wasting money on speciality substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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wasting money on speciality substrate?

hi,

planning on setting up a very low tech 10gallon planted tank. Mostly anubias, java fern, swords.

I'm just wondering if the speciality substrates like flourite, eco complete, laterite (additive) are really worth the money or if regular fine gravel will do the trick just as well
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 01:12 PM
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I used clay based kitty litter lol.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 01:28 PM
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I feel the only thing tech substrate offers is convince.

I use MTS & cap.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 02:55 PM
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I use turface same if not better than flourite and it is $11 for 50 pounds which is a massive bag that can easily fill a 60g


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 03:04 PM
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Especially for a beginners 10 gal tank I think they are totally worth it. Good fired clay substrates practically last forever. They have a high CEC (gravel doesn't), which means they can soak up nutrients and keep them available for your swords. They are easy to plant in due to high specific weight - Kitty Litter, Turface and such are very light, can be challenging to keep larger buoyant plants like Swords anchored in them. And they don't potentially crash a tank due to excess organic matter or directly cause huge algae explosions due to nutrient leaching.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 03:21 PM
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It depends of what you want to do and the look. In my case I needed a buffering substrate that would keep the ph around 6-6.5
I also prefer high CEC inert substrate rather than active substrate, I like having total control in nutrients. Other thing to consider for me is the size of the granules because I use UGF. My match is akadama drl, but is very light and difficult to plant although moss attaches really good.

If I didn't need the buffering proprieties then I would've used turface.

I have used fluorite black and I was very happy with it for 8yrs. Heavy, easy to plant, nice color, buy may scratch plexiglass.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Especially for a beginners 10 gal tank I think they are totally worth it. Good fired clay substrates practically last forever. They have a high CEC (gravel doesn't), which means they can soak up nutrients and keep them available for your swords. They are easy to plant in due to high specific weight - Kitty Litter, Turface and such are very light, can be challenging to keep larger buoyant plants like Swords anchored in them. And they don't potentially crash a tank due to excess organic matter or directly cause huge algae explosions due to nutrient leaching.
+1

I've used Eco-Complete for all my tanks for years and absolutely love it. My goal is to grow plants. When I consider the expense of all the equipment, not to mention the plants and fish, then I can't see why I would scrimp on the substrate. It's not really expensive, and I never have to mess with it. I put it in the tank, plant my plants, and let them grow. No caps to worry about, no changes to my water parameters, no mess. And the plants grow. I think it's totally worth it.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 04:04 PM
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I use Ecocomplete in my 75 gallon and haven't noticed anything superb about it although I don't have a lot of experience to compare it to. I do find its really light and in my high flow tank it doesn't take much at all for newly planted stems to get up rooted. It is very convienant though as there is no Rinsing involved and looks great and that alone makes the price bearable. Petco often has it on sale for 17 bucks with free shipping over 50 dollars.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 05:33 PM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...pros-cons.html is a good reference for substrate materials. I agree with Wasserpest about a 10 gallon tank. One bag of any specialized substrate is about all you need for that size tank, so it isn't that expensive compared to the other stuff needed.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
+1

I've used Eco-Complete for all my tanks for years and absolutely love it. My goal is to grow plants. When I consider the expense of all the equipment, not to mention the plants and fish, then I can't see why I would scrimp on the substrate. It's not really expensive, and I never have to mess with it. I put it in the tank, plant my plants, and let them grow. No caps to worry about, no changes to my water parameters, no mess. And the plants grow. I think it's totally worth it.

+1

i love eco-complete. i run it in 3 of my 5 tanks. the only reason its not in all of my tanks is i wanted a sand tank, and my my cray tank really has no need for plant substrate as he will tear the up.

my only complaint about eco is like was said above, it is difficult to plant in.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
+1

I've used Eco-Complete for all my tanks for years and absolutely love it. My goal is to grow plants. When I consider the expense of all the equipment, not to mention the plants and fish, then I can't see why I would scrimp on the substrate. It's not really expensive, and I never have to mess with it. I put it in the tank, plant my plants, and let them grow. No caps to worry about, no changes to my water parameters, no mess. And the plants grow. I think it's totally worth it.
Agreed 100%. It's really not that much more than regular gravel. The bonuses far outweigh the extra cost. The biggest advantages are no mess, no algae blooms, no ammonia leeching, etc. With the right regimen and setup, I'm sure it can grow any plant.

I can't imagine dealing with dirt and sand.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 10:30 PM
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I find them to be a waste of money personally.

But then again I do not like the look of gravel.

I use sand and dirt in all my tanks.
It requires no dosing, the plants love it, looks great. And I have to say that I've never had an issue with algae blooms or messes when rescaping the tank.
I'm in there all the time shifting things around.


In the end just pick up what you like.
You can grow fantastic plants no matter what you use. Gravel sand or dirt.
Everyone on here has a different groove that works for them. Part of what makes this hobby and site so wonderful.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 12:47 AM
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No matter which substrate you choose, you can amend it with root tabs or supplement it with water column ferts. Here's a breakdown of what you would need to make a rich substrate from the available types:

Substrates with low CEC (plain gravel or sand): Root tabs
Substrates with high CEC but no nutrients (Flourite, Ecocomplete, Turface, kitty litter): Root tabs or water column dosing
Substrates with high CEC and nutrients (Aquasoil, capped dirt): Nothing (though after a few years you might need some supplementation)

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:33 AM
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I have a tank with eco-complete and a tank with top soil capped with black diamond. The tank with the topsoil has faster growth. I spent almost $70 just to fill a 40b with ec and I have not seen what the big deal is yet. But that is just me.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:54 AM
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I sort of "fell" into the hobby when I ended up with a pleco unexpectedly. I wanted to create the best environment for him and came here... the rest is obviously the story of an addict. ;-) I didn't really have the money to invest in a lot of expensive equipment or things since I wasn't expecting to take up planted tanks. My first tank is a 10 gallon and houses the little pleco and some shrimp I got from other members here. It has some beautiful plants in it and the substrate is that nasty blue gravel. Everything is doing pretty well in it and will probably do better once my root tabs get here. The second tank is another 10 gallon and I decided to try the Turface Pro League in it since I still don't have a lot of extra cash and have a 55 gallon I'd like to plant once the turtles are rehomed (I run a turtle rescue locally). It's a pain to wash out, but it's also really not bad looking! I'm not sure how well things will grow in it, but again, I'm going to supplement once my root tabs come in. Just my two cents' worth, even though I'm a newbie. I think it really is about your preferences and what kind of money you want to spend.
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