What kind of substrate should I get? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of substrate should I get?

What is a good and cheap aquarium substrate that I can find at either Home Depot or some other store like that? I need to know the brand, price, and why I should buy it. If I need to I'll buy ADA soil, but I'd rather not so what ever you reccomend will be appreciated. thanks
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 10:02 PM
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What size is your tank?


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 12:36 AM
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I've used a 1" base layer of potting soil topped with another 1" layer of normal aquarium gravel. Total cost was around $20 and I covered a 15g and had some left over.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 01:22 AM
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At that size, it is not too bad buying a ready made plant substrate, especially if you want to do anything more than the most basic setup. But you could try a pool filter sand with some fert tabs under it. You can get a bag of pool filter sand at any pool/spa store for $13-$15. Fert tabs will be about that much more, and then you are about as much as buying something at the pet store.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about Schultz aqua soil or what ever that brand name is?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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Thanks for the info. Do you know anything about Schultz aqua soil or what ever that brand name is?
I have Schultz Aquatic Soil mixed with gravel in a 10 gallon and in a 40 gallon as per my signature. On the positive side, it grows plants almost as well as Seachem Fluorite at a fraction of the cost. I say this because I have grown plants in both. On the negative side, plants seem to uproot once they grow deep roots and do not stay anchored. That is why I would not use Schultz Aquatic soil again. The plants need to stay rooted and anchored to be firmly established and to avoid any problems. A possible way around this if you want to still use Schultz Aquatic Soil is to lay down a 1" layer of pool filter sand, plant your deep rooting plants firmly, then cap with Schultz Aquatic Soil. The sand will keep the plant roots anchored and you will still benefit from the high CEC of Schultz Aquatic Soil as a cap.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-06-2009, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have Schultz Aquatic Soil mixed with gravel in a 10 gallon and in a 40 gallon as per my signature. On the positive side, it grows plants almost as well as Seachem Fluorite at a fraction of the cost. I say this because I have grown plants in both. On the negative side, plants seem to uproot once they grow deep roots and do not stay anchored. That is why I would not use Schultz Aquatic soil again. The plants need to stay rooted and anchored to be firmly established and to avoid any problems. A possible way around this if you want to still use Schultz Aquatic Soil is to lay down a 1" layer of pool filter sand, plant your deep rooting plants firmly, then cap with Schultz Aquatic Soil. The sand will keep the plant roots anchored and you will still benefit from the high CEC of Schultz Aquatic Soil as a cap.
Do you know where to get it and if i capped it with the filter sand, would the plants stay rooted or is your way better?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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Do you know where to get it and if i capped it with the filter sand, would the plants stay rooted or is your way better?
Hi, I purchased schultz aquatic soil from Home Depot. It is a seasonal item and should be available soon as most people use it in their outdoor ponds to grow aquatic plants. I have heard that new supplies of it have some fertilizer pellets(pellet sized blue balls) that could cause ammonia spikes. When I bought mine 2 years ago, it did not have these balls.

As far as layering, the only reason I would use the Schultz aquatic soil as a cap over a 1" layer of sand is because the Schultz Aquatic Soil is larger grained than the sand, so if you do it the other way around the smaller grain sand will end up on the bottom anyway over time. I found that Schultz Aquatic Soil did not require as much rinsing as Seachem Fluorite and did not cloud the water like fluorite at startup. When I set up my 40 gallon I mixed it up with the gravel that was already in the tank. I thought that this would add enought weight to anchor down deep rooting plants. This was not the case. If I could do it all over again, I would add 1-2 inch layer of pool filter sand and cap 1-2" Schultz Aquatic Soil. I found I got really good plant growth with it and it did not mess with my water parameters.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
Hi, I purchased schultz aquatic soil from Home Depot. It is a seasonal item and should be available soon as most people use it in their outdoor ponds to grow aquatic plants. I have heard that new supplies of it have some fertilizer pellets(pellet sized blue balls) that could cause ammonia spikes. When I bought mine 2 years ago, it did not have these balls.

As far as layering, the only reason I would use the Schultz aquatic soil as a cap over a 1" layer of sand is because the Schultz Aquatic Soil is larger grained than the sand, so if you do it the other way around the smaller grain sand will end up on the bottom anyway over time. I found that Schultz Aquatic Soil did not require as much rinsing as Seachem Fluorite and did not cloud the water like fluorite at startup. When I set up my 40 gallon I mixed it up with the gravel that was already in the tank. I thought that this would add enought weight to anchor down deep rooting plants. This was not the case. If I could do it all over again, I would add 1-2 inch layer of pool filter sand and cap 1-2" Schultz Aquatic Soil. I found I got really good plant growth with it and it did not mess with my water parameters.
alright thanks. i'll try to convince my parents to drive me to home depot. it sucks being 16, lol. if the soil does have the little blue balls, should I worry about anything else besides ammonia? oh, my dad has a bunch of peat moss lying around and its the kind with no additives. i read somewhere on the forum that you should use it with the soil. should i use a very thin layer of peat covered with the inch or two of sand and then the schultz aquatic soil? im sorry for asking so many questions i just want to get it right the first time and i know you are pretty much a genius when it comes to aquariums.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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alright thanks. i'll try to convince my parents to drive me to home depot. it sucks being 16, lol. if the soil does have the little blue balls, should I worry about anything else besides ammonia? oh, my dad has a bunch of peat moss lying around and its the kind with no additives. i read somewhere on the forum that you should use it with the soil. should i use a very thin layer of peat covered with the inch or two of sand and then the schultz aquatic soil? im sorry for asking so many questions i just want to get it right the first time and i know you are pretty much a genius when it comes to aquariums.
No apologies needed, we are all here to help one another. A dusting of peat on the bottom before placing sand over it is an excellent idea. It is supposed to provide some organic matter for healthy bacteria colonization. You don't want to use too much though, a dusting is ehough. Lol, thanks for the compliment, but I am far from a genius when it comes to this stuff. All I can do is share my experiences, so hopefully no one repeats the same mistake(s) I did.

