Can't decide on substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2011, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Can't decide on substrate

Hey guys, I'm in the process of setting up a planted tank in a 40 breeder and I'm having a tough time settling on a substrate. After doing some research online, I decided on Eco-Complete. I wasn't totally sold on it being black, and upon seeing it at the store, realized there was no way I'd be happy with such a dark substrate. I decided to go with my initial second choice of Flourite. I haven't put it in my tank yet, but I'm having second thoughts. I love the look of light sand and would love to do pool filter sand. I already opened one bag of Flourite so I'm stuck with that. Here's what I was thinking:

Use pool filter sand in about 75% of the tank, then, using some rocks as kind of a retaining wall, create an elevated section of Flourite in the back corner. I realize they won't stay entirely separated and pieces of Flourite will end up in the sand, but I can deal with that. My only qualm is that I'm unsure of the nutritional value of the pool filter sand and how much it will hinder growth of heavily rooted plants. Root tabs are an option, but are there any other ways I could make the pool filter sand better for the plants without totally ruining its appearance?

Just FYI, the tank is 16 inches deep and will have a 96w Coralife PC for now. I'll probably upgrade to T5s once I add a pressurized CO2 system in the coming months. Sorry for being a bit long winded.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 12:08 AM
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Part of the benefit of using a plant specific substrate is the cationic exchange capacity. The ability of the substrate to hold onto the nutrients in a way that the plants can take them.
Sand cannot do this.

Adding fertilizer tablets is a good idea.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-22-2011, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4UCE View Post
the nutritional value of the pool filter sand
Is pretty much nil. Still good if you like the looks, just add something more nutritious underneath. Many low-tech'ers put mineralized topsoil underneath PFS which works well as a nutrient source.


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