Newbie Needs Substrate Help/Advice. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Needs Substrate Help/Advice.

I have a 55 gallon aquarium with a substrate consisting of approximately 1” of sand covered by 2” of pea gravel from Lowe’s. 2 watts/gal fluorescent lights and a DIY CO2 system (yeast, sugar) plus all the usual equipment/maintenance (filter, heater, air and water pump, weekly vacuum and water change (10%)). I use a micro-nutrient fertilizer weekly. Inhabitants at this point are miscellaneous plants and 7 fish. The aquarium was set up about 1 month ago and is finishing its initial cycling.

I want to change over to (or add) a physically smaller substrate, ranging in size from something like Turface to pool sand. Can I add the smaller substrate to the pea gravel or should I remove the pea gravel first (keeping a good portion of the top layer of the pea gravel in a bag in the aquarium for about 2 weeks to help seed the new substrate with beneficial bacteria)? I have a very limited budget. I will probably go with Turface due to good reviews, looks and price. Any comments, suggestions and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 11:02 PM
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Turface is very light and will end up on top, no matter where you put it.
I would redo the whole tank, get rid of the sand and gravel and just go with Turface, if that is the substrate you want. Anytime I mixed or layered Turface with any size sand or gravel, it never looked right.
Sand sank through it, no matter how well mixed to begin with.
Pebbles drifted around through it, gradually sinking.

Pool filter sand is OK, but I would not go to any effort to add or swap what you have for PFS. If you are going to do something, use your energy to make it better, not swap the same materials around.

Substrate:
Basically only a few types:
High CEC (fine particles like baked clays, certain very fine organic matter. Turface)
No CEC (Sand, gravel, coarser organic matter)
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pea gravel, substrate, turface

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