Need help with substrate choice - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Need help with substrate choice

Now that I got my lighting figured out I need to make a choice on substrate. I was going to use eco-complete but the wife says there's no way im paying $200 for gravel. Is there something else I could use that is like it. My plan is to just use liquid ferts and what not and would prefer something black in color. I was even considering pool filter sand for the beach look but not sure how well my plants would do in that. Could someone please recommend something as im lost.

PS - dont want to use dirt as I like to move things around
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 02:27 PM
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Do a search on the forum for blacking blasting sand. I believe it is called Black Diamond.

I use pool filter sand and I like it a lot. It is very easy to plant in and plants have done well for me. I use root tabs under heavy feeders.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Just had a look on youtube at tanks with PFS and I really like the look. Is eco-complete really all that amazing like they say? Also do I have to use root tabs or is ferts in the water good enough? This will be my first planted tank so I will just be using low light easy plants untill I learn more.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 03:18 PM
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Flourite Black has worked quite well for me thus far (if you're looking for a more gravely alternative to sand).
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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The only sand I can find is silica sand. Would this be ok to use? I looked into root tabs and it seems like theres nothing to it.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 05:58 PM
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Silica sand is the same as pool filter sand. I got my pool filter sand from a swimming pool supply shop. It was very reasonably priced.

I have a small tank with Eco-Complete and to tell you the truth, I wouldn't use it again. I like the pool filter sand better. It holds the roots of the plants very well, and with using the root tabs under the heavy root feeders, my pfs tanks have done really well. I use root tabs under swords & crypts and the like. I do that in the Eco-Complete tank, as well, so not really any difference.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 06:06 PM
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I love the look of Eco Complete in my tank. Nothing to compare it to as far as plant growth, however.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-21-2012, 06:13 PM
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Eco-Complete is a inert substrate, with no true benefits from what I understand(minus the aesthetics). Seeing that you are from Canada, I do not know what you have access to. But if you like a dark substrate at a good price, then black blasting sand is your best bet. Or since you like the PFS(silica sand) look as well, just got with that. In regards to the root tabs/fert, that all depends. If your only planning on having plants which do not require a strong root system (i.e. Java Fern, Anubias, wisteria) , you will be fine without them. I suggest planning out what you are putting in your tank and then research each plant thoroughly. This way you don't waste your time or money. Hope this helps in some small way. Cheers!
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