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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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schultz aquatic soil

I will be setting up our new 50 gallon long this week and am trying to figure out substrate issues.
I can not get flourite, soilmaster or any of those locally and I really dont want to have to pay to ship that much weight.

Im thinking of doing a bottom layer of the shultz aquatic soil from home depot with a top layer of Black tahition moon sand in areas and the majority of the top layer with small smooth river pebbles.

What is your experience with the shultz soil?
it is very lightweight?

Im thinking the top layer of sand or gravel will be necessary because Cories are likely to churn up the soil without it and turn the water nasty.

how deep should the layer of soil be for the tank, it is 48" long and 13 deep
Also does anyone know if it will affect PH at all, i am thinking i will likely need to add peat along with driftwood in order to get the proper water conditions for a south american tank?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:34 AM
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well I do know that the aquasoil, has NO benefits, no nutrents, it looks ok, YES it is very light, barley holds down a stem plant, you would have to use another sub on top of it, ir mixed with it , You can go to bigals.com and usually they sell some of the eco-complete pretty cheap, I got mine on clearance and it was actually 10.00 less than driving 3 miles to my lfs. ! but I am not sure if its still on sale, you can also try that fish store that pet place .com, lol,., they have wonderful speacials and deals all the time !!

the aquasoil does NOT affect your ph as far as I know, it may lower it and I have NO proof of that , .. but the sand sounds neat, I wish I had some of that ! I am actually about to set up a 90 , and I want a riverbed in the middle, I am thinking pool filter sand, but I may go crazy and get some purple sand if I find its ok to use...!! LOL,

OK, as far as in deep, I will say about 2 in , nomatter what size tank,. now if you decide on the aquasoil, you may wanna go ahead and do almost 3, because it doesent take much !! I would say one bag should be enough for your 50- , I know sounds crazy but you will see !! but add somthing like the pea gravel to make it heavier, the corys will love the sand, try and make a all sand corner, you can research how people do that , just do a search in the forums!! good luck !! and rember post everything you do and pics!! we like to watch !! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~starla
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:36 AM
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OO, dont worry about the water being nasty' with corys, as long as you do gravel cleans with your water changes you should be fine . and with the right filter nothiing should stay clody too long ..lol, just my 2 cents hth ~~
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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my cories keep the tank super clean right now and they love to bury their heads i the sand and burrow around.
If the aquasoil has no benefits at all i might go with a layer of peat or pure potting soil (without any extras like ferts) with layer of river pebbles and sand in some areas.

I've also heard of using laterite only around the roots of plants that might be an easy option or even just going with mainly sand and adding root tabs.
Im planning on trying to do a river type tank though so sand might get moved around to much if it is the main substrate.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:50 AM
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Schultz can and usually does strip your water of KH and can lower the PH for a time, to forever.

This is beneficial and is a good thing IMO.

I have never used any top layer on it.
It can be difficult to plant in and it traps air in it for a few weeks. When you put it in and put some water in the tank before planting you can stir it up to release most of the trapped air. This is proof that it has high CEC and good flow thru the substrate.

It is a good substrate IMO for the price. For fine stem ground cover type plants like HC and hairgrass, you should plant right in the moon sand so they will stay down and grow, they prefer it. for heavy planted areas, especially where you plant heavy root feeders, good Idea to put some root tabs.

I also have always used a thin layer of Peat moss and laterite under it.
This can lower your PH and soften a bit further, but nothing to worry about IMHO and IME.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:05 AM
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IME, Schultz Aquatic Soil grows plants as well as fluorite but for the fraction of the cost. It does not mess with water parameters at all. I set up a 10 gallon tank using SAS(80%, 10% fluorite,and 10% seeded planted gravel from an established tank) as the substrate and monitored PH, KH, GH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. These remained pretty consistent over a period of 6 months. The only thing that I would recommend if you use SAS is to combine 75% SAS with 1 mm grain size pool filter sand or gravel to give it some weight so that your cryptocornes, and fine stem plants remain anchored and rooted.

Last edited by Homer_Simpson; 04-24-2008 at 12:55 AM.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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ok then sounds good!
I actually want fairly soft water and low ph since i am thinking amazon river type river tank...we will see if that is how it ends up LOL

I am thinking I will mix it with sand and then add the river pebbles in the places that I want them and make that mostly non planted areas.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 05:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goalcreas View Post
Schultz can and usually does strip your water of KH and can lower the PH for a time, to forever.

This is beneficial and is a good thing IMO.

I have never used any top layer on it.
It can be difficult to plant in and it traps air in it for a few weeks. When you put it in and put some water in the tank before planting you can stir it up to release most of the trapped air. This is proof that it has high CEC and good flow thru the substrate.

It is a good substrate IMO for the price. For fine stem ground cover type plants like HC and hairgrass, you should plant right in the moon sand so they will stay down and grow, they prefer it. for heavy planted areas, especially where you plant heavy root feeders, good Idea to put some root tabs.

