What substrate would you suggest? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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What substrate would you suggest?

I'm starting a 115 gal planted tank (72" long, 18 1/2" wide, and 23" deep) and the only experience I've had is with a 10 gal. I've figured most of it out-
Lighting (mid light)
pressurized Co2
Filtration
and now I need to figure out substrate.

I'm running in the budget of about $50 bucks and don't want to have something thats going to try and float away as I pull my plants up. I already have a 20 gallon container filled to the brim with aquarium rocks (about pea size) and a couple of 1 liter bags of laterite.

So what do you think would be my best bet for supplying my plants with a fertile substrate?

This scale is fairly new to me so any help would be great.


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 08:02 AM
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if you can find it, soilmaster select charcoal. i hear its discontinued so that might be hard to find. i think you should still be able to find regular soilmaster (not charcoal). i hear ppl have good results with that. its alot of substrate for your money.

there are plenty other great substrates out there but if you're looking to go inexpensive, sms is your best bet.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 08:10 AM
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Too bad you arnt closer. I have a large box of Charcoal SMS you could have. Prolly not enough for a 125 though. MIGHT fill a 40 breeder.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 01:58 PM
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I'll second those.

For cheap substrate, SMS is hard to beat. It's really dirty and needs to be cleaned very well, and it's also pretty light weight so you might consider "capping" it. Capping is simply putting something over the top of it to hold down the dust when planting and to give some weight to hold down the plants.

Sounds like that bucket full might just be what you need if you go this route.

Thanks,
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 02:25 PM
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For my tank I used fine pea gravel from Lowes. It looks great and the individual rocks are pretty small. Just be sure to put something under it for nutrients. You could also use silica sand.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 07:35 PM
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I've been using SMS for the past several months in my 55 gallon and it has worked great. While everyone has differenting opinions on the dust issue, I didn't find it was all that bad.

I only rinised the SMS once, prior to putting in my tank. I just filled up an old HOB filter with filterfloss and within two days the water became clear. I then added my fish and plants and currently use a XP3 for filtration.

Anytime I clean the tank or move around the plants, there is some dust, but it clears up in less than an hour or two.

I should note that I am kind of bored with the SMS look and have decided to switch over to pool filter sand. I bought some at Home Deport the other day for $5 for a 50lb bag.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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So SMS is a nutrient rich soil that will do the trick huh? Does any one know where I can get some (home depot, lowes, local garden supply store, online, etc...). As for my few bags of laterite, should I just mix it in with the SMS?


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 12:37 AM
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SMS isn't actually nutrient rich. It's basically just cheap, has a good size to grow plants in, and it relatively easy to work with. You would still need to provide the plants with nutrients (N, P, K, trace, etc). The problem is that it has become very hard to find, because it has been discontinued (I believe).

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 12:39 AM
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You can search for it in your area here
http://www.lesco.com/Default.aspx

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I sent an email to both my Lesco local dealers in hopes for some information about the SMS. As for adding the nutrients would the laterite be fine or should I buy some of these- http://www.adgshop.com/Substrate_Additives_s/30.htm


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 01:17 AM
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SMS is no longer being manufactured. There may be some supply left, though.

The company that used to manufacture SMS told me (I sent them an email because I was having a hard time locating any SMS) that Turface is a comparable product and is also being distributed by Lesco. If you can't find SMS, ask Lesco about Turface.

Other issue people have been running into is that Lesco is being bought out by John Deere and this is making getting supply info very difficult...

Good luck!



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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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I've been searching around a bit and am coming up with nothing in regards to SMS and I haven't found any local Turface ether. But as I was further researching the forum I stubbed a cross Schultz Aquatic Plant soil. I called my local Ace Hardware and they will be caring it in about 2 weeks (for the spring season).
What I want to know is, has anyone had good luck with this stuff?


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 03:10 AM
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I have the Schultz in my 50, as it came with the tank when I bought it. It has worked fine for me as a substrate, with good co2 and fertilizing. It is a bit light at first and some people don't care for the color. It's just a matter of preference. You can click on the 50g link in my sig to see what it looks like in a tank. HTH

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 12:12 PM
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I tested Schultz Aquatic Soil in a 10 gallon and 40 gallon tank, IME, it grew plants as well as Fluorite. As mpodolan stated, it is very light and the color leaves much to be desired. I found that some fine rooting stem plants like ludwiga, bacopa, rotala did not stay too well anchored and seem to dislodge and float to the top. If you decide to go with it, you can always weigh it down with the pea size aquarium gravel you have. That should help keep all plants well anchored.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Then that is what I'll do. Schultz soil toped with gravel, thanks yall.


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