Cultured pool filter sand a good substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Cultured pool filter sand a good substrate?

Hello all! I am currently running a 75 gallon (Mbuna) African Cichlid tank. I have had pool filter sand in the aquarium for probably close to two years. The aquarium is not planted and I was wondering if it would make a good substrate for a planted aquarium. I'm planning on creating a planted Discus aquarium. I really like the look of light color cream or white sand in a planted aquarium. If I could slowly acclimate the sand and any and all organisms/nutrients within it (if there are any) to the lower pH over the period of a couple weeks would it make a good substrate for some plants that get nutrients through their roots? I will have CO2 injection and ~3 watts per gallon. If the pfs is not a quality substrate is there something I could add to the water or the substrate to improve it?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 07:41 AM
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That makes a great substrate if I where you Id add some root tabs to the pfs

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 02:39 PM
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ye add root tabs or a substrate fertiliser i use sand in my 37 gall and its fine

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 05:13 PM
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Ditto again: PFS is OK, but has no cationic exchange capacity. To use it for plants you will need to add fertilizers.

I am not sure it needs such a slow acclimation. If you are using the same tank, then I would just swap out the rocks and add driftwood, plant it and refill with Discus-appropriate water.

If you are moving the substrate to a different tank, here is what I would do:
1) Skim the top 1/2" or less of sand. Set this aside. Keep it damp.
2) Put slow release fertilizer on the actual floor of the tank.
2) Move the remaining substrate to the new tank. Add more if needed, or don't use it all if you have too much. Be careful not to allow the fertilizer to drift up through the sand.
3) Spread the reserved sand over the top of the other sand. While planting make some effort not to stir this too much, not to dig it in too deep. You could plant before adding this, then add it like a cap.

Reason: The top 1/2" or less of the substrate has the maximum population of beneficial organisms because that is where the most oxygen is. By keeping that separate, then placing it on the top of the substrate in the new set up these organisms will continue to thrive.

If you are still worried about the nitrifying bacteria then add a small bottle of any product with Nitrospira species of bacteria. Any other bacterial supplement is a waste of money.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:14 PM
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Also keep in mind raised discus nowadays are much more tolerant of ph and water hardness. what's the normal ph in your tank if its higher then 6 but lower then say 7.8 just leave it consistent ph is more important. that and good water temperature and quality. there are tons of threads popping up on plantedb discus tanks. hit the fish section and read the discus sticky

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the quick replies I think I will end up setting the planted aquarium up first while a the discus grow out and then combining them when I think I have the water parameters controlled in the planted tank. How deep should the sand bed be? I believe it is around 2" now I'd ideally like to get a variety of plants mainly a couple amazon swords some E. tenellus and some E. quadricostatus
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 11:39 PM
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I would not go deeper than 2". As you are taking apart this set up (even if only minimally) take a really good sniff where the sand is deepest, and where it has been covered by large rocks. If there is any foul smell then even 2" or reducing the circulation with large decor is not good.

However, plants can add oxygen to the substrate via their roots, so if the sand is OK, then I would not worry about it. It will only get better.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 11:46 PM
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As the others have said, PFS is an excellent substrate for a planted discus tank, using root tab ferts - grows plants very well.
In case you want to get an idea of what it will look like, you may want to check out my low-tech planted discus tank, in which I use a quartz-based white silica PFS:
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/...spaul/Sept2011
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-04-2012, 09:46 AM
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i use kiln dried sand in my 37 gallon planted which is similar to pfs i add root ferts and malaysian trumpet snails to help aerate the substrate

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
As the others have said, PFS is an excellent substrate for a planted discus tank, using root tab ferts - grows plants very well.
In case you want to get an idea of what it will look like, you may want to check out my low-tech planted discus tank, in which I use a quartz-based white silica PFS:
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/...spaul/Sept2011
Thanks for the pictures they look amazing. Your discus are stunning, very good shape. Do you recall what type of plants those are in your aquarium? and if you could suggest any high temp discus suitable plants that would be awesome.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 10:48 PM
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I have different kinds of crypts attached to driftwood in my discus tank. The temp is about 85-86 right now and they're all ok.


-Val
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbunakid View Post
Thanks for the pictures they look amazing. Your discus are stunning, very good shape. Do you recall what type of plants those are in your aquarium? and if you could suggest any high temp discus suitable plants that would be awesome.
Thanks.
If I recall correctly, the plants are:
- Ludwigia
- 2 types of Swords (Echinodorus)
- Anubias
- 2 types of Lotuses (Nymphaea)
- Hygrophila
- Crypts

Other plants that do well, up to 84 F, (I keep my discus tank 82-3 F as a slight compromise to the plants) are:
- Some Vals & Sags
- Rotala
- Bacopa
- Java Ferns
- Aponogetons
There are a number of other plants too, that may do well - in many cases, it's just a matter of acclimating them to the higher discus temps for a while until they settle in & grow.
Hope this helps.
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