Cheap substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Cheap substrate

I need a Really cheap substrate for my 38 gallon, maybe something I can find local?

I'm on a low budget



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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 12:52 AM
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Pool filter sand with MTS is your cheapest and best option IMO


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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 12:56 AM
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pool filter sand.. you can find it at home depot or lowes its like 6 bucks for 50 pounds

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:00 AM
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I'm not on an especially low budget ...but the 8-9 bags of flourite I discovered I would need for a 90g I'm setting up is a bit beyond realistic, so i figure $20 of pool filter sand and some MTS is the way to go. It'll take awhile, but cheaper. As in, $150 cheaper, just for substrate.

And I've read many good things about that combo, so I recommend it regardless of what I'm doing.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:00 AM
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Swimming pool filter sand is nearly ideal for an aquarium substrate. The only real problem is that in any part of the country you can only (cheaply) get the color mined most locally. I'd rather have red flint filter sand, but quartzite is the only offering in Michigan. ;-(

The second choice, with a higher cation exchange capacity, is Oil Dri.
post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Can you tell me more about oil dry?


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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:38 AM
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I just put turface-mvp in my 120.Several have told me it is a good substrate. It only took one 50lb bag for my tank.Only $9.00.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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I would prefer turface but I can't find


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 02:18 AM
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or petsmart sell 5 pound bags of flourite black for 6.50 if you have their petperks card (it's free)

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 03:07 AM
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I tried the Oil Dri stuff, I wasn't impressed. No matter how much I rinsed it, it was still an absolute mess. Even after nearly four months in a tank, the lightest brush would turn the tank black.

Cheap, yes. Easy to work with, no.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 05:05 AM
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I use oil dry in all of my tanks. the trick is to cap it with sand or gravel. Then I only get a small cloud when I remove a rooted plant. As a clay it settles fairly quick and my corys don't stir it up.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 05:19 AM
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Pool filter sand with MTS under it remains the cheapest good substrate I know of, short of using free Flourite that somebody gives away. If you heavily plant the tank you won't see the substrate for more than a couple of months anyway.

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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm I'm going with either some inert gravel and capped with a small anount I'd AS,aquariuplants own, or turface

I'm going for turface at top priority I think


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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 11:59 AM
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I'm guessing by MTS you guys aren't talking about Malaysian Trumpet Snails, so I gotta be the guy who asks the silly question.....what's MTS?

I'm setting up a 30, and a 55 gallon tank, I have two bags of eco complete and I'm looking for other really cheap substrate to mix with it and bulk up my substrate layers.


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FINALLY!!! I actually have some planted tanks!!
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