Lowest cost substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
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Lowest cost substrate

I am going to be starting a 115G planted tank and can not afford the $23 a bag of flourite I paid for my small tank. I am wondering what some suggestions would be for something less expensive? I would like it to be dark in color.
Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 05:48 AM
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Soilmaster select charcoal. It will probably only take two bags, see here.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...ght=soilmaster
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 06:11 AM
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i haven't tried soilmaster but it looks really good in photos.
i would probably buy 3 bags in your case. i have about 80 lbs of substrate in my tank and its a 75 gallon. you'll probably wont need the whole 3 bags but i think you'll need a little bit more than 100 lbs.

but then again, it all depends on the footprint of your tank and how many inches of substrate you want.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 03:55 PM
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Soilmaster with a thin layer of peat moss and some laterlite. Also some mulm if you have access to it.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 04:18 PM
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My 90 gallon tank took 3/4 bag of soilmaster select to obtain a 3.5" depth.
It runs about $15.00 bag. You can get it at www.lesco.com. I love it and so does my plants!

Marilyn
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 05:20 PM
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You might also look for gray Turface Pro League. It's a similar product to Soilmaster Select, used as a soil amendment for athletic fields.

I get it at a local landscape supply company for $18.50# bag.

—Bill

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Can someone give me a link to the direct page on lesco, it won't pull up on the search on their site.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 11:25 PM
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I am having good experiences with Kitty Litter. I don't recommend it to anyone since it is not made for aquariums, and each bag is supposed to be different, and might turn to mush in seconds and leach totally deadly things into the water... but it works for me. I had it for a couple of years in a tank that I just took down, and it still had the same texture.

I just set up a tank using KL, just some peat underneath. Disadvantages -- it is light, like Profile, so planting isn't as easy as in Flourite. And the color is probably not everyones favorite, kinda cream/gray loamy, but some might find it natural looking, many planted tanks don't show any substrate anyway.

I am planning to redo my 100gal tank soon, and KL will be the substrate of choice, covered with some Flourite for easier planting and better looks.

Again, I am not recommending it, just wanted to mention it since it is a very low cost substrate, at $2.22 or so a 25# bag.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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So I assume the kitty litter method is not recommended? I would be pretty annoyed if I got all that KL in there and then had to pull it all out if it was leaching toxins. I am trying to find sources for the soilmaster select and can't find it on the Lesco website. Are there any soils from local stores like home depot in their garden centers. No one around here carries soilmaster select.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 11:43 PM
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Search for Soilmaster on this website, there are a couple of threads on how to source it.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 03:14 AM
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I'm rather new to planted aquaria Bstuver but after stumbling across AGA Aquascaping Contest Showroom galleries I have noticed many of the contestants were just using plaing gravel and or sand. Just thought I'd chime in being nobody had mentioned this option. I believe you could obtain a silica type sand from a Home Depot type place for very cheap and some of them are quite attractive in the tank. This method may require a bit more research to get such beautiful growth but it is obviously possible considering the pictures.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemonlime View Post
I'm rather new to planted aquaria Bstuver but after stumbling across AGA Aquascaping Contest Showroom galleries I have noticed many of the contestants were just using plaing gravel and or sand. Just thought I'd chime in being nobody had mentioned this option. I believe you could obtain a silica type sand from a Home Depot type place for very cheap and some of them are quite attractive in the tank. This method may require a bit more research to get such beautiful growth but it is obviously possible considering the pictures.
I actually have play sand in the tank right now because it houses cichlids, I would like a darker substrate though. Thank you for mentioning it though.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstuver View Post
Can someone give me a link to the direct page on lesco, it won't pull up on the search on their site.
The site is tough to navigate, you will only get a search result if you type only "soilmaster"

http://www.lesco.com/?PageID=87&Keyw...=059&Form=1255

The best way to get the stuff is if you order it online and pickup at the store. If you call the store they will not order it for you, but if you order online they have no choice.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 08:33 PM
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There's also the 3M stuff. If you like the look of sand, but want it in a black color this is the way to go. Grain size is more consistent versus play sand and also, they're rounded so it's better for fish which are bottom dwellers (e.g. corys or any sort of fish which sift through sand).

Eric


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 08:49 PM
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I just ordered two 50# bags of charcoal soilmaster select from Lesco's website.

I selected to pick up from my local store (9 miles away)

I will report back if there are any problems.

Before when I called the store I was pointed to another store who had it in stock and was told to call them and have it shipped. (about 150-200 miles)
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