Cheap Substrate for a 55 Gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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I'm getting a 55 for christmas, and I'm dirt poot (no pun intended). What are some good cheap substrates? Tank will be setup with ~2.4 wpg, and low maintence. Would prefure a black substrate... TIA


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 05:00 AM
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Call around to the local industrial supply houses and see what they will charge you for a 100 lb bag of coarse sand/fine gravel. I can get it here for $12-$16 a bag. Add a box of laterlite and you are good to go for under $40.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooky125
I'm getting a 55 for christmas, and I'm dirt poot (no pun intended). What are some good cheap substrates? Tank will be setup with ~2.4 wpg, and low maintence. Would prefure a black substrate... TIA
You can pick the color or you can pick the price but you can't pick both. :lol:

If you can find it, texblast sandblasting media is black and not too costly, otherwise you are spending money for Onix sand or Moon sand to get that color. Chick grit is $5 for a 50 pound bag around here at the feed stores and is mostly white and grey flecks. Laterite is a sub-substrate additive which can be cheap or expensive depending where you are.

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 #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Laterite runs about 20-25 $ for a 55 oz box out here.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 07:33 PM
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You ever hear of mail order?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Use it all the time, but with no credit card, paypal account, or checking acount, it makes it REALLY hard to do so.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 10:42 PM
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Cheap substrate

I read an article years ago about a guy that uses Supersoil and silica grit. It seemed a cheap way to go and I tried it for several years. You get really good plant growth, till the plants become rootbound. This takes several years. You place a 2 1/2" layer of damp SuperSoil in the tank and cover with a 1-2 " layer of Silica sandblasting grit. Pour your water into the tank with a plate on the grit. Once the tank is about half full, plant the plants into the grit. Finish by adding just enough grit to cover any soil you may have exposed and finish filling the tank. The water will be tinted pale brown for a while, but will clear. You will get some bubbling as the lower soil layer decays and the soil will become more compacted. I used this system with diy co2 and home made hood. This approach does have drawbacks such as pulling up soil when removing plants and root compaction, but does offer a low cost way of enjoying a planted tank. This also might be a really good way to grow plants to sell. Of course I do not know how well this would work in locations where you have soft tap water. I live in the desert of Ca and my water is liquid minerals.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 11:01 PM
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Just be cautious if you decide to use the sandblasting grit... especially if you intend to keep bottom feeder fish (catfish, loach, etc)
Some people say the grit will shave off the fish' barbels (ouch!)

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 06:36 AM
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pool filter sand!

Cheapest substrate going 50lbs for 9.00. You get it from pool/ spa supply stores. It is large grained pure silica sand that does not need much washing, will not get caught in the water column and does not compact like playsand.
I have also mixed a little tahitian moon sand for a speckled look. But it took a long time to settle. I would next time mix it with seachem onyx sand for some trace supplementation. Here is a pic , I have been pimping it it for awhile since I love so much. Btw loaches LOVE IT, dig in it bury themselves in it etc.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 07:57 PM
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Actually, the least expensive option is PlaySand available at your local home depot. It costs $2.50 per 50lb bag and you would need 2 bags to do a 55 Gallon.

125 Gallon AGA w/ Overflows
Filtration: Ehiem 2026 Filter, Dual "Ghetto" Overflow Internal Filters
Lighting: 1x96W Current USA CF - 2x96W Generic CF
Co2: Pressurized Co2 - Rex Grigg Regulator, SMS 122, and Rex Grigg Reactor.
Plants: Pogostemon yatabeanus, Foxtail, Bacopa, Egeria najas, Anubius, E. 'Ozelot Red', Ranalisma rostrata, Hornwort, Rotala Indica, Ludwigia Repens, Vals, Cabomba, Lilly, MoneyWort
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 12:11 AM
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hey not sure if you want flourite..kinna redish..but bigalsonline.com is pretty cheap...i guess cuz my area dont have lfs that sale those...
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 12:14 AM
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oh forgot i bought 3 bags for almost $50 inlcude shipping. it's 9.99 each bag...i hate the shipping extra charge
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 01:50 AM
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cheap?

yes playsand is cheap but it is not very good imho. It compacts too easy creating toxic anerobic pockets. It also needs loads of washing ,gets stirred up to far to easy to get sucked into your favorite expensive filter and burn out the motor.
My next tank would have seachem onyx blened with pool filter sand.
Regards Botia)


Quote:
Originally Posted by enchanted
Actually, the least expensive option is PlaySand available at your local home depot. It costs $2.50 per 50lb bag and you would need 2 bags to do a 55 Gallon.

Newest Tank
16G Aquastar High Tech
Milwaukee Co2 and PH controller
Co2 Art inline difuser
36 Watts Nicrew Led Mod.
Seachem Onyx sand
Botia Kubotai and dwarf rainbows
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-30-2004, 03:11 PM
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I messed around with a small bag of Pool sand and it was no better. If the Playsand is stirring up and clogging a filter that means it wasn't cleaned well enough. As for compacting, after almost a month I haven't had any problems and I stir it where I can every week when I do a water change.

125 Gallon AGA w/ Overflows
Filtration: Ehiem 2026 Filter, Dual "Ghetto" Overflow Internal Filters
Lighting: 1x96W Current USA CF - 2x96W Generic CF
Co2: Pressurized Co2 - Rex Grigg Regulator, SMS 122, and Rex Grigg Reactor.
Plants: Pogostemon yatabeanus, Foxtail, Bacopa, Egeria najas, Anubius, E. 'Ozelot Red', Ranalisma rostrata, Hornwort, Rotala Indica, Ludwigia Repens, Vals, Cabomba, Lilly, MoneyWort
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-31-2004, 04:17 AM
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I'm wondering if my head is getting flat from pounding it against my monitor. Depending on where you live and where you buy the sand you can get wildly different products. The "play sand" sold at most any BORG type store here in the Portland area is a nasty grey mess with a grain size about that of powdered sugar. Now if I go to Toys R Us I can get "play sand" for a higher price but a much better grain size. But if I really want a good sand I have to go to an industrial supply house and pay around $12-$15 a hundredweight. "Play sand" in one part of the country is different from another part of the country even if it comes in the same bag. That's why I tend to recommend consistent substrates like Flourite, Eco-Complete and the like.
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