Substrate input/opinions wanted - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate input/opinions wanted

Hello. I am getting ready to take down my reef tank and go planted very soon and wanted to some input/opinions on substrate with a tank this large please.



Currently we have a 40g planted and used Fluval Stratum. This was our first go at a planted tank (w/ the exception of a nano that did even last 2 weeks because the wife said it was too small).



I'd like to end up with a tank that has some hills, a monolithic rock or two with wood sticking out from the top of the tank.

I've been watching tons of planted tank videos especially those from Takashi Amano which are very beautiful and inspiring. I was also inspired by wasserpest's 250 tank journal.


Thank you.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 06:32 PM
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Beautiful tanks!

I am a cheapskate. Look into using SafeTSorb. I just bought 40 pounds of it and figure it will replace about 1" of the old substrate in my 18x96" footprint tank and cost all of $10 even with shipping next day. It has high CEC like Flourite and Eco and mine is very beautiful, a rich chocolatey brown when wet, even prettier than the photo in the thread going on right now.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=188458
http://www.drillspot.com/products/14...bsorbant_40_lb

Since my previous cheapskate purchase of Schultz Aquatic Soil a decade ago went so well I am very confident I will be happy with this extravagant purchase.

You will not be able to build hills with this stuff unless you put in supports of some sort. After a ground cover is well established it will hold the hill to some extent.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the nice comment Kathyy and input. Also th elinks.

I read posts and watched videos where custom cut Styrofoam was used as the base formation and then topped with substrate in applications, but need to research which type/chemical make-up.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 04:38 AM
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Styrofoam or other things inside the hill is not the issue with hills.
The substrate slides down no matter how it is propped up from underneath.

I make retaining walls out of rocks and expanding foam filler. The black type, sold for water falls is good, and the construction type (yellow-tan) is also aquarium safe, and may blend better with certain substrates and rocks. I like the black better for most, though. I have made retaining walls without any 'mortar' and the substrate slips right between them, ends up all one level.

I just bought 40 lbs of Safe-T-Sorb. It covered my 5' x 16" tank barely 2" deep. Your reef tank looks like at least 125 gallons (6' x 18"). I used a 50 lb bag of Soil Master Select (similar material, no longer available) and it was not quite enough. I added 2 bags of Eco Complete. Both are black, and I cannot tell if they have stayed mixed or not.

Just saying that you would be good to get at least 3 of the 40 lbs bags of Safe-T-Sorb, if that is a material you want to work with.
For more info, look here:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=188458
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 12:18 PM
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What's your budget for substrate? If it's not so much of an issue, go with ADA Aquasoil. That'll be quite expensive but well worth it if you can front the cash.

If cost is a concern, have to second the recommendations above. Along with Turface and Pool Filter Sand.

Can't wait to see how this turns out.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. The tank is 84x24x24. The substrate budget is flexible and would probably top out at $350-500.

I like the color of the SafeTSorb and really like the cost. How much ADA Aquasoil do you think it would take? Do they sell it in bulk? How about mixing/capping the SafeTSorb with some ADA Aquasoil?

The input and comments are very appreciated.

TY

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 09:53 PM
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I just used Turface MVP for my rescape and so far I like it way better than the Flourite I was using. It only took 15 minutes to rinse it mostly clear and then I filled slow and the tank was never cloudy.

Planting is a breeze. Some have said that they had issues keeping stem plants down initially, but I don't have loaches or anything that might root around and haven't had this problem at all. I simply strip the bottom 1.5 -2 inches of a stem and push it down into the Turface.

I'm doing a river bottom type look with river stones and it looks really natural and was only $13 for a 50lb bag.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 01:50 AM
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Your tank is larger than the one I filled with SMS + EC.

You need 2.3 cubic feet to make the substrate 2" deep all over.

2.3 cubic feet may also be expressed as:
4000 cubic inches
17.2 gallons (American gallons, that is)
14.3 Imperial gallons
65 liters
68.8 quarts (US)

Most sand and gravel weighs something close to 100 lbs per cubic foot, so you are looking for something close to 230 lbs.

