Substrate for plant grow out set up? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate for plant grow out set up?

Tomorrow I'm getting a 20 long to use as a plant grow out tank. I want some pink flamingo crypts and since I can't grow them out in my tank as my fish won't leave plants alone that don't have strong roots, I'm doing it the 'hard way'. There will be no fish or shrimp in this tank; maybe I'll add some snails at some point. Other things that will end up in there are baby plants from runners that come out of my 40 and other culture tissue plants. I could be really cheap and just use a plastic tub to do this, but I don't want to look at plastic tubs in my living room, hence I'm using a tank instead.

I'm not new to doing this kind of thing as I've grown plants out in soil and currently have some Crypt Undulata growing out in some Fluval Stratum in a 2.5 gallon. It works and gets the job done, but I want something new to play around with that isn't stupidly expensive. This will not be a forever home for plants, so I won't be buying Aqua Soil, but I've been looking at the Brightwell Substrates.

This is what I've been eyeballing https://www.amazon.com/Brightwell-Aq...upplies&sr=1-7 Has anybody used it? If so, can I get thoughts about it?

I am open to other ideas. I have considered Safe T Sorb, but I finally got my water chemistry down for RO water which is what I use, so I don't want to use anything that will mess with that. I might even be able to get away with using tap water with this tank since there will be no fish, but I probably won't as my tap water is gross. It isn't as if this tank is going to need weekly water changes, so a few extra bottles of RO isn't a big deal.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 03:19 AM
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What about a good ole dirted tank?


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 03:42 PM
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I followed your link, read the label on the bag, the only ingredient is fired clay, which is what Saf-T-Sorb is, only cheaper. I have never used it but if it were me I would go with the Saf-T-Sorb before this.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 09:14 PM
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About only subtrate that wonít change your chemistry some on initial use are inert sands/gravels. Organic soils will leach organics into water column, clays like that will bind elements/nutrient to CEC binding sites but after initial charge/binding the binding slows down and is then related to uptake by roots.

Me Iím setting my little plastic tote in basement to use trays and dishes to hold substrate so I can swap out and try different substrate or layers of substrate or mixes.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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About only subtrate that wonít change your chemistry some on initial use are inert sands/gravels. Organic soils will leach organics into water column, clays like that will bind elements/nutrient to CEC binding sites but after initial charge/binding the binding slows down and is then related to uptake by roots.
I don't want soil. I don't mind it for a emersed set up as it doesn't make too much of a mess, but since this tank will be flooded, I don't want to deal with plumes of dirt when a plant is taken out. I tried using sand a long time ago and hated it. While this tank won't need the maintenance like one with fish, I'm still going to have to vacuum it occasionally to remove dead leaves and such.

You're right about the clay. I didn't give that much thought while I was 'window shopping' for something new. I think I'm going to do what I have in my 40 which is a hodge podge of substrates. Some CaribSea Peace gravel, some of the Brightwell clay which I can also add to the 40 and I'll add in some Fluval Stratum or something like it. All of them are plant root friendly in terms of size and should work well.

Thanks all for the input.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 02:41 PM
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I would just use Amazonia. You'll get explosive growth (grow out tank) out of the box.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 03:19 PM
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I would just use Amazonia. You'll get explosive growth (grow out tank) out of the box.


Would using tap water with KH reduce or eliminate the nutrient benefit Amazonia provides if it exhausts the buffering capacity, or would the nutrients still be present and beneficial despite the buffering capacity being exhausted?


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 03:29 PM
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Would using tap water with KH reduce or eliminate the nutrient benefit Amazonia provides if it exhausts the buffering capacity, or would the nutrients still be present and beneficial despite the buffering capacity being exhausted?


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Do you mean tap with low KH?


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 04:58 PM
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Do you mean tap with low KH?


Well say the dKH from tap is about 4 degrees, it would prematurely exhaust the buffering capacity. Once that buffering is gone, does that mean all the nutrients are no longer usable as well?


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 06:00 PM
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Well say the dKH from tap is about 4 degrees, it would prematurely exhaust the buffering capacity. Once that buffering is gone, does that mean all the nutrients are no longer usable as well?


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Are you equating exhausting the buffering capacity with the nutrients in AS not being available to the plants. A KH of 4 is not that high, but that would probably exhaust the buffering quicker than a KH of 1. Generally the nutrients are in the soil for around 1 year before they are pretty much gone. Certainly wouldn't change the initial punch one would receive from using it in a grow out tank as I mentioned in my 1st post.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Smooch View Post
I don't want soil. I don't mind it for a emersed set up as it doesn't make too much of a mess, but since this tank will be flooded, I don't want to deal with plumes of dirt when a plant is taken out. I tried using sand a long time ago and hated it. While this tank won't need the maintenance like one with fish, I'm still going to have to vacuum it occasionally to remove dead leaves and such.

You're right about the clay. I didn't give that much thought while I was 'window shopping' for something new. I think I'm going to do what I have in my 40 which is a hodge podge of substrates. Some CaribSea Peace gravel, some of the Brightwell clay which I can also add to the 40 and I'll add in some Fluval Stratum or something like it. All of them are plant root friendly in terms of size and should work well.

Thanks all for the input.
Yea that peace river is still my fav gravel as far as plantability, it’s size is perfect.

I bought some of this play to with.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07B1...b_b_asin_title

Basically turface screened/graded down to about 1-3mm, same size as peace river and color when wet looks like it will be good mix with the P river. Photo below is a bit warmer than actual color.



It’s basically 2gal, 32 cups for $24. Not sold by weight but volume.

But my comment about using trays is that you don’t need a whole tank bottom full of substrate, just fill up some trays/bowls to do this specific project. Don’t know how many PF crypt your planning on doing but with a culture cup starter couldn’t see needing more than 3 5x5 trays of media. When project done drain tank and media, clean and dry media and put away for reuse in future. Stuff like turface and pr gravel good for reuse over and over again.
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