Any thoughts on red fluorite substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on red fluorite substrate

I was thinking about doing a close to 50/50 mix of red fluorite/black sand in my 75 gallon for around 100lbs total. Anyone have any experience with it, also if anyone has ever done a mixture of fluorite and sand if be interested to hear what kind of results you had with your plants.


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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seadon View Post
I was thinking about doing a close to 50/50 mix of red fluorite/black sand in my 75 gallon for around 100lbs total. Anyone have any experience with it, also if anyone has ever done a mixture of fluorite and sand if be interested to hear what kind of results you had with your plants.


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I use 2/3 Red fluorite with 1/3 fluorite black sand in my 29. 45lbs total. I also use osmocote plus tabs and Flourish tabs in the substrate which I will replace every 6 months. Besides the initial rinsing and water cloudiness you get with fluorite, my experience has been positive. I am a fan and the fact that fluorite is a gravel, it doesn't deteriorate like some substrates.

I throw away frogbit twice a week.

My cabomba needs to be cut twice a week the growth is that much.

My background stems grow 3+ inches a week (rotala indica, Narrow ludwigia, broad ludwigia).

Blyxa Japonica is growing well, and so is my downoi and dwarf baby tears.


I dose ei and I have extremely high lights while borderline killing my tank inhabitants with co2.

After weekly trimming:



Before weekly trimming:


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 10:18 PM
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Don't know the mechanics of it but I have read on here a few times that any
large grains mixed in/w smaller ones will eventually "work their way up to the top
of the sub".
I have a question which specifically pertains to your question.
In the case of root tabs it would be different of course.
But in a tank without root tabs, if a so called "Plant substrate" is under a cap of
inert sand etc...then how are nutrients to come in contact/w it ?
If the nutrients don't come in contact/w it, then how can it absorb and discharge nutrients into the water ? I have had this question for some time now as I can't
see any value in putting a plant substrate under a cap if CEC is it's only use.
If the plant substrate is like mineralized soil, yes, then the plant roots get nutrients from it. But if it is like ECo-Complete or Flourite, then what purpose does it serve under the top cap since it can't get nutrients through it ?
This is very much a question and not a criticizm but I thought you might like to
know the answer to it also.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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If like you say the larger grained substances will gradually work their way to the top through the cap then I would think the bottom, nutrient rich substrate, would take on a sort of slow time released trait. Also I would think this phenomena would help against sand compaction. As for the plants getting contact initially, I like to, before putting in any plants, mix the gravel on the bottom up into the sand, so it is showing through in a few small areas, and then when I do plant if not planting in one of these mini rock gardens, I make sure to loosen up the substrate down to the bottom in order to make it easier for root growth, and to get some penetration to the nutrients below. Not sure if any of this has any technical real emcee, but just my personal methods.


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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 12:18 AM
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I bought Fluorite under the assumption that it had useful minerals for pants. It does not. So next time I'm going with some generic gravel or sand from the garden store and some Aquasoil type substrate.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
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I bought Fluorite under the assumption that it had useful minerals for pants. It does not. So next time I'm going with some generic gravel or sand from the garden store and some Aquasoil type substrate.

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Fluorite absorbs and holds nutrients (decent CEC). That doesn't mean it has all the nutrients needed to begin with. Fluorite will absorb nutrients from your water column and store it up to it's capacity which makes it great for plants and longevity since it replenishes itself. Generic gravel and sand doesn't have as much CEC as fluorite so lumping them together isn't really fair.

Natural clay kitty litter, ADA Aquasoil, and regular potting soil (if it has a high amount of clay) all are exponentially better with CEC than fluorite though. Perhaps a fine clay layer with a fine sand cap may serve your purpose better.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 12:34 AM
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I started with red, wanted it darker, mixed some black in, all Flourite. I didn't get the look I wanted but it did well. Here is my 29 gallon:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...&postcount=130

Full journal here but it's fairly slow as it was my first tank:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=75523


Overall, I felt it worked well. Like many people say, it doesn't contain many nutrients, I have been told just some iron but the idea of it is it's CEC. I likely won't use this again, outside of reuse of the some old stuff I have (Black only) as I find Aqua Soil to be just slightly more expensive but I like the look better, plus it has nutrients.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 12:40 AM
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To me it looks like a cross between red bark and aquarium gravel, but in chip form. That's why I've avoided it. I really hate the look and texture of it.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Excuse my newbie status here but can someone clarify CEC lol


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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seadon View Post
Excuse my newbie status here but can someone clarify CEC lol


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Someone can likely explain better but it's the ability of something, in this case the substrate pieces to store things like nutrients. So, even though it's not nutrient packed, if they exist in the tank, the substrate absorbs them for later use.

Actually, a lot of people use stuff similar to Flourite for Bonsai. Reason being, though it doesn't have as much nutrients as soil, if you fertilize, it will become more nutrient rich than most other things. When you are growing a plant out, many want the ability to have bare roots, not soil on them so they use something with a high CEC instead and the roots won't stick to it as much.

-Matt

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 03:41 AM
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Flourite red served me really well for over 10 years and I just re- did one of my tanks with it again. I like the looks and I like its stability and I know it will not fall apart in 3 years.

Basically, we are lucky to have so many choices for substrate: each has it's own pluses and minuses.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 03:45 AM
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I use this in my 46 gallon bow front. All my plants do good with it, although I do dose ferts. Am thinking of adding some of the flourite black in the near future.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Flourite red served me really well for over 10 years and I just re- did one of my tanks with it again. I like the looks and I like its stability and I know it will not fall apart in 3 years.

Basically, we are lucky to have so many choices for substrate: each has it's own pluses and minuses.

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Some of the black I have is likely 5+ years old and I have no problems reusing it, just give it a good rinse and maybe a bleach if is really bad, still works well. I honestly haven't felt that Aqua Soil has been a hugely good thing either, though I do like the look.

My main reason for straying away from Flourite is scratches. The regular black, red, whatever color is fine but the sand can be easy to cause scratches with.

-Matt

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
Someone can likely explain better but it's the ability of something, in this case the substrate pieces to store things like nutrients. So, even though it's not nutrient packed, if they exist in the tank, the substrate absorbs them for later use.

Actually, a lot of people use stuff similar to Flourite for Bonsai. Reason being, though it doesn't have as much nutrients as soil, if you fertilize, it will become more nutrient rich than most other things. When you are growing a plant out, many want the ability to have bare roots, not soil on them so they use something with a high CEC instead and the roots won't stick to it as much.

Thanks I figured as much, it would be great if someone knew what the acronym stood for though


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 04:34 AM
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Thanks I figured as much, it would be great if someone knew what the acronym stood for though


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Cation-exchange capacity = CEC
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