Safe T Sorb or Turface ..either or neither??? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Safe T Sorb or Turface ..either or neither???

Hi all, new to the forum but having been searching and reading everything I could about Turface and STS but it seems the more I read the more confused I get. It's getting to the point of that saying "study long, study wrong".

First, I have a 75 gallon tank with BlueGills and Rock Bass. It's moderately planted but can't plant much more and still have room for the fish to swim and hide at the bottom. Problem is the gravel is to large sized and the stems rot if planted to deep. Right now I use non-lead plant weights to keep them at the bottom without moving around a lot but sometimes they end up getting buried deeper and then rotting.

When the Bluegill or Rock Bass spawn they build nests in the gravel by tail-wagging to make a shallow depression in the gravel. When the Rock Bass built his nest it was about 2" deep in the gravel. He sometimes used his mouth and actually looked like a bulldozer pushing gravel out of the way. It was cute and funny until he got really, really mean defending that nest. Which brings me to my questions (finally).

If I were to use either Turface or STS would this spawning behavior really make a mess of my tank? I've read of people simply pulling up plants that caused cloudy water, so I'm afraid of what nest building would do. Anyone have some experience with this type behavior using this type substrate? Or opinions on how it might work? Could I cap it with some of the smaller sized gravel I have? Or would I end up with the same problem of rotting stems in gravel. I have 3 different sizes/colors mixed together. When I bought the 75 used it came with gravel but that's the one that is really large. At the time I didn't think I would be doing a planted aquarium and since I didn't like the color that much I topped it with 20-lbs of brown/tan gravel I had. Of course now it's all mixed together after vacuuming and planting. How much gravel would I need for a cap?

If it might work, the only Turface sold locally is either All Sport Pro or Game Saver both cost more than $21/bag (almost more than I can afford to spend right now). I don't see either of the products listed on the Turface website so that has me a bit worried. I've read conflicting info on the All Sport Pro that it's either the same thing as MVP or it's a smaller particle size. ?? Is this what people refer to as Pro League or different product altogether? I've read that the Game Saver is closer to sand but not much is written about it. If the particle size of All Sport Pro is smaller is that better or worse? Can someone explain the advantages or disadvantages of the particle sizes as it relates to my situation?

I can get the STS for $5/bag so it's definitely more wallet friendly than Turface, something which is very important right now with my limited funds. So I'd rather use this if it's basically the same as Turface. How is it's size compared to All Sport Pro?

Given what I've said should I even attempt to use either of these products??? Or would I end up with a mess? I can handle a little cloudy water for several hours maybe even a day but would rather it not be that way most of the time.

Would pre-soaking it in a 30 gallon Rubbermade type tote for several weeks help to make it "heavier" and easier to plant in and less likely to be disturbed as bad? Would that also help with the initial KH, PH drop I've read about? Mine are already pretty low but I need to get a more accurate KH & GH test kit.

Sorry for so many questions but I don't want to go through the hassle of changing my substrate and stressing my fish if it's not really the right choice for my situation. Especially since it would have to be done in 1 day. So any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 11:14 AM
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SAF T SORB ... cheaper , nicer appearance and easier to plant in....

I just did my 180 using saftsorb very happy with the results...

BTW: on my setup I used a screen to filter out all of the finer particles of saftsorb,then rinsed it all with RO/DI water ...so I wound up with very clean ,larger grain substrate...
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 02:36 PM
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Safe T Sorb will cloud alittle when disturbed but, it doesn't take long for it to clear up. I use it now instead of Flourite. It's cheaper, clears ups faster when rinsing and....it's much cheaper. When I vaccuum the STS and some gets sucked up during cleaning, its not the "end of the world" to just toss it. I every now and then, I add more clean STS. I just rinse it and grab a handful and place it where ever I want it. The cloudiness is gone in a few hours. It is lighter than gravel so, your fish might be able to move it around easier, perhaps uprooting plants easier. For the price, why not try it? You can do it gradually, like how I replaced my flourite. During weekly cleaning, suck out some of the original gravel and replace it with an equal amount of the STS. I replaced the flourite with STS mainly because the color is more natural looking in my opinion. Also, Flourite has bigger chunks that BBA attaches to quite readily. With STS, I don't have BBA in the gravel anymore.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to both of you for the replies. I really appreciate the help. You make it sound great! And I do like the look of the STS. After reading so much I was really worried I'd have a mess every time the fish spawned. They've quit spawning right now not sure why but I'm glad for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquatic serenity View Post
...{snipped}
BTW: on my setup I used a screen to filter out all of the finer particles of saftsorb,then rinsed it all with RO/DI water ...so I wound up with very clean ,larger grain substrate...
Would a window screen work for that? About what hole size would work to filter it? Can you tell me how you went about your change over?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbosman View Post
Safe T Sorb will cloud alittle when disturbed but, it doesn't take long for it to clear up. I use it now instead of Flourite. It's cheaper, clears ups faster when rinsing and....it's much cheaper. When I vaccuum the STS and some gets sucked up during cleaning, its not the "end of the world" to just toss it. I every now and then, I add more clean STS. I just rinse it and grab a handful and place it where ever I want it. The cloudiness is gone in a few hours. It is lighter than gravel so, your fish might be able to move it around easier, perhaps uprooting plants easier. For the price, why not try it? You can do it gradually, like how I replaced my flourite. During weekly cleaning, suck out some of the original gravel and replace it with an equal amount of the STS. I replaced the flourite with STS mainly because the color is more natural looking in my opinion. Also, Flourite has bigger chunks that BBA attaches to quite readily. With STS, I don't have BBA in the gravel anymore.
I might try to add some gradually in a few spots but with my setup not sure it would work very good for doing the whole tank since it would take a while to get the whole thing done. It might be more stressful on the fish than taking them out and changing it all at once. I'll have to see how that goes. They're really not bad about moving plants around except when nest building, of course I do have plant weights on them which probably helps a lot. The biggest area where they can build a nest is right where the HOB filter intake is located so that would help clear up any substrate that gets disturbed .. hopefully.

