What black substrate for 50 gal? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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What black substrate for 50 gal?

I am starting up a 50 gallon tank and trying to keep it low tech. I am not going to have injected CO2, and I already have a post in the lighting section about what lights to get. Anyways, I don't want plants that are too difficult to grow, so whatever will grow pretty easily without CO2 is what I am looking for. Anyways, I am just looking to see what substrate to get. I want something that is black, like black gravel, but is that sufficient enough, or would I need some kind of plant substrate?
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 07:51 PM
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While I have not personally used it, at this point Flourite Black is probably your best bet for an easily available and consistently good quality black substrate.

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Last edited by imeridian; 04-01-2009 at 12:08 AM. Reason: grammar fail
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 01:00 AM
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shipping from drs. foster and smith is super cheap for the black florite. 3 bags should do it, 4 if you want the substrate really deep. they also have some lights on sale super cheap. I just set up a 58 gallon, same footprint as yours just 3inches taller.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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How does this compare to eco-complete? Because I notice 3 bags of this (45 pounds) would cost close to $80 with shipping, while 3 bags of eco-complete (60 pounds) would cost under $60 from petsolutions.com. Or to cut down on the price, can you mix this with black gravel?
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 02:56 AM
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Yes, you can mix with black gravel, or black Colorquartz, if you can find a local supplier.

I mixed about 50/50 black Flourite and black T grade CQ in my 90gal and am quite happy with the results.





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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 04:28 AM
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I've been very happy with my eco-complete
and even low maintenance plants really appreciate a good substrate
cheers-K
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 04:48 AM
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You can use 100% black Colorquartz if you've got a local supplier. Much cheaper than Flourite and just as good for low light.


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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dm76 View Post
How does this compare to eco-complete? Because I notice 3 bags of this (45 pounds) would cost close to $80 with shipping, while 3 bags of eco-complete (60 pounds) would cost under $60 from petsolutions.com. Or to cut down on the price, can you mix this with black gravel?

I didn't know petsolutions. had cheap shipping on substrate. thats a great price for eco, I would just go for it. unless you have black gravel already I don't think you will save any money doing a mix.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ok maybe I will just order that then. I was just thinking if gravel looked better, but I guess if buy 3 bags of gravel in the store, thats about $50 with tax, so I'm not realy saving anything.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 07:21 PM
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Gravel will grow them just as well as sand, some smaller foreground plants might appreciate the smaller grain, but that might not be relevant in a low tech tank. For what it's worth, it seems like most people regret using gravel after the fact, and decide they want a smaller grain or sand for aesthetic purposes. Then again, it seems like most people regret their first choice no matter what it is, unless it's a specialized plant substrate like Eco or Aquasoil.


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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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I guess the only thing I am worried about is what it will look like. I want something that is a nice dark black color. I have seen some people say that eco-complete makes the water cloudy, and some say it doesn't. Some say it has other colors in it, some say it doesn't. So I am just a little confused. If I can put it in there, and it is a nice black color, and looks nice (doesn't look like dirt) and it won't make a big mess when I vacuum it, I will be happy. I just want to be sure before I spend that much on something without seeing it, and then end up being stuck with it if I don't like it.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 08:37 PM
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The inconsistency of eco-complete is why I suggested the black fluorite. I have eco, and I like it, but I got mine years ago. The fact that caribsea is now including a pouch of flocculant with their product speaks volumes, that combined with the other issues that have been reported, I'd prefer to steer clear of that product from now on. It's too expensive to play roulette with the quality of the substrate. Even though it's said to be messy to initially rinse, at least flourite is a manufactured product, you can expect consistency. Also, there is no silly magic juice in the bag, so you're getting more actual product for your money.

At least if you mix a sand with a plant substrate you can sift it apart in the future if you choose. Don't use ordinary gravel, it's epoxy coated, and if it is even thoroughly coated in the beginning (which is doubtful), it'll eventually wear off and start effecting your water parameters. Especially don't mix regular gravel and a plant substrate, you'll be kicking yourself down the line, I know I did, essentially a waste of that bag of eco.

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 08:43 PM
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Flourite Black and Black Sand, as well as 3M Colorquart Black are as black as it gets.


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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 09:18 PM
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Yeah, from your description, those are probably what you want. I don't think you'd like the earthiness of Eco, whether it turns out to be a good batch or not.

Imeridian, good point about the gravel, I don't think I kept the stuff around long enough to remember that. Now I distinctively remember a pink pebble that kept showing up.


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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 09:24 PM
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Heh, I had a big chunk of bright red in my eco... and some neon green in the black gravel.

I spent an evening a couple months ago sifting out the gravel from the eco, I was only semi-successful, but at least I got rid of most of the nasty semi-coated black gravel.

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