Soil Master Select, Turface and Safe-T-Sorb are lighter than most sand and gravel, a 40 lb bag of Safe-T-Sorb covered a tank 60" x 16" x 2" deep. This is just a little over 1 cubic foot.
So, 5 bags (40 lb each) for your tank if you go with Safe-T-Sorb.
I think the Turface is 50 lb bags, (If you can still find it).
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 07:43 AM
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Y break down such a pretty tank for a freshwater plant tank?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In.a.Box View Post
Y break down such a pretty tank for a freshwater plant tank?
yea thats what i thought it looks amazing and i bet u spent a fair bit on it with the lights and everything.

well i can't blame you though i have a reef tank and i still needed to go back to a trop planted tank.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 12:08 PM
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My vote would be for MTS(Dirt) and a Sand Cap. I have extra MTS I made and won't be using as my next tank has morphed into an Aquaponics system. PM on that if you might be interest.

As for the Sand Cap. Depending on the color you can use White - PFS (Pool Filter Sand), Tan - Play ground or All Purpose Construction Sand, Black - Black Diamond Blasting Grit. All work just fine.

Dirt is 2-2.5" max Sand Cap 1-1.5" max.

Don't let the "Chicken Littles" get you all freaked out about the sand compacting due to grain size. It just not a problem. Some of the people that constantly repeat that don't even run dirtied tanks.

I personally think the very reason this combination works so well is the seal effect of the finer sand as it settles in a thin layer over the dirt.

This is very evident in my tanks as I'm currently using construction sand that has various sized grains. You can see the layers clearly in my tank.

Best of luck with the new tank. I got out of Reef keeping in the early 980s due to my moral objections to the collection practices back then.

Last edited by DogFish; 09-17-2012 at 02:53 AM. Reason: sp.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 04:54 PM
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You probably could go with Aquasoil if your budget is allowing up to $500. It doesn't seem to be sold in bulk, even the huge Natural aquariums installed in Sumida Aquarium were filled bag by bag by Amano's company.

I think being skimpy I figured 9 bags for 12 feet of surface but more is likely better. There are two companies selling it online in the US, AGA and Aquaforest. $30 a bag and shipping would add about $80 for that 9 bags for me as I am only 400 miles from Aquaforest.
http://www.adana-usa.com/index.php?m...akpg9s7fi3ra51

If Santa Claus gave me a big gift certificate I would use Aquasoil no problem but the dirted tank people have yet to convince me their really interesting system is worth it. I read every thread and am not sure I am somebody who would do well with it.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Y break down such a pretty tank for a freshwater plant tank?
Due to some life changes, let's just say that I need to have something that's more forgiving when it comes to neglect. Thank you for the nice comment.

Quote:
yea thats what i thought it looks amazing and i bet u spent a fair bit on it with the lights and everything.

well i can't blame you though i have a reef tank and i still needed to go back to a trop planted tank.
Yeah, the lights and water flow were my biggest investment and I've been totally happy with what equipment I have. My tanks allow me to relax and wind down. Thank you also for the nice comment.


I'm going to hit up my favorite LFS (JoJos) to see if I might be able to get a decent price on 12 bags of ADA Aquasoil and maybe let them know that I would order all my fish and plants through them as well. They've always had good FW livestock and plants.

I'm also going to see if Ewing Irrigation might still carry Turface just in case the ADA is just too expensive or I change my mind on substrate.

Still in the process of getting rid of the reef livestock and rock.

Thanks again for everyone input and comments.

"Planted tanks are sheets of glass that the Aquarist fills with money..."

Coming Soon...Oceanic Brick 209.5g 84x24x24 - 60g sump - Lit w/ 5 AI SOL Blue - MP40x2 - MP60
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
.....but the dirted tank people have yet to convince me their really interesting system is worth it. I read every thread and am not sure I am somebody who would do well with it.
I volunteer to hold your hand when you're ready to get "dirty"

Last edited by DogFish; 09-17-2012 at 02:58 AM. Reason: sp.
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