Just a couple more questions. If I do change it over all at once, I've read conflicting info on whether to hang some of the current gravel in the tank for the beneficial bacteria. I do have 2 sponge filters in the tank so think a lot of the good bacteria would be on those plus on the 2 HOB filters. I've also read to make sure to leave some of the mulm in the tank. I may not be able to run the HOB filters on the temporary tank (not sure they'll hang there) but can put the filter pads in a bucket of tank water with an aerator. Will that work ok? That's what I've been doing when we have prolonged power outages. Anything else I should be aware of?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 09:49 AM
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"Would a window screen work for that? About what hole size would work to filter it?"
No...I used a polyethelyne screen with holes that were larger than a window screen...
if I get a chance i'll take a pic of my setup-basically a 2 gal bucket with the bottom cut out and a piece of screen fitted to the bottom with small screws and goop adhesive...toss the raw STS in the bucket and shake over a clean 5 gal bucket...wear a dust mask if u are sensitive to dust...
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:05 PM
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I just put Safe-T-Sorb in my new 40 breeder myself. Much cheaper that the Eco Complete I used in my 75, and it looks good so far.

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:21 PM
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If all of your filters have been running for a while since their last cleaning, I wouldn't worry about hanging a bag of old gravel. As far as mulm is concerned, just save some of the water you removed during last water change and dump it back in after the substrate change.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 10:01 PM
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the 3bag safe t i got break down to fast.
Depends what you can get, safe T is a easy to find. Turface can drive you miles and miles
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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I think once I see the particle size and what needs to be filtered out I can come up with something to sift it. I've got all kinds of bucket sizes.

I may try some in the "spawning" corner that doesn't have many plants to see how it works out before doing the whole aquarium. But since they aren't building any nests right now I probably won't be able to tell how it will work until they do. I keep vacillating on which way I want to proceed. Knowing myself as soon open the bag, I'll get excited to see the new substrate in the tank and will probably just do it all.

I usually have a bucket of used tank water sitting around for rinsing the filters as I don't rinse them same day I vacuum/change the water so that will work out good. I'll make sure when I do the whole tank I don't clean the filters beforehand then won't have to worry about hanging any gravel inside the tank. I think there will be enough good bacteria on the decorations & especially the filters along with the plants helpwill minimize any problems. I'll keep an eye on it though and do frequent water tests just to be sure I don't have a mini-cycle or ammonia spike. With the Python, it's easy enough to do water changes if needed.

I appreciate everyone's help and responses. If my fish could speak they would thank you to because I think they'll like the look of the STS compared to what they have now.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 07:22 AM
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Does Safe-T-Sorb contain nutrients fit for planting? Or does one have to add tabs?

I know nothing about it. Only know about the old Flourite/Eco debacle.

The longer I'm involved in this hobby the more & more I'm convinced that Bio-Type species tanks are the way to go. Plants and fish/inverts live together in nature for a reason. I find the less I try to fight nature the better my tanks look.

- DogFish 1.24.12
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 12:14 PM
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safe t sorb doesnt contain nutrients but neither does turface or flourite...its just high in CEC...I think safe t sorb is high than turface or flourite...cant remember which one...dont hold me to it though
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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Well my Bluegill went into spawning mode and has been busy building his nest. Unfortunately it's not in the corner I had set aside for that purpose but instead he's making it right smack dab in the middle front part of the tank. I had to move some of the plants there to keep them from getting too buried in gravel. lol But this gives me the opportunity to add a couple handfuls on STS to that spot to see how messy it will actually get, so that's a good thing. I got to hurry and get some sifted and rinsed. Hopefully I don't make too much of a mess putting it in the tank considering where it's located .. under the the cross brace and right next to a huge log that's as tall as the tank.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update for anyone that might be interested. I moved as much gravel out of the nest site that I could, it kept falling back into the indentation so made it hard to move it out. I then dropped about 5 handfuls of STS into the area. Of course it made a bit of a mess since the tank was full of water but not nearly as much as I thought it might. It had me worried because while rinsing it the first rinse was really muddy looking. After that it never looked muddy looking again. It took a few rinses to get it fairly clean but not clear. It just didn't seem to be getting any clearer with each rinse so went with what I had. As soon as I was done adding to the tank he started sweeping the spot. The water did stay somewhat cloudy for several hours because of this but again not as bad as I thought it would be. Since then he has swept all the STS out of the nest and it's piled up all around it with some of the gravel ending up in the bottom. Not sure what it will do if it's all STS he may end up with bare glass at the bottom. LOL The nest building is pretty constant either sweeping with his tail or pectoral fins which keeps a very slight haze to the water. Not as clear as it would be otherwise but not so bad to keep me from doing the whole tank with STS. And I could probably put a different filter pad in to clean it better.

Wish I'd taken pictures of how it looked after I put the STS in but it was getting close to my dinner time so I was in a bit of a hurry. Plus I wanted to get it in there before he mated and it had eggs there. I really like the way it looked before he moved it all.

Now I just wish one of the females would mate with him so he'd get over nest building. Unfortunately neither seems interested which keeps him very, very frustrated and a menace to all in the tank. When or IF he gets done spawning I will be changing the substrate to STS. It appears it will work good enough for me with spawning Bluegills.
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