What substrate to use for a low tech tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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What substrate to use for a low tech tank?

Hello;

I am sure this question has been answered before, but I am setting up a 35 gallon low tech tank. I will be using 1.5-2 wpg, but I need to determine what substrate to use. Most of the traditional substrates (flourite, eco-complete) are really quite pricey (at least where I have saw them in Canada) So I am considering using either Laterite or mineralized soil. I have seen some great results using MS, but have also read that it is not recommended for beginners, which is what I am. I would top either off with sand.

I have also been toying with the idea of using egg crating to prevent fish from digging and disturbing the soil, but am afraid of the plants roots getting too tangled in this, and making replanting too difficult.

Thoughts on both of these would be much appreciated, and sorry if these questions have already been answered.

Sean
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 11:59 PM
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there are alot of people that are using topsoil in low tech tanks. I am switching my father in laws tank to that in a few weeks. topping off with sand is a good idea too.. it holds the plants well.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 12:52 AM
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i use pool filter sand about 7$ for 50#

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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It seems like it is a good substrate once all has got going, just fear of huge algae problems during start up.

I would only like ~1/2 of the tank planted, so I'm considering using floating plants to help reduce the algae while the other plants get established. Would this be possible?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 02:44 AM
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I used potting soil topped with Flourite in my low tech 20. I never dose fertilizers into the water column or add CO2 or Excel, but have never had any deficiency in my plants and they grow like crazy. The soil can make the tank a bit messy when you pull a plant, but the pros outweigh the cons IMO.
Mineralized topsoil or ADA Aquasoil are both good too, both requiring minimal water column fertilization

Floating plants will definitely help keep algae at bay. Something like duckweed or Salvinia that grows fast will suck up any nutrients that algae need to get established.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 03:50 AM
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Hey legomaniac, I'm in the process of doing the same in a 29 except with Eco-complete on top. What kind of topsoil did you use and how much?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 11:46 AM
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Let's see, I used Fertilome Seedling and Cutting Starter. I bought a 5lb bag, but I think I only used half of it.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 04:07 PM
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algae problems usually stem from improper soil or soil sifting. when I did mine I sifted the soil well prior to adding to the tank.. worked great, no green water or anything. regular algae can happen with any set up.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-27-2009, 12:21 AM
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OK, i'll bite; what does one get from sifting the soil?
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