Soilmaster Select? Turface? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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Soilmaster Select? Turface?

I am back here after a hiatus from the planted tank world. I have had exsperience with planted tanks, however they were all low tech, and I never used special substrate. Well actually I think I had shultz's aquatic plant soil under a layer of sand. So anyway, I am going to be re-setting up this tank to be primarily a loach (the small botia species) tank, with just a few other dither fish. I would like to grow primarily swords, crypts, some vals, and maybe a stem plant or two - but lots of root plants for easier mateinence.

So my question is, in this situation what substrate would you recommend? My first choice had been Soilmaster Select, but I read they are not making that anymore. Is this true? Also, is Turface its replacement? Would these be good choices? Money is an issue for me. I can't really want to spend as much as Eco-Complete or Flourite would cost me, especially since I have another small tank I might redo with this substrate as well. What do you think?

The other thing I was considering to reduce the cost was the mix flourite with either gravel or sand, and use it to top a potting soil mix. I if I do this I need to do more research about how that would work, but is this a good possibility?

Last edited by QuoVadis; 02-05-2012 at 04:09 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 05:26 PM
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I'm interested in this as well. SMS seems to be discontinued for a few years now.

The only thing comparable that ive come across is this plant substrate:

Not sure if you are considering capping the soils for asthetics or for varying the mineral properties. I would personally just go with one type and use tabs or capsules to supplement as needed.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 06:41 PM
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Yes, as far as I know, Soilmaster was discontinued. I believe Turface is essentially the same thing. I have Soilmaster in a couple tanks, and it works well. It's very light, so it's difficult to get some plants to stay planted. But it doesn't really bug me all that much. Every substrate has its pros and cons.

I've heard that the substrate from is also the same stuff, but I don't know if that's true or not.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 07:17 PM
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Turface, SS, Flourite, And Schultz are all so close to the same that they are really interchangeable. Same goes for the stuff in the SnS. Pick whatever floats your boat colour and price wise.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 08:35 PM
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I'm a soil user. I do exactly as you imagine: mixed with gravel and sand, cap it w/ substrate and some lava rock to keep the slopes from slipping. Your swords and vals would love it. Bulbs love it too. I also have stem plants, carpet plants, mosses, etc. No problems. Growth is slow and steady, low maintenance (I'm in medium light).

If you have any pots from houseplants or container plants from the last year, their soil is about perfect. If not, there is the Mineralized Top Soil route. Everyone else seems to have answered the other questions.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2012, 08:50 PM
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where can i find these Turface?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-12-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by In.a.Box View Post
where can i find these Turface?
I got mine from my local John Deere dealer. I have it in my 75g which I planned on being a high light tank, but never reached its full potential. I have kuhlis and dwarf chain loaches and they are able to bury themselves halfway in the substrate because it's light. I'm not sure it'd be good for cories since they sift but it wouldn't wear down their barbels like regular gravel because it's soft.

The trick to getting plants to stay in the Turface is to push them in at an angle instead of straight. I got wisteria without roots to stay in like that.


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