If you want to get a good idea of how well Schultz Aquatic Soil, you can check out my log for the 10 galllon I used it in.
http://azdhan.googlepages.com/thelostworld

My 40 gallon signature tank also makes use of it. I have not updated the web page for the 10 gallon.. The tank was supposed to test some controversial anti-algae measures but the funny thing is that it was over-run with algae until I reduced the light intensity to 20 watts from 30 watts. The last update on this tank can be found here where I battled a Green Dust Algae oubreak. The water is clear crystal light now, but I have bumped up the light intensity back to 30 watts, just to see what happens.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...seriously.html

I believe the algae was indirectly caused by the SAS not allowing plants to remain deeply rooted so they were unable to grow and become established, which opened the door to algae. Also, I believe the lighting intensity and unstable/fluctuating c02 levels had a lot to do with the algae. The fish deaths were due to Neon Tetra Disease or bad feed.

Make sure that you have enough light to allow good plant growth but not so much that algae takes advantage. C02 injection cannot hurt and it always pays off in the long run to use pressurized c02.

I have grown plants in both ADA Aquasoil II and Schultz Aquaitc Soil. My preference is ADA Aquasoil. ADA Aquasoil seems to allow balace to be achieved more quickly, so you may not encounter some of the algae issues you get with other substrates. I am not sure if that has to do with ADA Aquasoil changing water parameters to favor plant growth, or the fact ADA Aquasoil is so nutrient dense, or both.If you can afford it, consider the ADA Aquasoil(oringinal and not II). IMHO and IME it is worth the extra money.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
No apologies needed, we are all here to help one another. A dusting of peat on the bottom before placing sand over it is an excellent idea. It is supposed to provide some organic matter for healthy bacteria colonization. You don't want to use too much though, a dusting is ehough. Lol, thanks for the compliment, but I am far from a genius when it comes to this stuff. All I can do is share my experiences, so hopefully no one repeats the same mistake(s) I did.

If you want to get a good idea of how well Schultz Aquatic Soil, you can check out my log for the 10 galllon I used it in.
http://azdhan.googlepages.com/thelostworld

My 40 gallon signature tank also makes use of it. I have not updated the web page for the 10 gallon.. The tank was supposed to test some controversial anti-algae measures but the funny thing is that it was over-run with algae until I reduced the light intensity to 20 watts from 30 watts. The last update on this tank can be found here where I battled a Green Dust Algae oubreak. The water is clear crystal light now, but I have bumped up the light intensity back to 30 watts, just to see what happens.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/al...seriously.html

I believe the algae was indirectly caused by the SAS not allowing plants to remain deeply rooted so they were unable to grow and become established, which opened the door to algae. Also, I believe the lighting intensity and unstable/fluctuating c02 levels had a lot to do with the algae. The fish deaths were due to Neon Tetra Disease or bad feed.

Make sure that you have enough light to allow good plant growth but not so much that algae takes advantage. C02 injection cannot hurt and it always pays off in the long run to use pressurized c02.

I have grown plants in both ADA Aquasoil II and Schultz Aquaitc Soil. My preference is ADA Aquasoil. ADA Aquasoil seems to allow balace to be achieved more quickly, so you may not encounter some of the algae issues you get with other substrates. I am not sure if that has to do with ADA Aquasoil changing water parameters to favor plant growth, or the fact ADA Aquasoil is so nutrient dense, or both.If you can afford it, consider the ADA Aquasoil(oringinal and not II). IMHO and IME it is worth the extra money.
Thanks again homer. I would like to get pressurized CO2, but this is my first attempt at a planted tank so I decided to take the low-tech route. I need my dads credit card to order the ADA Aquasoil, but he's convinced my plants will thrive in my ugly blue gravel. Are there any other brands of soil at home depot or something that will provide enough nutrients and aquarium friendly?
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 07:22 PM
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If you are having a hard time getting your parents to buy off on replacing the substrate, you can try adding fertilizer tabs to the gravel you already have. You can also get a bottle of flourish excel instead of pressurized co2. It serves basically the same purpose.

Both suggestions are ways you can give planted tanks a try without spending an arm and a leg to do it. That way you can see if it is something you really really like doing. And, you can probably get your parents to buy off on more equipment and stuff after they see your nice planted tank. That is how I got started, except I was trying to get my wife to buy off on it instead of my parents.


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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If you are having a hard time getting your parents to buy off on replacing the substrate, you can try adding fertilizer tabs to the gravel you already have. You can also get a bottle of flourish excel instead of pressurized co2. It serves basically the same purpose.

Both suggestions are ways you can give planted tanks a try without spending an arm and a leg to do it. That way you can see if it is something you really really like doing. And, you can probably get your parents to buy off on more equipment and stuff after they see your nice planted tank. That is how I got started, except I was trying to get my wife to buy off on it instead of my parents.

I have around 100 dollars saved up. If I can I'll buy regular ADA Aquasoil and there was a liquid fertilizer on the website specifically for low light kinds of plants. I don't know where to get flourish or excel otherwise I'll buy those instead. If I can't get my dads credit card, I'll probably buy Schultz Aquatic Soil and some pool filter sand.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 07:37 PM
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you can get flourish excel at almost any lfs and I think Petsmart might have it. You can get a small bottle that would last you a couple of months for around $15.


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