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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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substrate suggestion

Hello,

I realized the reason why I haven't been able to keep plants, least the ones that died anyways, is because they aren't fertilized well enough. I currently have 110W over 55gallon with a Eheim pro 2028 canister.

I'm interested in adding either
1) fluorite or 2) eco-complete or 3) Schult's aquatic soil

What's the best way of adding it other than just dumping it in? I currently have a 55 gallon with sand as substrate. There are also fish in there as well. The tank has been set up for 4 months. I think I'd like to get one of the 3 substrates above and add it to the tank cup by cup.
And should I layer it on top of the sand or should I mix it in with the sand?

Thanks,
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 12:31 PM
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I use Florite and it does cloud the water, but works great. I do see more posts that Eco-complete is the way to go and there have been a couple of posts about it clouding the water, but most have no problem. I've never heard of #3.
I would think laying on top would be OK for now as you plant and replant it's going to get mixed in and you really want it below the sand where the roots of the plant can get to it.

One more thing the Florite is red and from what I've read the E-C is black.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:30 PM
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Flourite is my choice, there are some links to some pictures of the results I've had with it, including one 24 hours after setup here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...514#post134514

Note the 75 picture, which shows the long term results as well. No offense to anyone, but I've never experienced any clouding problems with florite as long as you set it up right, and there several other people who have not had any clouding problems either.

As for color, there is flourite red and regular flourite, which is much darker. I have no experience with Eco to compare it too, but I definitely don't like the black color, it just isn't natural looking as far as I'm concerned, but that's a matter of personal choice. Seachem in general has a very good product line for planted tanks, I use many of their products, I think the results I've had speaks itself.

Shultz Aquatic Soil is basically a fracted clay product, of which there are many out there, it's just arcillite, all are inert and provide no nutritents themselves, however, since it is a fired clay product, it won't break down, and has a very high CEC which allows bacteria to efficiently breakdown waste into useable nutrients. I've looked at other brands, the only real difference seems to be particle size and price. A local nursery chain carrys a store brand for $3.99 for a ten pound bad.

The one real drawbacks (or not) is that they seem to be light tan in color and it's generally lightweight, most who use it use a top layer of gravel to keep plants down and hide the color. At the least I'd recommend amending it with iron for the root feeders. I bought some of the local stuff, "Structure", I plan on using it in a 75 that I have to tear down anyway when I move in a couple of weeks, but I'm going to mix it 50/50 with Flourite with no top layer.I'll be starting a journal on that particular tank as I'm going to be trying a number of new things.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 01:41 PM
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GG.C it's gonna cloud if water is already in the tank, BTDT. I also thought that Florite was a fracted clay?


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 02:04 PM
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Yes it will cloud if you just dump it in, but I wouldn't recommend just dumping it, nor would recommend I just dumping in any product rinsed or not. If you're adding it to an existing substrate, you're going to need to mix it in with the existing substrate, easier to do with a drained tank. If it's already planted, how would you add it to the existing substrate with out tearing up the existing plantings?

The time honored way of setting up a tank is to add the substrate, then the water using some type of covering to prevent the water from stirring up things, with Flourite there's an extra step I add to prevent the dust from clouding because I don't rinse it. Myself, I'd tell you to lose the sand completely, but that's just my opinion.

And yes, Flourite is a fracted clay product, just as is Schultz, Turface etc, the difference is Flourite is a different material and has nutrients, especially iron whereas Schultz and similar products don't, but both provide the benefits of fracted clay, porosity, high CEC. Flourite just has added value in my opinion. The only reason I'm going to use a 50/50 mix of Flourite and Structure is because it would be too expensive to use Flourite alone, and adding a product like Structure (or Schultz or ...) is better than just adding regular aquarium gravel.

Here's an excellent link on the meaning of CEC and it's benefits:

http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/supp...ercent_sat.htm
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 02:13 PM
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I have a large tank so draining the tank and removing everything is really not an option, and I sure there more than I that don't do everything correctly, time honored or not. I understand that the sand on top would be much better but over time its all going to get mixed.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 02:23 PM
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Sand on the bottom would just be a plain bad idea in my opinion for a variety of issues, I don't recommend sand at all really. And in the case of rooted plants, you can't "just dump" anything on them, you'll have to at least pull them up so the crown stays above the surface and obviously, for eco or flourite to be of value, your roots have to be in it.

Sometimes short cuts give short results. Adding eco or flourite isn't going to give you optimum results unless it's used correctly and if you're going to invest the money in a product, it would make sense to use it in a manner that's going to give you the best results.
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