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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-18-2011, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite Substrate

I am looking in to setting up a 29 gallon planted aquarium and I am trying to figure out substrate I should use. What is your favorite substrate? What do you like it for (easy to keep plant clippings stuck in it so the sprout, plants grow best in it, looks nice etc.)
Please include the brand name and approximate size.

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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 12:26 AM
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i've been using ADA aquasoil all this while...great soil...but the thing is they tend to crumble over time...i've been itching to try seachem floourite range...saw a sample once...look nice...and since its clay i doubt it will crumble like ADA aquasoil...

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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 12:35 AM
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I would get something similar to ada soil ( fluval shrimp stratum <--- my favorite, azoo makes a soil, mr.aqua makes one. I was using inert gravels and for close to the same price it is worth it to get the soil ones.

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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 12:47 AM
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Mineralized top soil has been my favorite. It takes time to "make" it but the results can be very nice.


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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 04:32 AM
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My favorite is Flourite black.

I've used it plain, mixed with other substrates, capping MTS, and most recenty as a cap for Miracle Gro organic potting mix.

I like both the "regular" black (which is about 3mm in size, looks like crushed rock) and the black sand... which is much smaller in size and looks like... sand. lol

I like Flourite better than Eco Complete personally because I prefer the uniform color and grain size and that Flourite won't mess with water parameters like Eco can (especially when first setting up the tank).





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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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What would you recommend a more sand like substrate or a more course substrate almost like pebbles?

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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 09:19 PM
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I love Flourite sand, just wish it was cheaper in my area.

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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 09:25 PM
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ADA Aqua Soil.

Other than fighting the initial cloudiness, I just love this stuff.
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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-19-2011, 09:27 PM
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I'm another fan of ADA Aqua Soil . . . but I'm going to try the Walstad soil method for my next tank just as a comparison.


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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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I was wanting to use a white or whiteish colored sand. do you think I could use Flourite with a white sand on top and still get the same results?

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post #11 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:21 AM
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You could cover your Flourite with silica sand but they will eventually mix.

You could also keep an area with only white sand and use Flourite for the areas where the plants will be
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post #12 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:40 AM
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Flourite works for me
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post #13 of 64 (permalink) Old 01-21-2011, 03:43 AM
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The only substrates I've used are in the order of most favorite to least:

1. CaribSea Eco-Complete
PROS: Dark Black, can hold nutrients, doesn't break down, doesn't cloud up for too long
CONS: Pieces may be too big, may have other color pieces,


2. Mr. Aqua Water Plants Activated Soil
PRO: lowers pH, cute and small dark brown round balls, cloudy goes away quick
CON: huge ammonia spike at the beginning, may be light and easy to disturb, may break down?

3. CaribSea Tahitian Moon Sand
PRO: Nice black color
CON: particles may be too small and heavy, too thick layer will create anaerobic spots, inert

4. Aquarium Gravel
PRO: Comes in many colors to suit your fancy
CON: Inert, grain size may be too big
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post #14 of 64 (permalink) Old 03-02-2011, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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How deep should I make the substrate (4 to 6 inches etc.). I would like to grow a wide range of plants. I'm not sure if the depth of the substrate will make a difference in how well the "hard to grow" plants will grow.

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post #15 of 64 (permalink) Old 03-02-2011, 12:41 AM
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Depth of substrate will depend on grain size- you wouldn't want more than 2-3 inches of sand due to anaerobic pockets but 4-5 inches of Flourite/Eco/ADA would be fine(if cost wasn't a factor).

Generally, you won't want more than 3 inches. Too shallow of a layer means not enough room for proper roots to develop, but too deep and it can be a waste of money.

Edit- Forgot to post waht I use!
I use mineralized topsoil capped with pool filter sand or Tahitian moon sand, depending on what color I want to look at.
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