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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Substrates

I am looking for ideas on what to use for substrate on a 200 gallon planted tank.
I have been in the reef world for many years, and I would like to move to a planted tank. Any ideas for such a large tank that will not hurt the wallet?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 01:46 AM
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I just got a bag of Safe T Sorb, inexpensive, high cationic exchange capacity, and, from the pictures, looks pretty good.

Turface is a similar material, also reasonably prices, and high CEC.

Pool filter sand is another less expensive material, but it does not hold nutrients the way the high CEC products do.

Look into mineralized top soil. You might be able to use your own garden soil.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 02:24 AM
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I am planning to use SafeTSorb as well. Currently the plant friendly stuff in my 180 gallon tank is 11 year old Schultz's Aquatic Soil which is similar to STS, Turface and the like. The other 3/4s is varying sizes of normal natural colored aquarium gravel and that is too much heavy gravel for my liking, got used to the easy to move around SAS.

I hope the STS is as light weight as the SAS. When I first set up the 150 gallon tank I used 40 pounds of gravel from the previous tank and 40 pounds of SAS. Turned out to be 1/2" of gravel and 2-3" of SAS!


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 07:55 PM
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STS handles just like SMS and Turface. I just put it into the tank without rinsing ahead of time. I partially filled the tank and drained it, rinsing the STS that way. Water sure was cloudy! It looked like there was a mix of particle sizes in the bag, and I am not surprised at the cloudy water.

Color is rather nice. Looks like soft grey and medium brown when it is dry, gets a bit darker when wet, and not so dusty looking.

I am going to stir it around one more time, and rinse it once more, then go on with the next step.

40 lb bag was just enough for the tank I am working on, 5' long x 16", and the substrate is barely 2" deep. I might mix some Soil Master Select, charcoal with the STS. It would make the blend just a bit darker, and add volume. Or maybe a few large rocks would displace just enough to make it deep enough. It is right on the edge of being deep enough already, but a little more would be nice.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 01:16 AM
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One more stir-rinse-water change and the tank is a lot cleaner. Then I filled slowly, allowing the water to seep in by running it over the (empty) Safe-T-Sorb bag.
It is cloudy, but just lightly. I would go ahead and put fish in that water, but I am still arranging things.

The color and texture are really nice! It is lightweight, so bury the plants deep!

I have set it up with a slope. It is barely 1" at the front, and pretty close to 3" at the back. From experience with SMS and Turface, I do not think it will hold even that gentle a slope.
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