New To Planted Tank - Substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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New To Planted Tank - Substrate

Hey Guys,

I have kept Cichlids tanks for year and now I have an extra 75g sitting around that I want to take a shot at in creating a planted tank. Nothing crazy, just simple.

Its 48x18 and I have twin 6700 bulbs on it for 130watts.

Lots of filtration and heaters for it as well.

The thing that is driving me crazy is the substrate. The plant ones are insanely pricey. I have always used Pool Filter Sand which I assume isn't good for this. What does everyone suggest for a simple planted tank that won't be using CO2?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 02:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marmot74 View Post
Hey Guys,

I have kept Cichlids tanks for year and now I have an extra 75g sitting around that I want to take a shot at in creating a planted tank. Nothing crazy, just simple.

Its 48x18 and I have twin 6700 bulbs on it for 130watts.

Lots of filtration and heaters for it as well.

The thing that is driving me crazy is the substrate. The plant ones are insanely pricey. I have always used Pool Filter Sand which I assume isn't good for this. What does everyone suggest for a simple planted tank that won't be using CO2?
I have grown plants in pool filter sand without problems. I know a lot of people in my city that have absolutely beautiful planted tanks that have been up for some time and they are using nothing more than pool filter sand.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 02:41 AM
 
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yeah, as long as you arent using plants that are super demanding they should grow alright in almost anything... just not spectacularly...
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 03:32 AM
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yeah, as long as you arent using plants that are super demanding they should grow alright in almost anything... just not spectacularly...
Pool filter sand is fine. The only thing that may be unhappy is heavy root feaders like crypts and some swords. You can add root tabs under these plants if you want to try them. Also look at a product called Turface. It available a john deere stores its about 16 bucks for a 50lb bag.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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What about mixing pool filter sand with one of the better plant substrates? Would that work as well?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 05:15 AM
 
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the thing is, those plant substrates dont really do much in the long run... at least not from what ive read around here, not by themselves at least... as long as the plants your growing arent to extremely sensitive, pool sand with some of those root tabs waterdog was talking about should be fine if you want to keep things simple and low tech... but if I where you, id wait to have some more experienced users than myself weigh in on this some more,lol...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 05:37 AM
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... The thing that is driving me crazy is the substrate. The plant ones are insanely pricey. I have always used Pool Filter Sand which I assume isn't good for this. What does everyone suggest for a simple planted tank that won't be using CO2?
You may want to try a mineralized substrate that uses cheap topsoil and then capped with sand, gravel, etc. There are quite a few doing this now and it is rather cheap. Here is the thread and it's a long one.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...s-updated.html

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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the thing is, those plant substrates dont really do much in the long run...
Actually, that is not entirely correct. People have grown plants entirely in inert substances like pool filter sand including vals, swords, and crypts and I have witnessed this first hand in tanks that I have seen. I also have a cryptocorne in my 5 gallon tank with pool filter sand that is still doing well and growing after 8 months. Plants have to ability to absorb nutrients through the leaf or roots. If the sediment does not have nutrients, they will literally abosorb what they need out of the water column, so as long as you dose the water column with ferts(with high tech, Estimative Index will do the trick), you can still grow plants in inert substances like pool filter sand or 3m Quartz T Grade over the long run without issues. In fact one advantage over such substrates is that they do not mess with you water parameters, so you don't have that initial instability of water parameters that you have to get through and that could cause issues(melting of leaves, fish/shrimp deaths, etc.,). Also keep in mind that substrates like Eco-Complete and Fluorite have nutrients "locked" into the substrate so chances are that unless you go low tech with a good fish stocking level, you would likely still need to dose the water column to some degree as the nutrients will not be freely available to the roots. I am not advocating the use of inert substrates over nutrient rich substrates. Ideally, as Tom Barr points out, your best bet is to have two places from where the plants can get nutrients - substrate and water column. The nutrient rich substrate as he mentions gives you some wiggle room if you get lazy dosing the water column and in a low tech setup it minimizes if not eliminates water column dosing altogether. Pool filter sand is just a good cheap alternative for a beginner who has a big tank and not a lot of money to sink into the hobby.