I also have always used a thin layer of Peat moss and laterite under it.
This can lower your PH and soften a bit further, but nothing to worry about IMHO and IME.

i had yes had 95% shultz aquasoil from home depot in a 29g tank. my ph stayed a 6.3 and was very very hard. was never like this before the aquasoil. it does def lower ph and make your water hard as hell. it was not doing good for my plants so i had to get rid of it! no matter how many water changes i did the ph went from 6.8 after water change then strait to 6.3 after a few days. not good as only substrate for sure, maybe 20% aquasoil but thats it
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:21 PM
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Ok there's some seriously contradictory info in this thread!!! LOL

I've never used Schultz Aquatic Soil to date, so I've got nothing to compare against; but so far there are reports that it will lower pH and hardness, lower pH but RAISE hardness (???), and that it's totally inert in respect to water parameters...

Any more input on this?

I would think the stuff should be inert, since my understanding is it's supposed to be just DIRT with no organics?

Justbeginning- I'd be careful with potting soil- that stuff can turn the tank into a mudsludge, plus it's hard to be sure about organic content; I'd use the Schultz before that?





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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:32 PM
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Tried Schultz for a couple of years in two of my tanks. I had major algae outbreaks and varied plant growth. Changed the two tanks back to Flourite this past year and they are doing much much better. I'd avoid it. Get a good quality substrate you won't regret it.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:39 PM
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I stumbled across this http://www.aquascapingworld.com/maga...ubstrates.html the other day; it's kind of labor intensive but seems like something I'd like to try sometime. Essentially it's a method that minimizes (or completely eliminates) water column dosing by using a home-made, mineralized 'super-substrate.' I think it might fit in with what you're trying to accomplish and the resources available, and give you (and your son) a pretty fun weekend project...the results seem impressive.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:50 PM
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I agree with lauralee, the confusion that is often found on this forum is annoying. I trust the results of HomerSimpson, as it matches everything else that I've read from other more knowledgeable people who have used the product. I have read somewhat consistently that the kH can be affected for a few weeks, but later returns to normal.

About using the potting soil. I would recommend instead river silt. It is natural (from the river, right?) and with a little prep, is in my eyes, the ideal substrate additive. I won't use anything other than a river silt mixed substrate from now on. The difference it makes in the plants is unbelievable.

Here's how you do it:
-Soak sediment is a shallow pan for a while(3 weeks) with an inch of water over it.
-Mix and screen well, then let settle for a day.
-Allow to dry out good to a nice paste.
-Then add with 3:1 Sand: soil.
-Add 1" of this, then cap with 3" of sand.

This is a quote from Tom Barr from www.barrreport.com

I highly recommend that website for info you can count on.


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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdTheEdge View Post
Tried Schultz for a couple of years in two of my tanks. I had major algae outbreaks and varied plant growth. Changed the two tanks back to Flourite this past year and they are doing much much better. I'd avoid it. Get a good quality substrate you won't regret it.
Algae outbreaks are not a result of inert substrates. Thinking this is simply not correct. If you are growing plants in an inert substrate, common sense tells you that water column fertilization is necessary to some degree. Also, if you are providing high light to the tank, let's say, in excess of 2.5 wpg or so, Co2 is also going to be critical. Less than 2.5 wpg I'd recommend using Seachem Excel for smaller tanks. With balanced parameters, algae outbreaks will not occur. Plain and simple.

I've two tanks with inert substrates. One has just sand, the other has a river silt and sand mix. Neither tank has had an "algae outbreak" while the tanks were maintained properly. I had a green water outbreak in the sand only tank while I was away on business once, and had a growth of cladophora in the river silt/sand tank while away on business another time. The green water was caused from ammonia because the tank was underfiltered and somewhat new, and the clado came from low CO2 levels. After remedying both those situations, the tanks are algae free.

Will a fertilized substrate (doesn't fluorite only contain iron and traces anyway? Otherwise it is just a high CEC inert substrate just like Shultz) provide you with some amount of screw-up room? Perhaps. But if you learn to keep the tank properly, no problems will occur.

Best of luck to you


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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 03:09 PM
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Algae outbreaks are not a result of inert substrates. Thinking this is simply not correct. If you are growing plants in an inert substrate, common sense tells you that water column fertilization is necessary to some degree. Also, if you are providing high light to the tank, let's say, in excess of 2.5 wpg or so, Co2 is also going to be critical.
OK so everything is the same in these two tanks EXCEPT for the substrate change. After changing the substrate I am no longer having problems with algae or poor plant growth. The only difference is that I changed from Schultz to 100% Flourite. I have always added ferts and root tabs to both the Schultz and Flourite. SO I am quite sure it was not a nutrient problem.

I stand by my asserton that the change from Schultz to Flourite was a definite improvement.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 03:18 PM
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I personally chose Fluorite over Schultz for the nutrient content as well- but I think your algae reasoning is faulty- the fact that Fluorite DOES contain nutrients obviously gave your plants the edge over algae. I think you're looking at the wrong cause; Schultz didn't cause your algae, lack of nutrients did, and the Fluorite corrected that problem.

Schultz may still be a more budget-friendly choice, however.





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