Fluorite Black Sand or SMS Charcoal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-25-2008, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Fluorite Black Sand or SMS Charcoal

I've narrowed my substrate choices to Fluorite Black Sand or SMS (Turface now) charcoal. This will be for a 125 gallon tank (72 long, 18 wide, 23 deep).

I know Fluorite contains nutrients will SMS does not. Both have a CEC so they store nutrients. SMS will pull them from the water column. Colorwise, I think both are nice. I am planning a 3-4 inch bottom. I currently have swords, crypts, anubias, limnophila aromatic, rotala and other stems in the tank that this will replace.

With SMS, 3 50 lb bags are needed. It seems a bag (in my area) is $21.00 for a total of $63.00.

With Fluorite, 12 bags are needed. I can get a bag for about $20. This brings the total to $240.00


What are the pro's and con's of each?
Are my estimates on bags needed correct?
Which would you choose and why?

Thanks,

John



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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-25-2008, 05:21 PM
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Dont do either.

SMS is very light and flourite sand is to fine.

Do a mix of regular Flourite Black and grade T black color quartz. I did a 50/50 mix and i love it.

Peace,
Ry

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-25-2008, 08:32 PM
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I'm considering the same substrates. From what I've read a few places, the sms will eventually become water logged and not float as much. Anybody have any experience with this?
Chances are I'll go sms as I'm always broke. Think about what else you can buy with that $180 price difference.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-25-2008, 10:40 PM
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I wouldn't get too hung up on the nutrient aspect. The main differences are price and weight. Certain stem plants are a pain to plant in light substrates, but if the SMS bed is deep enough and your patience big enough it shouldn't be a problem.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-26-2008, 04:36 AM
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I mixed Flourite black, black sand, and Colorquartz all in my 90gal. Personally, I think it worked well and I got the best of both worlds (nutrient content, high CEC, and cost-savings).

I think you have a win/win whatever direction you choose to go, personally.





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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-26-2008, 10:10 AM
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I think you will only need two bags of SMS for a 125g. I used one in a 75g (48" x 18"), it yeilded a 3" deep substrate.

Once the SMS is waterlogged most stems are easy enough to plant. I've also found it helpful to insert at a 45 degree angle. The portion of the stem above the substrate will naturally return to vertical.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-30-2008, 04:54 PM
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yeah your estimate on sms is off by a bag. I used 1.5 bags in my 110 gallon and i have 3-5 inches of substrate. I also bought 3 bags for 27 dollars so maybe shop around for a better price.
as far as it being light I have yet to get anything to not stay down in it.
i however havent tried HC type plants. Smallest i have in it are E. tennelus and some micro sword.
I do have one thing though. When you initially fill your tank the substrate will be real light. Bubbles will form in it and you need to swirl it around to get those bubbles out and it will settle down.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 02:47 PM
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I've planted individual strands of dwarf hairgrass and it is growing very well in turface. No real problems with it uprooting.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2008, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzilla View Post
Dont do either.

[snip] flourite sand is to fine.
Sorry, don't mean to hijack your thread, but... I am because I'm rude. Sorry.

I have spent a week on the great substrate decision. I thought I'd finally made up my mind to cap my mineralized soil with Flourite Black Sand although I don't like the price. But it's too fine?

What the dickens should I use?

I want sand and the color black. Sand for the sand-sifters and black for me. I also intend to keep cories. Also how many inches should I put in with the same dimensions as the tank above? (Worried about the air pockets I keep reading about.)
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-23-2008, 11:42 PM
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You could always cap it with just "regular" Flourite black if you think the black sand is too fine.

I'll be using black T grade ColorQuartz to cap my own mineralized soil.





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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-24-2008, 12:22 AM
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Can I use the CQ with cories? I'd much rather use it since it is so much cheaper if possible. Thanks for responding, Lauraleellbp!
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-24-2008, 12:27 AM
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Personally I've never had issues keeping Cories on any substrate (though I don't think I'd use that Black Beauty stuff; I'd worry it's so sharp it would cause internal organ issues when accidentally swallowed by fish, if nothing else). My Cories have healthy barbels and I've kept them on Flourite and in my 90gal with Flourite and CQ with no issues.





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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-24-2008, 01:08 AM
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I'm going with the CQ, then. That price tag for the FBS is a bit painful right now with Xmas and all the other stuff for the tank.

Thanks so much for your help!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-24-2008, 01:25 AM
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lauraleellbp,

I'm sorry to keep bugging you... I'm pathetically clueless. :/ Should I use the straight CQ or cut it with the FBS? How much should I buy to top the mineralized substrate for a 72 X 18 inch bottom?
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-24-2008, 01:31 AM
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Torpedobarb should be better able to tell you how much CQ/Flourite you'll need, since he just used it to cap mineralized soil in his own 75gal.

It's totally up to you if you want to use one, or the other, or both. CQ is basically black gravel- it has no nutrient content at all, but it holds shape really well and is very easy to plant in. Flourite does have some nutrient content and is very good at holding nutrients for the plants, but is of course more expensive than the CQ... so it's up to you.





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