substrate redo - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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substrate redo

hi everyone, just one question, after 5+ years my substrate has gotten old. what i want to know is, what is not only a good substrate, but also what is a good way to change it out, its a big tank.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 06:02 AM
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What substrate do you have now?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 02:44 PM
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How big a tank also, oh and one other thing do you have any critters and if so do you have someplace to rehome them for a little while?

As far as substrate depends on what your plans are, how much you wanna spend, what look your going for. I am very happy with the sakrete commercial medium sand from home depot. 100lb bag for $8, really clean uniform size and the critters like it. Thats me though, not sure what your looking at doing.

Oh and welcome to the forum.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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ok sorry i wasn't specific its a 29 gal cube moderately planted and understocked all i really want is some black gravel that is good for growing plants without much work I'm not even sure what is in there now its been setup for quite awhile i was seriously thinking about eco complete
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 03:50 AM
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the only thing I didn't like about eco-complete, was after about a year all the finer gravel had settled and the top layer was the largest pebbles. Made it difficult to plant/replant in.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superfisheyes View Post
ok sorry i wasn't specific its a 29 gal cube moderately planted and understocked all i really want is some black gravel that is good for growing plants without much work I'm not even sure what is in there now its been setup for quite awhile i was seriously thinking about eco complete
Eco-complete will grow plants. Its a very polarizing substrate however with some folks loving it and some hating it. I am in the hating it camp. Its very rough I felt and every time I went to plant in it I always felt it was tearing up the roots.

Other options for substrates include:

1) aquasoils - these tend to be dark brown/black. They release nutrients and store and fertilizers in the substrate. They are designed for plant growth. The downside is they cost the most and they have special rules associated with them. When they are new they require a lot of water changes or you are farming alarming amounts of algae.

2) Sand - petsmart and caribsea both make black sand that is a reasonable choice. Its less expensive then aquasoils but still not super cheap.

3) Blackdiamond Blasting Sand - this is your diy option. Its available at tractor supply stores (which are located primarily on the eastern half of the united states. There are alternatives if you don't live near one but that's the easiest place to get them. Its pretty cheap (can't remember offhand but its less then 15 dollars for something like a 50 lb bag?). Anyway a lot of folks here have been using it for years and it works quite well. Its also inert.

4) Flourite - seachem flourite is your last commonly available black substrate option. Its a hardened clay and thus it will be messy going into your aquarium. You can not wash it clean. A lot of folk have wasted a lot of time washing the stuff. You are best off washing it once or twice and then putting it in. There will be significant debris in the water but it settles after a week or two. The upside is that it will store fertilizer like eco-complete and aquasoils. The downside is that its in the same price point as eco-complete.

With all of these you need to dose fertilizers of course but presumably you are doing that already.

Hope this helps!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 11:25 AM
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I have a 135 gallon tank full of Flourite that was set up for a little over 12 years. I think that I had the onset of old tank syndrome, and I decided to clean it.
There was nowhere to put the fish, so I left them in the tank.

I picked up a 6 inch diameter plastic colander from Walmart for about 1 buck.
I started on the left side and worked to the right side.
I was able to get about three scoops out of the tank before there was too much debris floating around.
The filters would clear things up in about 15 to 20 minutes.
I was dumping it into a storage bin, took 4 big bins.

As I came across plants, I just removed them and let them float in the water.

I went slow removing the substrate, as the BB are in substrate, probably more then in the filters.
I also tested for ammonia and nitrite while removing the substrate, but ammonia or nitrite never showed up.

The fish, 5 big Blue Acaras and some other things didn't seem to really care about it, they would swim buy and get in the way.

Finally removed it all, cleaned it buy putting some on a 32 gallon garbage can full of water, hooked up a Vortec diatom filter,
and stirred the substrate until the dirt was out of there.
I actually clogged up the diatom filter, that has never happened before.

Then I put it back in.
Defiantly made a difference, I was able to turn the lights back up and no algae, and the ph went up.

Pulling all of the substrate out cleaning it and putting it back in and replanting everything took about a month.

If you decide to leave the fish in the tank, go slow and test for ammonia and nitrite.
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