Do I need to put something under 3M Colorquartz Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Do I need to put something under 3M Colorquartz Substrate?

I am going to use Black 3M Colorquartz T Grade as my substrate in my new 65 Gallon Tank. My tank will be lightly planted with Java Fern, Amazon Swords and another ground cover plant TBD. Do I need to put a layer of something else under the Colorquartz for the Amazon Swords? Or will the plants do okay with the Colorquartz alone?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 07:00 PM
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the colorquartz sand is completely inert. Not only that, but it has no CEC (or nutrient absorption) qualities. Hence, it will not HELP your plants at all. It won't hurt them, either. It is purely decorative. If you are dosing water column ferts, you don't NEED anything nutrient-wise in your substrate but it is highly recommended that you do. Great plants have been grown in plain sand (which is basically what you have there) but you'll need ferts from somewhere.

My recommendation would be yes. Get something (laterite, a bit of commercial plant substrate, peat, plant fertilizer spikes, SOMETHING) under the 3M to help the plants. Especially since the sword will be a heavy root feeder.

The actual ANSWER would be no though. You don't NEED anything under there, but your results won't compare very well.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks jargonchipmunk,
I have a very large bag of peat just sitting in my garage that I can use. How much of it should I put in the tank (inches) under the colorquartz?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 07:40 PM
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Angels7,
I'd use a dusting of peat. I would also say that if you do use laterite/Eco complete it will eventually end up on top of the sand.
If you are going to use peat, I would take a handful of it and throw it in a bucket with water and test the water in 24 hours.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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What am I testing the water for? I am new at planted tanks
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 08:02 PM
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ph changes and ammonia spikes

as long as your peat has no additives in it (fertilizers etc, MANURE) you should be fine. You won't need very much peat at all for it to do its job. Any more and you'll be asking for issues down the road. It isn't the greatest of fertilizers, but works great for lower light tanks.

what lighting do you have on the tank?


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 08:02 PM
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If it is 100% peat, without fertilizers and such, there is no need to test it. It will lower the pH, but as a layer underneath another substrate it will not affect your water specs.

Personally I use a 1/2 inch "dusting" of peat, but everyone is different, some think that is too much.

Some plants like Swords and Crypts and even ground cover do better with an enriched substrate. Like others mentioned, that 3M stuff is good for looks, but doesn't bind and exchange nutrients well.

Other plants like Java Ferns won't really care what substrate you are using.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jargonchipmunk View Post
what lighting do you have on the tank?
I just have the flourescent bulb that came with the hood. Actually I have to take the hood back because the clerk gave me the wrong size so I don't have any lighting yet. The tank is still empty.

What lighting should I use?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 10:33 PM
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I used pure peat and I did get a little ammonia spike, but since I didn't add fish to the tank for a few months it only helped to jumpstart the cycle


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 10:41 PM
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I would ask you if you think you need to lower the pH of your water. If not then why use peat. It will also release tanins in your water and will give you a dark color. Do you need that?

If you don't need either then I wouldn't do it. The plain Black 3M Colorquartz T Grad will do fine if you dose the water column. If you have heavy root feeders like Sword you can use a root tab in the gravel where you need it. The pros to this are that when/if you move your plants around you will not end up with alot of clouding our peat mixing in with your gravel. You will also be able to vacuum your gravel every once in a blue moon if you get too much mulm build up. I guess the long and short of it is what are your needs.

BTW you'll probably need more light than what comes with the tank. Those aren't enough to keep most plants alive other than maybe anubias and mosses.

Just keeping on keeping on....


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 03:55 PM
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I mixed Laterite and ColorQuartz about 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep in the bottom of my tank and covered with about 2-3 inches of ColorQuartz. Plant Tabs were used as needed and plants placed into the sustrate had no issues with Laterite working into the water column.

Jeff
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