Bright or White substrate decision woes! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Bright or White substrate decision woes!

I've always gone with a black background and a dark substrate but due to changes in my aquarium, namely discus, I need a brighter substrate and I'm having a lot of trouble navigating my way around the different products. I've never used sand and while that seems like the obvious choice I also use power heads for flow and while I am using pre filters I'm worried that sand will get into my filter and cause the havoc I've read about. I also have corries and still want a substrate that allows me to plant without issue.

Any advice would be welcomed
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 04:59 PM
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I have Caribsea sand in 2 of my aquariums, a 30 gallon and a 180 gallon, with Fluvel Canisters ( 206, FX6's) and have no problems with clogging of filters. The 180 gallon has geophagus, biotodoma cupidos and wavarinii all eartheaters who sift sand most of the day. I also have corydoras- 15 of them. So, if concerned about suspended sand- Caribsea is the way to go. I have the Sunset Gold in the 30 gallon and Crystal River sand in the 180.
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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 pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 03:58 AM
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I dont have discus but I use this stuff https://www.homedepot.com/p/100-lb-S...0396/207136556

Washes clean very quickly, just a quick rinse in the bucket with a hose. I usually do about 2 or 3 minutes if that. My Cory cats seem to love it, healthy barbels rooting around all the time and breeding. The nerite snails burrow thru it as well and dont mind roaming across the substrate. The shrimps have no problem picking thru it as well. It settles right away and doesnt get into the filters.

It is a very light tan in normal light but brighter/white under the LEDs. After a while with the waste and algae normal aquarium stuff it darkens a bit.
I swapped my 10g over to this recently from BDBS and like it.

Just my experience.

Not the best pics but https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...my-10-40b.html

Last edited by Quint; 06-05-2019 at 04:05 AM. Reason: add link
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
I have Caribsea sand in 2 of my aquariums, a 30 gallon and a 180 gallon, with Fluvel Canisters ( 206, FX6's) and have no problems with clogging of filters. The 180 gallon has geophagus, biotodoma cupidos and wavarinii all eartheaters who sift sand most of the day. I also have corydoras- 15 of them. So, if concerned about suspended sand- Caribsea is the way to go. I have the Sunset Gold in the 30 gallon and Crystal River sand in the 180.
Sadly distribution of Caribsea here in the UK is an issue. The ones they do more readily available are double the price or more if you import. They mostly do saltwater products and the ones I have found are not inert. As always Discusluv, I appreciate your assistance. And although I can't get caribsea I can research the grain size of the product you use and apply that when needed so again, thanks.




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Originally Posted by Quint View Post
I dont have discus but I use this stuff https://www.homedepot.com/p/100-lb-S...0396/207136556

Washes clean very quickly, just a quick rinse in the bucket with a hose. I usually do about 2 or 3 minutes if that. My Cory cats seem to love it, healthy barbels rooting around all the time and breeding. The nerite snails burrow thru it as well and dont mind roaming across the substrate. The shrimps have no problem picking thru it as well. It settles right away and doesnt get into the filters.

It is a very light tan in normal light but brighter/white under the LEDs. After a while with the waste and algae normal aquarium stuff it darkens a bit.
I swapped my 10g over to this recently from BDBS and like it.

Just my experience.

Not the best pics but https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...my-10-40b.html

Those are great pics. I suddenly find myself in need of exactly this type of pic lol Just to see how it looks. I don't think I've seen your journal before so I'll definitely check it out as soon as possible. That said, I'm in the UK and we don't have homedepot but your post brings up something I stumbled into last night. And that's claims that certain types of sand increase algae by leaching... Quartz or Silicates? I'm not sure exactly which one it is but I realized I needed more time to research and seek advice. If I could find a light gravel that's cory safe I'd probably go that route as I've never dealt with sand. I appreciate your help!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 02:31 PM
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Almost all pool or spa supply stores carry # 20 or # 30 grade density pool filter sand - an inert (non-leeching) usually quartz-based silica sand in either white, off-white, or tan colors. Generally dust & grit-free, easy to keep clean, will not flow up into the water column when disturbed - so no filter clogging. Will grow a good number of plants well using root tab fertilizers. Can be vacuumed without being siphoned out. I've used it in my discus tanks for many years. See my avatar for it in white.
I would expect you can get a 50 lb. bag for less than 10 pounds sterling.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hey @discuspaul

Could you post a pic of your avi pic and any other relevant pics of your tank. And this might sound like a newbie question because I've never used sand before... When you say use root tabs, is that because liquid ferts and sand isn't a recommended combination?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 07:19 PM
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The sand has nothing to do with the dosing. If your dosing the water column fully you don't need root tabs and many times your better off since they can make a mess. If your not dosing the water column then yes you should use root tabs. Contrary to popular belief there really aren't any plants that REQUIRE root tabs if your dosing the column.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RollaPrime View Post
Hey @discuspaul

Could you post a pic of your avi pic and any other relevant pics of your tank. And this might sound like a newbie question because I've never used sand before... When you say use root tabs, is that because liquid ferts and sand isn't a recommended combination?

