger form a layer on top like EcoComplete and the bigger flourite?

I would prefer something as low tech (low light, no CO2) and low fert as possible. Thats why I was considering soil substrates.

I'm guessing you cant layer turface with other substrates very well unless you grade it and make it a uniform size because of the settling out.

I've also heard of using Bonzai tree substrate--looks just like the larger laterite particles I've seen.

I want to end up with a black or dark layer on top because I like the look of that so if it is easier to use a single substrate that is black instead of buying black gravel as well that would be awesome.

Anyone with experience using soil substrates that could tell me if they are worth it? I've been doing experiments in 1 gallon bowls and it is much better that straight gravel (previous macrophyte folly).

Thanks for the Response!
I'm using all turface in my tank. I suppose though if you don't like the color of it, you could put a layer of gravel over the top. But, Turface comes in a charcoal color, and it's really cheap, so you mind as well just go all Turface.

By soil substrates, do you mean like potting soil? I know some people have tried that, and it's not the best route to go.
Centromochlus is offline  
post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Posts: 336
Sort of. I have found a lot of examples where people do a bottom layer of sand or fine gravel, then a middle layer of laterite, vermiculite, or other CEC with some peat or a couple handfuls of soil (just enough to coat) which is supposed to provide lots of iron, organic matter, and micronutrients, then a top layer of gravel for a main rooting substrate.
It is supposed to provide all of the fertilization the rooted plants will need for years with just the initial setup.

I'm totally comfortable with using materials that I find in the wild because I can ID them and sterilize it or not use it if it is chemically reactive in the wrong way. I'm more cautious about using things like Turface because I don't have any idea what it is except that I ran around on it in little league.

Does the charcoal colored turface have dyes added to it to make it black? I've noticed that some peoples tanks look like the water has a faint gray tinge to it in pics but I don't know if there is a relation.

Is it necessary to supe up turface with expensive ferts?

I guess I am just trying to get plants to grow as cheaply as possible and I am not afraid to experiment to find alternatives to expensive name brand materials and chemicals.

Does anyone on here do layers of substrates or use soil substrates at all anymore or is that some old school thing?
Franco is offline  
post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 12:18 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Craigthor's Avatar
 
PTrader: (188/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hiawatha, IA
Posts: 9,774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franco View Post
Sort of. I have found a lot of examples where people do a bottom layer of sand or fine gravel, then a middle layer of laterite, vermiculite, or other CEC with some peat or a couple handfuls of soil (just enough to coat) which is supposed to provide lots of iron, organic matter, and micronutrients, then a top layer of gravel for a main rooting substrate.
It is supposed to provide all of the fertilization the rooted plants will need for years with just the initial setup.

I'm totally comfortable with using materials that I find in the wild because I can ID them and sterilize it or not use it if it is chemically reactive in the wrong way. I'm more cautious about using things like Turface because I don't have any idea what it is except that I ran around on it in little league.

Does the charcoal colored turface have dyes added to it to make it black? I've noticed that some peoples tanks look like the water has a faint gray tinge to it in pics but I don't know if there is a relation.

Is it necessary to supe up turface with expensive ferts?

I guess I am just trying to get plants to grow as cheaply as possible and I am not afraid to experiment to find alternatives to expensive name brand materials and chemicals.

Does anyone on here do layers of substrates or use soil substrates at all anymore or is that some old school thing?
Layers will always become mixed at some point as the larger stuff settles towards the botom. You can alway research mineralized top soil, or check out rootmedic for his Green Start kit. I use turface and supplement the substrate with RootMedic Complete capsules. I also dose dry fertilizers as well.

The Charcoal will keeps its color only the red is dyed as far as I know. A haze in a tank can ahppen to almost any tank upon start up as alot of substrates will cloud slightly.

Craig

Fluval Spec III Shelf!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
Craigthor is offline  
post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-15-2010, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Posts: 336
Is Turface inert or does it act as CEC? Anyone know how comparable it is to other substances such as laterite, CEC wise?
Franco is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome