Where could I get a good aquarium sand or clay substrate for under $15? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Where could I get a good aquarium sand or clay substrate for under $15?

I was wondering where I could get a nice substrate in America for my planted tank for under 15 bucks. Petco, Petsmart or something? Will it alter the pH and/or stres the fish?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 11:42 PM
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pool filter sand available at at any pool and spa place runs from $6 to $9 for a 50# bag.
I use it in several tanks and it works great

Petsmart sells Flourite too for about #20 for a 15#
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 11:48 PM
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Depending on the size of your tank, Schultz Aquatic Soil from Home Depot or Lowe's or Pool Filter Sand(minimum 1mm grain size), or Soil Master Select(if you can still find it) is about as cheap as you are going to get for a decent substrate. Some members have had good success with regular 1-3 mm size aquarium gravel. In all cases, these substrates are inert which means you really have to be on top of your ferts and c02 if you plan to use them in a high tech, high light setup. Personally if I was going to use any one of these, I would only use them in a low light, low tech, setup with mainly low light plants where you have more wiggle room to screw up on water column fertilizing, especially if you keep a fully stocked tank with well fed fish and minimal water changes. The balance would just be easier to achieve and keep and these cheap substrates should be sufficient in such a setup. I am not saying you couldn't setup a high tech tank using them. I am just saying that you have to be on top of things if you do, otherwise you will be haunted by algae to no end.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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That's perfect for my tank. My tank is low light and low-tech. The only good substrate I found at Petsmart is Tahitan moon sand, which comes in a very big bag for $25 a bag. I couldn't find flourite there. By the way, is there anything that won't alter my pH?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Vladdy View Post
That's perfect for my tank. My tank is low light and low-tech. The only good substrate I found at Petsmart is Tahitan moon sand, which comes in a very big bag for $25 a bag. I couldn't find flourite there. By the way, is there anything that won't alter my pH?
FWIW, I paid about the same for TMS and paid about $7.00 for the same size bag of Schultz Aquatic Soil. However, I did find that plants rooted better and anchored down better in the TMS than the SAS. However, I found no difference in plant growth between pool filter sand and TMS. The pool filter sand though was a fraction of the cost of the TMS. TMS does look better because of its black color and that is why most people buy it. If you are only after decent plant growth, the pool filter sand will work as well, at least IME.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. What about the pH?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:30 AM
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Thanks. What about the pH?
I setup a tank with 80% Schultz Aquatic Soil and noticed no change in PH over a period of 6 months to present. However, I was injecting the tank with DIY c02 and don't know if things would have been different PH wise if I was not injecting c02. KH and GH also remained pretty constant. It is said that TMS is supposed to raise PH, but Pool Filter Sand is not. To be honest, I did not test the PH over time with TMS, Pool Filter Sand, and Seachem Onyx Sand. I have had a lot of success with Seachem Onyx Sand and Pool Filter Sand, even on smaller tanks and Seachem Onyx Sand like TMS is said to buffer the PH to a higher level. As far as PH goes, none of my fish have suffered. It is not so much high PH that will kill your fish, but inconsistent PH and rapid PH swings over a short period of time. Most plants are also tolerant of a range of PH as long as it is reasonable. If you don't mind the hassle, although I don't do it on most of my low light tanks(I use Seachem Excel for carbon instead), there is nothing wrong with injecting c02 into a low tech tank and the c02 injection will naturally keep the PH levels slighter lower and also benefit the plants.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:37 AM
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FWIW Colorquartz is pretty comparable to TMS in color and size, is inert, and around $25 for a 50lb bag. You can go to www.3M.com and find a local pool supply company that carries it.





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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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If I quarantine my fish for a few hours while I change my substrate, then they may die of stress when I put them back. Neon tetras like a nuetral to slightly low pH. By the way, rate my tank by clicking on my icon : )
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 12:48 AM
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You'll likely need to move your fish for more than just a few hours if you're planning a complete substrate change- this could trigger a mini-cycle in your tank.

Also, most neon tetras in the hobby are captive-bred and so aren't as sensitive to water parameters as wild-caught fish tend to be. As long as your water parameters aren't extreme and your plans don't involve spawning the fish they're probably fine in your water as-is.





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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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What substrate do you think will look good in my tank? To see my tank, click on the link below https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my...66-Vladdy.html
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 05:19 AM
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What are your goals for this tank? Do you want it to look pretty much like it does now, just with a different substrate?





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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 06:03 AM
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play sand works good too... $ 5 dollars per 50lb at OSH. looks natural too.

do you have substrate in the tank already?

i have added sand with fish IN the tank because of the lack of a better place to put them. just put the sand in a bucket, take it to the tub till it rinses clear, (and so it wont cloud the hell out of your water) then dump it into the tank *slowly...* take the water line down to about halfway while youre doing this. otherwise water will be everywhere.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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I already have substrate in the tank. I want it to look pretty much the way it does now,but with a different substrate. I'm worried it will change the pH and stress my fish. Neon tetras like a lower pH.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 03:52 PM
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i though youre not suposed to use sand as i compacts easy and creates air pockets???
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