Substrate for moss carpet - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate for moss carpet

Hi guys,

I'm trying to set up a little 3 gallon low tech tank for my office betta. It's one of those cool 18" long ones. I'm planning on putting some plastic mesh on the bottom with christmas moss sandwiched inbetween. I may get 1 or 2 ghost shrimp to accompany the betta in there.

I was wondering what the best choice would be for substrate. I'm going to be putting the mesh over the entire substrate from end to end. I'm looking for this tank to have reasonable maintenance and I don't plan on growing anything but moss. I don't want anything that will mess with the pH or make the tank harder to maintain, but I also want the moss and shrimp to be happy.

Budget is an issue but I also think 1 bag of pretty much anything should cover this tank so it probably isn't a concern.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 09:29 PM
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Go with pool filter sand or black diamond blasting sand. If you don't want to buy a big bag, sand from Petco or Petsmart should suffice. Just be aware, you're going to need to lift up the mesh to remove any mulm that accumulates underneath it.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 12:22 AM
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+1 to black diamond sand. grains are heavy and the black colors will bring out the shrimps color as well

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Do you guys have any suggestions on how I can clean the diamond sand without sucking it all up with a siphon? I'm gonna sit a piece of driftwood on the carpet, so I'll have to pick up the driftwood, pick up the moss mesh and then vacuum up? My betta is definitely gonna get grumpy when I have to do that.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:27 AM
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Just hover your siphon an inch or two over the sand and it should stay put.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 12:08 AM
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You never need to siphon the substrate anyway. If you have any plants or what not the poop will slowly break down over time. Stem plants will also remove dead spots in the sand.

I only siphon from the top of the tank during WC's. You avoid sucking up babies that way as well.

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 02:49 AM
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Does the blasting sand inhibit spread of carpet via roots? I know play sand does, it compacts too tightly and all you see are shoots growing above the substrate.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 02:52 AM
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so for changing water with sand i should just siphon the water at least 2-3 inches about the sand level?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MVA View Post
Does the blasting sand inhibit spread of carpet via roots? I know play sand does, it compacts too tightly and all you see are shoots growing above the substrate.
My plants root fine in the blasting sand, the grains are much larger than play sand so it won't compact as tightly.

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so for changing water with sand i should just siphon the water at least 2-3 inches about the sand level?
I wouldn't even vac that close. But I keep mainly shrimp tanks.

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by diwu13 View Post
My plants root fine in the blasting sand, the grains are much larger than play sand so it won't compact as tightly.
Thanks, looks like its going to be my cap for miracle grow
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 04:18 AM
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Why not go without any substrate? Just make sure you have a wall to wall carpet! That would look super!


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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I bit the bullet and completed almost all the rest of my purchases. I was gonna go with the blasting sand but shipping was murder and I got a bit afraid about some stories of blasting sand having heavy metals or other toxins on it. Went with a bit more expensive black aquarium sand to be safe. I think I may just put up a black background along the back. It should be easy to switch to a moss wall if I prove that I can grow the moss carpet successfully.

I was curious if you guys could weigh in on some logistics. My plan is to get this tank growing and established at home without any livestock and then take it into work when its ready so I have access to all my stuff/no pressure for time.
  1. I've got an established planted 5.5g. Anything I can do with that to help cycle/establish the new little tank faster?
  2. Should I cycle *before* installing the moss? My LFS doesn't have the best prices so I don't want to go buy more.
  3. Any recommendation on transporting it after its cycled? I could transport an empty tank with the moss/driftwood, but not with water in it. Any way to avoid having to cycle it from scratch?
  4. Anyone know exactly what type of mesh is best for this? I bought some plastic loom from a sewing store but the holes look too small. I saw some bird mesh at Lowes but the the holes are probably the size of a dime, which may be too big.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 08:50 PM
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You couldn't find any 'Tractor Supply' stores near you? It really is a steal at 50lbs for $7, even if you have to drive like 20miles to get one.

Quote:
I've got an established planted 5.5g. Anything I can do with that to help cycle/establish the new little tank faster?
Yup, move over the filter media. So if you got a sponge filter, squeeze the juicy sponges out in the new tank. If you have a HOB filter, put all the media into the new tank. And put the new media into the old tank.
Quote:
Should I cycle *before* installing the moss? My LFS doesn't have the best prices so I don't want to go buy more.
If you use any pre-established filter media, you can just throw the moss in. Better yet, use moss from your old tank. And when you end up buying more moss, put the moss into your old tank. Mosses and decor also contain beneficial bacteria that will help instant-cycle your new tank.
Quote:
Any recommendation on transporting it after its cycled? I could transport an empty tank with the moss/driftwood, but not with water in it. Any way to avoid having to cycle it from scratch?
How large will the new tank be? You can easily drain water to ~1-2in from teh substrate and transport it that way. I helped my friend move his 100G tank a few weekends ago (so heavy....) and we left like 1.5in of water during the move. As for the seeded media, either throw that in the little bit of water or put it in some old tank water during the move.
Quote:
Anyone know exactly what type of mesh is best for this? I bought some plastic loom from a sewing store but the holes look too small. I saw some bird mesh at Lowes but the the holes are probably the size of a dime, which may be too big.
Moss carpet.. you definitely want to use stainless steel mesh. If you use plastic mesh or what not it's gonna float. No weight to it.

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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