Substrate for larger planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate for larger planted tank

Ok so small dilemma, I have a large tank 7ft long x 2ft deep x 2.1ft tall was previously a marine tank. I want to go for a planted tank with C02, I will have high lighting as im reusing 2x Eco-tech XR30's with diffusers so high lighting. the plants I would like to keep are: Javamoss,dwarf hairgrass, Hemianthus micranthemoides,Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus bleheri , Vallisneria Spiralis, Ceratopteris thalictroides, duckweed, Alternanthera reineckii 'pink', Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini, rotala rotundifolia and Rotala Macrandra. (Seen this can help sometimes)

Now money is partly an issue but if I need to pay more for a substrate I will. I have heard that high CEC would allow me to use fish poop and water dosing to provide nutrients, root tabs would be harder to do in a tank this size when everything has grown out. I dealy I would like a substrate that would last as long as possible and I keep hearing mixed things about Eco-complete, Stratum turns into a clay mush, and sand would stop nutrients going to roots , with gravel being a poor CEC value and bad for roots.

so Wise fish tank people what substrate should I use ? dirt capped, sand , gravel, volcanic stuff. please help xD
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:04 PM
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I would go with sand, pool filter sand if you want a light look or black blasting sand (coal slag) if you want a dark look.

This is the cheapest option and a very good option for a large planted tank - long term maintenance is key here, and these sands are about as easy as it gets.

Sure no CEC in sand, but there isn't any significant CEC in Eco-Complete / Flourite / Gravel - Only good CEC in Active soils like Aquasoil.

Fertilize the water column with a full nutrient coverage dosing regime and you are set.

Ideally, running high light and CO2 from the get go requires you to dose fertilizers from day 1 regardless of the substrate you use, so it's basically impossible to meet you goal of having a substrate supply the nutrients for as long as possible.

The plants you listed aren't too high demanding, so sand or regular gravel will work.

Also, sand will not inhibit roots from obtaining nutrients, that is a myth.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome, any extra maintenance I need to do to the sand ? with a carpeting plant and shrimp in ?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:33 PM
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Awesome, any extra maintenance I need to do to the sand ? with a carpeting plant and shrimp in ?
to keep it clean just hover / vacuum it during water changes (assuming you will be using a siphon).

Best to get organics out of the substrate before the rot down too much - helps with keeping things in check over all.

Sand is just super easy to plant into and keep clean which helps when maintaining a larger tank such as yours

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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to keep it clean just hover / vacuum it during water changes (assuming you will be using a siphon).

Best to get organics out of the substrate before the rot down too much - helps with keeping things in check over all.

Sand is just super easy to plant into and keep clean which helps when maintaining a larger tank such as yours
The only problem I have had in the past is sand being too light, getting sucked into the siphon and such. Is the blasting sand any heavier or not? if not il just have to swirl above and hope the sand doesn't get pulled up.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:44 PM
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The only problem I have had in the past is sand being too light, getting sucked into the siphon and such. Is the blasting sand any heavier or not? if not il just have to swirl above and hope the sand doesn't get pulled up.
Blasting sand is fairly dense / heavy. Swirling above has always work for me - if you end up sucking a bunch up you can always keep a spare bag handy and replace as needed.

If you are in the states, medium girt black diamond blasting sand seems to be the favoured choice.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Sadly in the uk but il try and find some thanks for the help, now I just need to work out what dosing regimin to do EL or something else
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 03:55 PM
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Sadly in the uk but il try and find some thanks for the help, now I just need to work out what dosing regimin to do EL or something else
Lots of options for dosing.

Try opening a new thread asking for some dosing options / experience on larger tanks. Make sure to give info like your tank size, planned water change schedule, your substrate, your water source / parameters, lighting, CO2 etc. Lots of people should help out.

Look for pure coal slag, and look up the SDS. Compare it to Black Diamond Blasting's Sands SDS, that's what I did when I found some local in Canada - it worked out great.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of options for dosing.

Try opening a new thread asking for some dosing options / experience on larger tanks. Make sure to give info like your tank size, planned water change schedule, your substrate, your water source / parameters, lighting, CO2 etc. Lots of people should help out.

Look for pure coal slag, and look up the SDS. Compare it to Black Diamond Blasting's Sands SDS, that's what I did when I found some local in Canada - it worked out great.
After having a look this is the closest I can find, I will have another look and ask about dosing would this be any good or would I need to find something else ? https://www.sandblasters.co.uk/iron-...&variantid=461

Bump: Also I heard sand can cause a buildup of Anaerobic bacteria
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2020, 05:05 PM
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After having a look this is the closest I can find, I will have another look and ask about dosing would this be any good or would I need to find something else ? https://www.sandblasters.co.uk/iron-...&variantid=461

Bump: Also I heard sand can cause a buildup of Anaerobic bacteria
This sand will not compact, the grain size is actually quite large. No need to worry.

That sand in the link looks farily good, request the SDS from the manufacture and see how it stacks up / see if the ingredients are all inert.

Do a bucket test too (buy 1 bag and put some in a bucket - test your water before adding it to the bucket (leave the water out for 24 hours though to get an accurate pH reading), and then test again in 24 - 48 hours and note any changes if the sand where to release anything.

pH
GH
KH
TDS

if none of those parameters change, you are probable safe.

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