Substrates that you would NOT use. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old 10-26-2003, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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I'd like to get a cross section of views from people about what substrates they would not use, and most importantly why. For example our club held a workshop recently and the gentleman proposed that a peat underlayer would be good. I know others have said that this is not advisable, it causes an acidified substrate, while others find it works for them by providing humics to the water column.

Substrates (or amendments) to discuss could include soil, clay, laterite, and any "commercial" product you have a desire to discuss.

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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This was my first Thread here at PT. Thought I'd bring it up again. Just to see if I get any responses this time.

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 01:42 PM
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I would not use dirt or soil. I have used peat/kitty litter under 1-2mm gravel in a low tech 10 gal tank that grows plants remarkably well when compared to the other 10gal tanks I have with just gravel or onyx sand.

I don't think I would use peat in a co2 injected hi-tech tank for fear of too much organic matter in the substrate and creating potential algae issues with the higher light outputs.
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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 01:56 PM
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I would not use soil myself, mostly cause I don't remeber how and I missed a certain article on Soil Substrates.
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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 04:08 PM
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I would not use soil, because I am not confident about the long term stability of it. (Big bubbles of foul-smelling gas cross my mind... eeww).

I would not use fine playsand, because it's messy and needs a lot of attention to keep the pristine "beach look". Poop just stays on top of it, and with a biofilm the nice white sand turns into some gray stuff.

I think which exact substrate you use is less important than light and nutrition for plants. Just my opinion though... other ppl have other opinions


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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 04:15 PM
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Would not use soil myself; too messy and similar to the reason that WP stated.

After switching to first playsand and then pool filter sand (both with peat in the lower layer), I don't think I'll ever pay for specialized stuff such as eco, fluorite, etc. Get similar results using root tabs and water column nutrients instead.

Eric


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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 05:43 PM
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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 08:25 PM
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Steer Manure Blend from Home Depot. But I have used it growing orchids just fine


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post #9 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 09:56 PM
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A serious question deserves a serious answer... why not leave the BS out?


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post #10 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 10:14 PM
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I've never considered using soil so I guess that puts it on top of my list automatically.

From experience I wouldn't use regular aquarium gravel (6-10mm grains) ever again as it's too hard to get fine stemed plants to anchor in it. I use it in my 40g tank and I have a hard time keeping HC rooted in it...new growth tends to hover above the gravel.

óBill

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post #11 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-12-2005, 11:18 PM
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playsand or simlilarly fine grained sands, especially over peat. no flow through substrate + high organics = really really yucky substrate, especially if you don't churn the top layer regularly. I ended up with a room that smelled like rotten eggs from this combination. if going with playsand, throw quite a bit of larger gravel in there to let oxygen into the mix... otherwise you're dealing with a time bomb. also, play sand + BGA = REALLY hard to deal with. whole pieces of BGA with big chunks of sand vacuum out clumped together like another interesting substrate choice: kitty litter. i've never used kitty litter, but have read so many horror stories that I stayed away from that path... for now. Also would like to give a less than satisfactory review for profile/turface/etc. while it does have a higher CEC than pretty much anything else used in aquariums, it is very very light, and allows even the least destructive fish too many opportunities for rescaping the tank themselves. currently using flourite in a 29 and black t-grade colorquartz in a 20H with no complaints about either... obviously each has benefits and drawbacks, but plants are doing well in both, and both are relatively mess free.

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post #12 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
A serious question deserves a serious answer... why not leave the BS out?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me something to laugh about today.

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post #13 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-13-2005, 02:24 AM
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Riding my bike out a country road I came across a sign: "Free horse manure"
I thought to myself, "How about that? Someone does give a s**t"

I hate light weight substrates.

I have little issue with soil, it can be messy, but don't add so much. Pre soaking it for 2-3 weeks to remove the NH4 or boiling it for 10 minutes will remove the algae causing NH4, or you can also use carbon/zeolite for the first 20-30 days of set up.

Peat works great, acidification of the substrate is part of the point, adding some source of carbon for the bacteria is another(new tanks do not have any carbon for the bacteria, they do not live on NH4 alone, they need other sources of electron donors, just like us, they need their carbs.

Decomposer bacteria in aerobic conditions respire CO2.
That CO2 must come from somewhere.
This carbon source is not the same as CO2 gas added for the plants, this an organic source of carbon, mulm, peat, leonardite, soil, manure etc.

You need not add a lot, just enough to get the tank started before your plants/fish waste start adding a steady supply.

Most substrates work pretty well IME.

I think heating cables and root tabs are the things I'd never use again.

Regards,
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post #14 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Ok other than soil substrates. LOL Someday you guys will all advance to the point where you can make a soil substrate that isn't messy, grows plants, and lasts for 10+ years without adding anything to it. Until then, what are you guys willing to struggle along with?

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #15 of 71 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCMurphy
Ok other than soil substrates. LOL Someday you guys will all advance to the point where you can make a soil substrate that isn't messy, grows plants, and lasts for 10+ years without adding anything to it. Until then, what are you guys willing to struggle along with?
Some of us have been waiting for a good year now to advance, but alas there are no good articles to be found....*sigh* A wink's as good as a nudge to a blind bat, eh? , eh? , nudge nudge, wink wink , know what i mean? , eh?

I've heard of many people having troubles with Eco-Complete changing water hardness and then others say no problems at all. Nonetheless, it makes me wary of it.

I really like Profile as a cheap alternative to Flourite, which is why it pains me that it is so frustratingly light and ugly. Once plants are rooted it does fine though.
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