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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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need suggestions on substrate!

hi, I recently set up a 180g tank but being a total newb and not knowing I need a specific kind of gravel for a planted tank that I want to have a carpet of HC, I got some regular gravel (big/thick grains, the popular light/dark brown stuff at petsmart), but now I realize I need smaller size substrate to grow any kind of carpet so I am wondering what are my choices here? I have heard using 'Seachem Flourite' is good for growing HC and hair grass, and 'Caribsea Eco-Complete' is another one I have been looking at but I dont like the color of black for substrate! what do you guys think I should use? will seachem flourite do the trick?

and btw can I put these on top of my gravel? I figure since I really only need these to help with growing the HC/Harigrass and the other plants are pretty hardy and doing fine right now I can get away with just putting 2" of one of these on top of my current gravel and than planting the HC/Hairgrass?

any help appreciated
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 05:33 PM
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After a while, the smaller grains will sink to the bottom of the substrate, so the gravel will end up on top no matter what. Pea gravel is a cheap alternative to aquarium gravel (make sure to rinse well like regular gravel). Flourite and Eco-complete are both very good planted substrates.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 05:39 PM
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What's your budget?

The best substrate I've used so far is ADA AquaSoil, but to buy enough for a 180g tank...is well, a feat in itself.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfish View Post
but to buy enough for a 180g tank...is well, a feat in itself.
LOL.

if youre on a tighter budget you could do something like pool filter sand or pavers sand (found at home depot and lowes in 50 - 100 lb bags for less than $10) underneath some flourite. it has no nutrients but plants root to it well. but if you move your plants around you'll end up mixing the sand and flourite
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies, the budget isnt that big of a problem, but I read that ADA Aquasoil lowers ph and hardness of the water!? I really like plants but dont want to go too far as far as trying to grow them where it may become a problem to the fish, I want to keep a balance.

and if you the smaller grain flourite will sink to the bottom of the bigger grain gravel I have in there right now, how should I go about replacing the them? take out 1/3 everyweek and replace it or can I get away with doing half of at a time? btw I have a bunch of fish in the tank already is it necessary to take them out for the gravel change?

thanks
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 08:29 PM
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If $230+ in substrate isn't too big of a problem, then wow.

What fish do you have in your tank right now? I have/had ADA AS in all my tanks and all my fish did fine, but what fish are you stocking?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I have mainly livebeares(swordtails, platies, some mollies), 12 cory cats, 1bushynose pleco, 10 otos, 2dwarf gouramies, and a school of neon tetras (about 20 of them).

I think the lowered ph and hardness will not be too good for the livebeares?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 11:30 PM
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You don't want to add ADA AS to an already established tank with fish. The pH and hardness shift are actually 2ndary concerns; this stuff leeches ammonia like crazy until it's cycled and that alone would kill all your livestock. Every batch seems to be different, but I've read reports of up to 6-8 weeks to cycle the Amazonia II.

I'd go with Fluorite (whatever color you like best, since there are multiple options now) if you want a nutrient-containing substrate that won't affect your water parameters. Most other substrates will (even Eco tends to raise hardness and buffer pH, though this effect is usually temporary). I really like Flourite, it just takes a little prep work at first; make sure you wash it thoroughly, and IME letting it dry afterwards before adding it to the tank also significantly helps reduce cloudiness.

If you want to avoid a mini-cycle in the tank I'd replace the substrate in phases, perhaps as much as 1/3 at a time would probably work.

The difficult part of getting a carpet to grow in a deep tank like a 180gal tank is that they are so deep it's hard to get good lighting. I'm having slow but visible growth in my 90gal (25" deep) with Flourite and T5HO lighting with E. tenellus 'narrow' though (aka dwarf/narrow pygmy chain sword).





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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Flourite it is than , looks like alot of washing and rinsing ahead.

thank you all for the replies
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