Questions about black substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about black substrate

I have flourite as my substrate. In the past I have tried unsuccessfully to grow HC, Riccia, Dward hair grass and so on as they would keep floating up. One of the reasons could be that I am still a newbie and was doing something wrong, or it could be due to the particle size of the substrate.

I am starting a new tank using the same flourite that I had. I am thinking of capping it with an inch or so of finer grain black substrate, maybe be that would help to root any kind of plants with finer roots. That brings the question of what to use.

Some of the easiest to get my hands on would be Eco complete planted black aquarium substrate, Caribsea Tahitian moon, Flourite black sand. I can run to a Petco / Petsmart and get 2 bags and be done. But are these just inert sand, or do they have some properties that help plants grow ? Is one better than the other ? Are there any other good name brand products I am missing ?

My second option is to get black pool filter sand, black diamond / black beauty sandblasting media, Estes ceramaquartz. Might be a little harder to find, but I can surely do the work if they work. One advantage of these, a lot lot cheaper than the name brand products. After reading threads / forums / google search, it seems a lot of people use these to successfully grow plants. If that is the case why does one buy the expensive name brands ?

The more I read, the more confused I get. I would really appreciate if you guys can shed some light and help me decide which way to go. I would really like to start my tank this coming weekend.

Thanks for reading.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:14 PM
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I have grown Glosso in Flourite Black, Estes Sand, and Eco Complete. I have also grown HC in thicker gravel. The plants floating up is common, and why so many people start emmersed.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:15 PM
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Flourite black sand could easily be added on top of your existing.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:21 PM
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I have the same issue with my Black Flourite. I've been patient and some have started runners... the number of floaters has come down greatly, however i find after about a week some start show roots above the substrate. I'm thinking the flourite sand at this point as well.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:30 PM
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Anything with a finer grain will eventually filter down and mix with the current substrate. Just be patient, and while you don't mention them, remember that bottom dwellers (especially plecos and certain snails) will continually uproot plants until they're rooted in place.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 03:36 PM
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You could cap it with something finer if you like (I do happen to like the Flourite black sand), but I'd be careful not to exceed 3" total with your substrate.

I agree that fish are the most common reason my carpeting plants go floating, especially during the time it takes them to establish and start to develop root systems. I'd hold off adding fish to the tank (especially bottom dwellers) for at least a few weeks, and this should help.

I've never had issues with the regular sized Flourite, though- only a few floaters here and there, and I used the regular Flourite black when I planted my Lilaeopsis mauritiana carpet in my 29gal. Just used tweezers and made sure the plants were at least 1/2" or so down in the substrate.





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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2011, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
but I'd be careful not to exceed 3" total with your substrate.
Not that I plan to, can you tell me why not to exceed 3 inches of substrate ? I have about 2 inches of flourite, whatever goes in I was planning on about an inch, or take some flourite out.

Couldn't find black filter pool sand or flourite black sand locally. Local petsmarts do have Caribsea Super Naturals Tahitian moon sand and Floramax midnight. I think I am going for the moon sand 'cause Floramax grain seems to be same size of flourite. I wish I could find flourite black sand locally, I just hate to pay shipping more than the price of the product
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 07:39 AM
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One advantage that Fluorite, Eco-Complete, Aquasoil, and other fired clay based substrates have a higher CEC rating than pool sand or the other "non" name brand sands. This means that they have the capacity to hold on to nutrients in the substrate itself, making them available to the plants at the root level. One of the recurring debates always seems to be which one does this more effectively.

You can grow plants in pool sand or other types, but more than likely you will have to fertilize more often than if you were to use one of those prepared substrates. Of course this has to do with what plants you are growing, bio-load, lighting and all that, but generally you can use them.

A black sand cap should help to give you the volume that you need to help keep your plants down. I'm thinking about Fluorite sand also for my tank, or a Fluorite underlayer and Fluorite Black sand cap. I've seen a couple of tanks with a mix, and even if the two layers mix, it looks pretty good. Keep searching, I'm sure you can find it somewhere. There is always a deal on the internet somewhere.

I've been reading a lot of comparisons lately...some people like this, some people like that, but I've seen success with all of them.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2011, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
In the past I have tried unsuccessfully to grow HC, Riccia, Dward hair grass and so on as they would keep floating up.
I thought riccia always floats unless you tie it down.
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