Too much information on what too use - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Too much information on what too use

I'm fixin' to change the substrate in my 75g. It used to be a cichlid tank and when I changed to planted (about 4 yrs ago) I only added a couple of bags of flourite. Plant just aren't doing well anymore. I think they are lacking nutrients. I'll also be changing the lighting. Anyway.....I've read so many threads about what's best to use as substrate for a healthy planted tank...I'm confused. I want something that will last years, be good for my plants and not cause me a lot of problems. Help please!
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 07:31 PM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...k-warning.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...irt-tanks.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...nity-dirt.html

I call it dirt


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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Could there not be an easier answer? Most info in these links had so much other info its hard to get a good idea....or names other than "dirt".
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 08:31 PM
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so just add ferts!! simple enough right? now if your looking to change the substrate for other reasons then that needs to be stated but if its because you dont add ferts then you already know ur issue so a better explenation of what you want is in order it seems.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks - I've jumped on another thread about dirts too - which is my bottom line question. What's the best (easiest to maintain) substrate for a healthy lowtech planted tank?
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 09:11 PM
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There is no one "best" substrate. There are several good options depending on your priorities and specific needs. They all have their pros and cons. Easy to maintain would pretty much cut out anything soil-based or requiring any mixing, layering, etc. Look into Eco Complete. The reviews are mostly positive, it's easy to work with and long-lasting.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Much appreciated!
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 09:30 PM
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It all will be some work. You can work on the front end (dirt) and pretty much leave it alone. Or you can pour & plant with sone tech stiff from a big company but, then you'll be pumping pills in the substrate.

It's up to you.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 09:33 PM
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I'll take root tabs over a dirt-cloudy mess any day. That trial and error has to be the most frustrating thing ever. lol
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ucantimagine View Post
I'll take root tabs over a dirt-cloudy mess any day. That trial and error has to be the most frustrating thing ever. lol
I recently did my first reorganization of my crypts in my MTS tank and was dreading it. I was amazed at how little dirt got stirred up, essentially zero, at most just a quick puff of clay that settled down very quickly. I moved around 10-15 crypts, some of which had huge roots systems which seemed to spread half way across my 75g tank. This is an absolutely tremendous improvement over my MGOPS tank, every time I moved anything in that tank I had little pieces of wood and dirt all over the tank. Makes me happy I switched every time I think about it.


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Thanks - I've jumped on another thread about dirts too - which is my bottom line question. What's the best (easiest to maintain) substrate for a healthy lowtech planted tank?
Root tabs will clearly be the least work for you. Adding them to you tank will take a matter of minutes, and only need to be replaced once every few months. Its also one of the cheapest ways. I can ship you 150 root tabs for $12, https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sp...ing-cheap.html. It wont necessarily be the best way, but should grow most plants very well. Mineralized top soil or a dirt tank will likely be the best cheap method, but will take quite a bit of work and will involve pulling everything out of your tank and starting over.
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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ucantimagine View Post
There is no one "best" substrate. There are several good options depending on your priorities and specific needs. They all have their pros and cons. Easy to maintain would pretty much cut out anything soil-based or requiring any mixing, layering, etc. Look into Eco Complete. The reviews are mostly positive, it's easy to work with and long-lasting.
Eco-Complete is inert material soaked in minerals along with an unspecified proprietary blend of whatever the liquid is they add packaging it. There is no 'long term' source of anything in Eco-Complete.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 11:19 PM
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I'm speaking of the actual substrate material. Ferts were already recommended as were root tabs. It's not a bag of magic by any means. But it is easy and does help in planted tanks.
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 11:22 PM
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Could there not be an easier answer? Most info in these links had so much other info its hard to get a good idea....or names other than "dirt".
If you review the threads I linked you'll find the tank setup on the first page or two detailing what was used and how much along with how I handle getting the stuff in the tanks. The rest of those threads are timeline and maintenance records with one nearly 3yrs running without additions.

Dirt becomes a mess when the tank isn't setup correctly (imo) or rescapes are a weekly event.


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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 11:34 PM
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I'm speaking of the actual substrate material. Ferts were already recommended as were root tabs. It's not a bag of magic by any means. But it is easy and does help in planted tanks.
Root tabs are used in some tanks here and the results are dependable.
So are the problems if not replaced every three months. API tablets are all NPK and no trace. Flourish Root Tabs are almost all trace and no NPK. Replacing either of these every three months isn't cheap and not a complete answer either. The capsuled ferts most used here on TPT leave the emptied spheres behind because the membrane doesn't dissolve. Then they work back out of the substrate and float around the tank. That event I find as aggravating as a BBA outbreak. The only substrate I've thrown into the yard and not reused was filled with those empty spheres.

Enriched substrates and light water column dosing is the most forgiving method I have found playing the game be it injected or low light.


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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 12:07 AM
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This is the label for Flourish tabs. I'd love some input from our Mad Scientists. lol What's missing? I can't say the stuff doesn't work, but of course it's not 100% complete in all areas.

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