My 40 years experience discus-keeping has taught me to always keep things as simple & uncomplicated as possible, and maintain the highest level of water quality & conditions as you can (this means daily w/cs which are not conducive to liquid fertilizing), so obviously includes foregoing the use of any types of liquid ferts in the water column, and relying solely on root tab ferts (which I've never found to be messy) to do respectable job of growing out the few hardy plants that do well at the higher discus water temps - & which they do.
As you likely know, or should know if you keep discus, PF sand is easy to keep clean, allowing debris/wastes to remain on top where they're readily vacuumed out, and precluding the harboring and development of unwelcome bacteria & pathogens which may occur & persist in most if not all other types of substrates - so the logic is that sand is the best substrate for maintaining any level of rooted plantings in a discus tank. The only minor drawback is that sand is of course far from the ideal substrate for plant growth per se, but essential & sufficient enough for discus planted environments.


Link below will show Fairmont AquaQuartz pool filter sand, which is very similar to the no-name pool filter sand which I use. It's a slight tan color, but is also available in white.


https://www.amazon.com/s?k=pool+filt..._sb_ss_sc_1_11
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
My 40 years experience discus-keeping has taught me to always keep things as simple & uncomplicated as possible, and maintain the highest level of water quality & conditions as you can (this means daily w/cs which are not conducive to liquid fertilizing), so obviously includes foregoing the use of any types of liquid ferts in the water column, and relying solely on root tab ferts (which I've never found to be messy) to do respectable job of growing out the few hardy plants that do well at the higher discus water temps - & which they do.
As you likely know, or should know if you keep discus, PF sand is easy to keep clean, allowing debris/wastes to remain on top where they're readily vacuumed out, and precluding the harboring and development of unwelcome bacteria & pathogens which may occur & persist in most if not all other types of substrates - so the logic is that sand is the best substrate for maintaining any level of rooted plantings in a discus tank. The only minor drawback is that sand is of course far from the ideal substrate for plant growth per se, but essential & sufficient enough for discus planted environments.

link below will show Fairmont AquaQuartz pool filter sand, which is very similar to the no-name pool filter sand which I use. It's a slight tan color, but is also available in white.


https://www.amazon.com/s?k=pool+filt..._sb_ss_sc_1_11
Exactly, the point Paul is making here is correct- juvenile discus need such frequent water changes that liquid ferts in water column cannot be relied on to deliver what plants need.



For my adults I do use liquid ferts, but I do 2 x 75% water changes weekly- not daily.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:06 PM
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There is absolutely no reason you can't use liquid ferts for daily WCs. There are plenty of dosing methods that are done this way. You just have to adjust your dosing for the amount of water being removed. It's basic math. BTW root tabs alone are extremely limited. They will only really feed plants within a certain distance and that are obviously planted in the substrate. Which would eliminate moss, anubias, ferns, etc.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
My 40 years experience discus-keeping has taught me to always keep things as simple & uncomplicated as possible, and maintain the highest level of water quality & conditions as you can (this means daily w/cs which are not conducive to liquid fertilizing), so obviously includes foregoing the use of any types of liquid ferts in the water column, and relying solely on root tab ferts (which I've never found to be messy) to do respectable job of growing out the few hardy plants that do well at the higher discus water temps - & which they do.
As you likely know, or should know if you keep discus, PF sand is easy to keep clean, allowing debris/wastes to remain on top where they're readily vacuumed out, and precluding the harboring and development of unwelcome bacteria & pathogens which may occur & persist in most if not all other types of substrates - so the logic is that sand is the best substrate for maintaining any level of rooted plantings in a discus tank. The only minor drawback is that sand is of course far from the ideal substrate for plant growth per se, but essential & sufficient enough for discus planted environments.


Link below will show Fairmont AquaQuartz pool filter sand, which is very similar to the no-name pool filter sand which I use. It's a slight tan color, but is also available in white.


https://www.amazon.com/s?k=pool+filt..._sb_ss_sc_1_11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Exactly, the point Paul is making here is correct- juvenile discus need such frequent water changes that liquid ferts in water column cannot be relied on to deliver what plants need.



For my adults I do use liquid ferts, but I do 2 x 75% water changes weekly- not daily.

I'm not disputing any of the above at all. I understand that WCs are a big part of keeping discus and I'm not disagreeing with that approach. I do 2-3 WC's a week and feed my discus a minimum of 3 times a day. 4-5 on most days. Keeping discus isn't an undertaking I'm taking lightly or frivolously at all...

That said, I was asking specifically about ferts in he water column and sand. I'm trying to gather as much info before taking the plunge.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:19 PM
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I'm not disputing any of the above at all. I understand that WCs are a big part of keeping discus and I'm not disagreeing with that approach. I do 2-3 WC's a week and feed my discus a minimum of 3 times a day. 4-5 on most days. Keeping discus isn't an undertaking I'm taking lightly or frivolously at all...

That said, I was asking specifically about ferts in he water column and sand. I'm trying to gather as much info before taking the plunge.
What size discus do you have?

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 08:23 PM
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To RollaPrime:

some of my tank pics:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...oto-buffs.html
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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What size discus do you have?
I didn't measure them when I first bought them. They were sold as 6cm and in the short time I've had them the smallest has grown by 1cm the largest by 2cm. So between 7 and 8cm. But they have grown larger in height, anal to to dorsal fin, and they have put on a lot of weight in my opinion. They've grown broad to the point where they look chubby.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 11:36 PM
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What you are looking for are answers from plant experts on this site- substrate and fertilizers. I misunderstood the intent behind the question.
If they say daily dosing can be done successfully in a tank that's water is changed daily ( which yours isn't) I am inclined to believe they have the knowledge to know this better than I. If you are doing 2-3 water changes a week and using liquid fertilizers- Ive done that too on my adult discus.

But discus under 3 inches whose immune system is just a hair over nil? No fertilizers should be used- and they do not have an iota of experience to tell you that.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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