New Substrate on 54 Gallon Corner tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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New Substrate on 54 Gallon Corner tank

Hello everyone, I have been going through the threads and understand there are numerous posts regarding substrate... I have read several and other site regarding them, but would like to clarify something before pulling the trigger.


I am starting a new low tech 54 gallon corner tank. This will be my first planted tank and I'm not ready for CO2, but may add in the future.



I am considering Aqua Soil, Eco Complete, and Flourite for my substrate.


Originally I was going to go Eco Complete soley, but found that this would not provide nutrients for plants. I could still use this, and top with something else if necessary.



Would it be advisable to do so, or would it be better to go with aqua soil and flourite?



My preference is for a dark, preferably black, substrate that will provide for plans. Also, I'm not looking to break the bank.


So would layering be a good approach? I would like to use enough to sort of add a little hill coming from the back corner to give it a bit of a scaped look.



Any advice would be greatly appreciated

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 02:14 PM
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My preference is for a dark, preferably black, substrate that will provide for plans. Also, I'm not looking to break the bank.
Black Diamond Brand Blasting Sand medium grit. Rinse really well and you're set.

Cheap and perfect for planted tanks.

Eco-Complete AND FLOURITE = Overpriced garbage, 0 nutrients, very low CEC and very hard to plant smaller plants into.

Aquasoil is good, but it's an active substrate and will break down, requires a break in period and is more of a hassle.

Blasting sand has no real down sides
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Black Diamond Brand Blasting Sand medium grit. Rinse really well and you're set.

Cheap and perfect for planted tanks.

Eco-Complete AND FLOURITE = Overpriced garbage, 0 nutrients, very low CEC and very hard to plant smaller plants into.

Aquasoil is good, but it's an active substrate and will break down, requires a break in period and is more of a hassle.

Blasting sand has no real down sides

Thanks I have been looking for that in my area, but haven't found a source yet. In Austin so I would be it is around somewhere....

Does blasting sand have the nutrients for plants or would I have to add root tabs, fertilizer? I would prefer to plant with something nutritious. I understand I will have to fertilize regardless but I like to add as little to the water table as possible.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 04:09 PM
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Thanks I have been looking for that in my area, but haven't found a source yet. In Austin so I would be it is around somewhere....
I'm not from America but from reading check Home Depot, TCS etc.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not from America but from reading check Home Depot, TCS etc.

I found some at a Tractor Supply I know about.





Is this also ok for Shrimp? I'm researching the stuff now...

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 04:17 PM
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I found some at a Tractor Supply I know about.





Is this also ok for Shrimp? I'm researching the stuff now...
Yep

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Nice, is that a cherry shrimp?

I'm planning on stocking them in mine.

Thanks!

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 05:27 PM
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Yes, sold to me as fire red's but they are 100% standard grade cherries.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:19 PM
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I actually really like the look of Eco-complete and have used it in many of my tanks.

"Over-priced?" ~ Well yeah, that's relative to the person and their pocket-book. To you and others, the cost is too high; for me, I find its cost to be reasonable and am willing to pay it. I have it under sand in my 180 because I find it does a great job in giving plant roots ( like valisneria, swords, crypt spiralis--- plants with deep roots a solid base to grip onto). In my 60 gallon planted discus tank I use it because I find it natural looking, attractive.

"Garbage?" ~ again, relative to the needs of the person. I personally find BDBS ( coal slag) one of the most unattractive substrates that can be used in an aquarium. To me its ugly and unnatural. To your eye, it is attractive. To each his/her own. Coal slag is very popular as a planting media because of its low cost ( and, to some, its attractiveness); while. for others, it would be the last choice they would make.
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30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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I actually really like the look of Eco-complete and have used it in many of my tanks.

Eco Complete was my first choice due to it's look. I still may use this underneath the Blastin Sand. It is something I am considering mainly due to cost. But I am still thinking about how it will do long term.



I would like to save some money somewhere, as I'm pretty much starting from scratch and it's looking like about a 5-600 dollar investment pre livestock....



But, I'd rather spend the money now vs having to redo something in 6 months...
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microm3gas View Post
Eco Complete was my first choice due to it's look. I still may use this underneath the Blastin Sand. It is something I am considering mainly due to cost. But I am still thinking about how it will do long term.



I would like to save some money somewhere, as I'm pretty much starting from scratch and it's looking like about a 5-600 dollar investment pre livestock....



But, I'd rather spend the money now vs having to redo something in 6 months...
Cost is definitely a consideration. You should make your decision of substrate based on the budget you have for your project. As well as, of course, what substrate you find most attractive within that budget.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microm3gas View Post
Eco Complete was my first choice due to it's look. I still may use this underneath the Blastin Sand. It is something I am considering mainly due to cost. But I am still thinking about how it will do long term.



I would like to save some money somewhere, as I'm pretty much starting from scratch and it's looking like about a 5-600 dollar investment pre livestock....



But, I'd rather spend the money now vs having to redo something in 6 months...
Blasting sand is good for the life of the tank.

I found eco-complete traps a lot of crud.... a lot of it... it has uneven granule size, it's a pain to plant smaller delicate plants into and BBA loved to grow on it. It also lost it's attractive dark color and turned slightly lighter in color for some reason.

Laying it under the sand will eventually lead to them just mixing together... over time of course.

It provides nothing for plant growth, other than a granule for roots to "attach" to.

As to the sand, it stays it's nice dark color, super easy to plant into, uniform size and can easily be cleaned up of all crud that settles on it.

They both work well, but I wouldn't bother on mixing the two.

My tank with Eco comp (notice the "white" in the substrate:



Another tank but with black blasting sand:

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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I do like the way the Sand looks, mimics what I would want for mine, and was reading through this: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-volume-2.html and he's using blasting sand....


I appreciate the input!

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 06:40 PM
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Some bits of Eco-complete will work its way up above sand; but, I find it attractive.



A wider view:

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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer discus pair and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech - Breeding tank
30 g. low-tech Shrimp tank - wild-type neocaradina and Caridina cf. babaulti "Zebra"
9 gallon Shrimp tank- Caridina cantonensis ("Golden Bee's"). *Tank still at cycling stage.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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I like that look. It makes it look a bit more natural to me. But if both were colored black I don't think I could get the same affect.

Your tank looks very nice!

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