Substrates for people with low budgets - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Substrates for people with low budgets

List some low cost alternatives to the expensive planted tank substrates like aquasoil

1.Miracle Grow Potting soil with a cap of some sort
-great growth rate but is not for people who like to change alot, and not really for high light plants

2.Mineralized Top Soil
-Nuff sail

3.Turface Pro
-Just like awuariumplants own substrate but is a little lighter and needs root tabs

4.PFS with Root tabs
-pfs doesn't hold nutrients.


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 02:06 PM
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I think you said it ALL

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 02:16 PM
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Why is miracle grow not for high light plants? It is often associated to low-light tanks because they are more typically low-maintenance, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use it with a higher-maintenance high light tank.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 02:16 PM
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As far as a cap, if you want dark sand you can use black diamond sand from tractor supply co.

Just be sure you wash it really, really well.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-30-2011, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktownhero View Post
Why is miracle grow not for high light plants? It is often associated to low-light tanks because they are more typically low-maintenance, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use it with a higher-maintenance high light tank.
I've used it in moderatley high light tanks without problems.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 12:15 PM
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I kind of did my own style substrate using topsoil and other stuff, I did not mineralize it. here is what I used for my 125g.

1 40lb bag cheap topsoil
1 20lb bag paver base (pretty much crumbled concrete and brick dust) yes this has a tendancy to boost ph which is why I used it, to help balance out the effect of the topsoil degrading in the tank.
1 20lb bag dead sand
3 boxes first layer laterite
2 bags ecocomplete. I used the ecocomplete as sort of a cap
1 20lb bag peastone as a final cap.

the final cost was far below what buying one complete substrate would have been.

I move stuff around all the time in my tank the peastone always ends up on top and the "dust" settles out quickly. in hindsight I would probably forgoe the peastone because I no longer like the way it looks but that just a visual thing. I would have to say this works good for a soil since my plants all grow well and my lotus has flowered 3 times. I did have some green water issues in the very begginning but I think that was due more to excess light for the small amount of plants I had in the begginning. at this point I can go a very long time with out cleaning my glass and not lose visibility.

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125g marine reef tank, 6 gallon fluval edge minimalist aquascape (in progress), 1 gallon aqueon evo 2 betta tank.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 01:48 PM
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I don't know if this is the same as topsoil, but fill dirt you get from your backyard is practically free. In most places it's made of clay, so while it has high CEC, it'll compact and create anaerobic spots if you use too much
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