Best substrate for capping dirt? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Best substrate for capping dirt?

Is there any advantage to picking an expensive substrate over the cheap colored aquarium gravel or gravel from the local farm store. When used over dirt.

Tank is 36x18 at the bottom.

I like the look of the black flourite but not the $21 a bag cost. I figure I will need 3 bags to line the sides, cap the dirt and have left over for later.

I have looked into Turface, but most the reviews say that it is light and gets messy, since I am using dirt I think it would just compound the problem.

Some have said that pee gravel can let dirt float up.

I am not to interested in sand, looks awesome but also looks like more maintenance than I am interested in.

So does Flourite, eco-complete, etc benefit the planets more than aquarium gravel or gravel when capping dirt?

Thanks,
Mike
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 09:59 PM
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Use Black Diamond its like $8 for a 50lb bag. Flourite is inert where as eco complete has nutrients. I would think if you are capping dirt (with nutrients?) you could use whatever, no need to buy expensive stuff.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2012, 05:01 AM
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+1 to smokaah. Flourite is inert but has high CEC so it will be able to transport the nutrients in your dirt to the plant roots. Eco-complete has nutrients itself so it will be a "waste" if your dirt already has nutrients. Can't hurt though.

Sand is probably the most popular, but you don't like it

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-19-2012, 05:26 AM
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Anything that is pleasing to your eye, once the roots reach the dirt will get all the nutrients the want for a year or 2. We also have club members with dirt tanks covered with pea gravel that are 20 years old, so it depend on a lot of factor how fast the nutrients are used.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 09:15 PM
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I capped my dirt tanks with eco complete black. It didnt cloud or dirty my tank at all when I filled it.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 12:50 AM
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Pool filter sand in white!

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 02:50 AM
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"high CEC" is a popular buzz phrase that pops up on these threads and apparently it's a marketing + for the tech substrates.

I don't see the alleged valve as the roots blow right through the high CEC cap and go deep into the dirt. Where's the benefit?

I feel the cap is there to contain the dirt PERIOD. Yes, sand offers an additional benefit of being easier for small roots to move faster through the substrate.

OP - I understand you don't care for sand. I would suggest to read through this sub-gorum there are more that one thread about people having ammonia exchange problem with gravel sized caps.

I built a tank with an over the top amount of Organics used a sand cap and had not problems. Much to amazement of the "chicken Littles".
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 05:49 AM
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Anybody have a good link on what soil to use and how to prepare it for aquariums?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat72sherman View Post
Anybody have a good link on what soil to use and how to prepare it for aquariums?
I have heard that Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil is the choice of many folks, and the sticky at the top of this subsection has much more info about using MTS (Mineralized Top Soil).

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokaah View Post
Use Black Diamond its like $8 for a 50lb bag. Flourite is inert where as eco complete has nutrients. I would think if you are capping dirt (with nutrients?) you could use whatever, no need to buy expensive stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by diwu13 View Post
+1 to smokaah. Flourite is inert but has high CEC so it will be able to transport the nutrients in your dirt to the plant roots. Eco-complete has nutrients itself so it will be a "waste" if your dirt already has nutrients. Can't hurt though.

Sand is probably the most popular, but you don't like it
I wouldn't exactly say Flourite is inert. Inert as in sand and good ole' aquarium gravel. It does have some nutrients. http://www.aquaticsexpress.co.uk/-Su...259/index.html. I have yet to find info for Eco Complete though. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...nutrients.html, check out post 7 from Tom Barr. The man knows his stuff. Eco isn't that much more superior. They are both high CEC and there isn't much difference in the two as far as plant growth success. The debate between the two has lingered forever. It boils down to personal preference with these two.

Last edited by flight50; 05-28-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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