Mineralized topsoil may be a good option if you have can get all the ingredients you need(or purchase a kit from torpedobarb) and are patient enough to wait out the time it takes to mineralize the soil. Also, at this point, I cannot personally say anything good or bad about mineralized topsoil. When I finally set up the experimental 5 gallon mineralized topsoil tank, I will share by experience and people can take it FWIW. Keep in mind that some people have also run into issues with mineralized topsoil,
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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Well Said Homer.


Something else to watch for with Pool sand i have been told and read, is compaction. periodic "probeing" should ease that issue up
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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Well Said Homer.


Something else to watch for with Pool sand i have been told and read, is compaction. periodic "probeing" should ease that issue up
Thanks .

It is interesting with the compaction. That whole issue is really interesting in itself. It is also controversial. What I have heard is that if you don't go over 1" of substrate, then compaction is a non-issue, but this would make it hard to plant plants that give off deep roots. Some also state that as long as the sand is coarse 1-3mm grain size, compaction would never be a issue. Others state that since deep root plants release oxygen into the substrate, so long as you have some deep rooters it is not an issue. And yet others say that if you have malaysian trumphet snails who are like the equivalent of earth worms for terrestrial soil and plants, that you would never see compaction issues as they would keep the sand turned and aerated. And as you mentioned, I heard that probing the substrate with chop sticks or the tip of a coat hange is another way to keep the sand from compacting.

These kinds of things are enough to confuse anyone, so I say, just try and see what happens. There is really no way to find out for sure otherwise. I can just speak from what I have seen and experienced. There is one guy in my city who has such beautiful planted tanks, he is even frequently called upon by local newbies to help them set up new tanks. He helps for free as he is a nice guy who told me that he likes to give back to the hobby as others helped him learn. He uses nothing but pool filter sand(no root tabs, nothing underneath) and T5 normal output lighting at probably 2.5 watts or a little less. His tanks are fully stocked. If you see the plant growth in his tank, you would be scratching your head going how the heck can this guy grow plants so healthy without c02 injection. His tanks have been set up for over a year, no issues. And believe it or not, he told me for water column fertilization he only uses about 4 caps of Seachem Fluorish weekly in his 40 gallon tanks. And I don't know if his tanks would even qualify as low tech as it appears that his plants are and have been growing like tank busters(his tanks are not new; he even went on vacation and when he came back back, he had major growth and immediately was selling plants upon his return) he is constantly trimming excess growth and selling plants(mostly fast growing stem plants, vals, hornwort, and even java moss of all plants) on the local forum.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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I have heard the MTS stuff as well, and some of the theories re: deep roots etc.

Your neighbor i have no doubts about, so much of the information place out for general consumption is only partial, or place in it's entirety, but the person(s) Reading only use part of it, a great case in point came up last week re: a AC need/dont need convo. a user posted that old carbon releases back what it absorbed, That was the second time i had heard that statement ( just so happens it was n the same forum go figure). So i called the poster on it, they pointed me to an article about AC and they had seized on a single line: about adsorbed compounds being release back into the water column, what the neglected to read is that it is minimal and is generally the bacteria that is beneficial anyways.

Lighting also poses another one, many are so bad infected with the HLD that common sense simply quits functioning. More is better, Fert dosing regimes water change regimes etc etc etc, they take them as separate entities and not the entire BioSystem as intended.

So yeah i can see how your friend gets by with what others refer to as low light, i have had my lighting referred to as low low light, but my plants grow very well, i do not inject Co2 ( i do add Excel about 1 capful per day), i add trace ferts twice a week, and while my tank does nt require trimming once a week, i do need to trim once a month, growth is lush, and colors excellent. All that from a long discussion with a fella in UK, who is doing the same on .9 WPG, and still turning out a new Scape once a quarter, Impressive in anyones book i think.

Hoppy has also done some nice stuff on this site ie confirmed that indeed depth does affect light intensity, Posting a graph that shoots down the Bulbs are no good after 6 months etc etc.

What i would like to now find is a nice tabulated set of data points that indicated at what PAR level plants truly need, with that info, and all the other stuff out there, HLD can finally be but to rest or confirmed.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-25-2009, 01:32 PM
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I bit the bullet and put eco-complete in my 120. I had a "huge" algae problem initially but it cleared up after a few months...

still can't get my glosso to take hold and go nuts.

Brad Sherwood North Dakota
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125 C02 planted tank,Angels,various tetra's, clownloaches.
72 bow front- koi tank in the winter...
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