Have I screwed up my substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Have I screwed up my substrate?

OK, I am a rank beginner, but I am at the end of my cycling process on a 55 gallon tank and am about to put the plants in. I am using the full set of ADA substrate.

However, I think I screwed up, I'm just not sure how badly. When putting my hardscape in I ended up moving it around quite a bit, and a fair amount of the mid-granularity substrate is now on the surface. I know that the fine-granularity substrate is supposed to completely cover the surface, especially if you want to grow something like hemianthus, which I do.

How much harder will some of the coarser, mid-level substrate (can't remember the name right now) on the surface make it to grow hc?

And, what are some remedial actions I could take? Would adding in another few cm of the fine substrate be an option? Would that release too much ammonia into a tank that has finally cycled?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 05:49 AM
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You are fine.
I think you are referring to ADA's PowerSand: whitish porous 'pebbles'. You can try to push them back to the bottom. Over time, they will end up on top of your substrate anyways. I have one tank with it also and it is a pain...

I would go and plant as soon as you can. I would also start fertilizing.

Do check that your cycle is over before adding fish.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply. The Power Sand is the most coarse layer. That's on the way bottom. There is then an intermediate layer, followed by a fine layer. It's the intermediate layer that is peeking through.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 06:19 AM
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Ok, the fine layer is called 'sand' in US. You have nothing to worry about
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2013, 01:11 AM
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I you want to add more of the finest grade of ADA substrate, a little bit should not be much of a problem, but if you need to add a lot then that will release enough ammonia to be a problem. You could hold off getting any livestock until the ammonia and nitrite test zero, or you could cycle the new substrate in a separate container, then gently scoop it into the tank when it is ready.

If you basically still have most of the small material where you want it, and just a little of the too-big pieces are scattered here and there, this might work: Use the various rakes and scrapers and scrape the larger particles away from the front of the tank. Larger plants have no problems with these larger particle sizes, it is just the low, small plants that want the finer substrate.
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