Dividing sand / Flourite (or some other more plant friendly substrate) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Dividing sand / Flourite (or some other more plant friendly substrate)

Thanks to everyone for having such great threads that every time I try and make one I can usually find other threads about what I am asking.

I am very new to the addic.. err hobby, and I am getting ready to change my near barren (has 4 random plants and a Dwarf lily) 55 gal tank into something more presentable and functional.

I have one 29 gal tank with a (not so dwarf anymore!) Dwarf lily that was my first plant, and a handful of random things that I got to grow from those $3 bulb packages from Petsmart. (This tank will soon be scavenged for the 55 gal and rescaped to be more pleasing to the eye.)

Sorry, back to the 55 gal tank. So I have decided (I think) to seperate the tank into sand, Cory and other bottom feeder friendly, and some type of Flourite or other plant friendly substrate.

My initial thought is to place some plexiglass dividers on the bottom of the tank that are about 3 inches tall, putting the sand about an inch deep on one side and then filling the other side with the flourite. I think I could hide the wall by using small rounded river rocks and make them look sort of like a retaining wall and have a 1-2 inch veritcal change as well as a formal divider between the sandy area and the more gravelly area where the plants will be.

I spent a bit of time in sketchup last night and laid out a basic "floorplan". I'll post a jpg when I get back home. I understand that by regular cleaning the flourite will get out into the sand, but I'm not too broken up about it, and I think that it should be failry easy to clean up with some sort of long turkey baster or I'll build a little scoop

Can anyone give me any tips or spot obvious errors I am not thinking of? I am not sure if I should try and attach the plexi to the bottom of the tank or if I should be concerned about it moving around. I may be able to rig up some locking slot and tab type connectors in the plexi to get it to stick to itself, but not sure about it working it's way up and out.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 06:24 PM
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I would find some type of flexible plastic and u can us silicone to glue it to the bottom of the tank. Then you can make the wall curve if you want. Just make sure the caulk is 100% silicone and let it cure before adding the substrate and water.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 07:14 PM
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First, you'll definitely need the scoop! I've tried divided substrates in quite a few planted tanks. I swear my fish pick up the sand in their mouths and spit it out on everything (dwarf cichlids). I find sand on top of the driftwood at times. I also get tons of the gravels bits (SMS) in the sand constantly. Black gravel bits in white sand, just oh so pretty. With cories you'll have just as much rooting about in the substrate. Even when I divide the two substrate areas w/ larger driftwood; those fish still mix it up.

My best advise: forget about it! Unless you really, really love the look; and love the extra work tending to it. Otherwise, pick just one and be happy.

If you go ahead anyway, be sure the two have significantly different grain sizes. If the larger bits in the sand (PFS) match the smaller bits in the gravel part ( SMS, Eco-complete, Flourite, etc.,) you won't be able to separate them back out with any type of sieve. Hand picking, you will be. Yeah, sigh, I got so tired and mad at one tank, I yanked the divider and stirred it all together into one salt and pepper hodge-podge mess. (The SMS being lighter weight and larger-grained actually ended up on top - mostly. Except when I replant, then it burps up white sandy knolls.)

I used plastic Quilting template purchased at Jo Ann Fabrics. Cost around $4.00. It cuts easily with scissors to the depth needed. I don't bother to silicone it. The weight of the two substrates seems to keep it in place.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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That's a rough sketchup of what I am thinking about. I may or may not put any plants out in the sand, just depends on if anything would work out there but still stay small. I picked up a big sheet of scrap plexi for $5 at home Depot last night, and am going to pick up the play sand tonight on the way home and get started

BTW, thanks Rod Hay, and idontknow, I really appreciate your advice, I think I'll take a bit of both
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 06:11 PM
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You might want to check this out ---> http://www.adaaust.com.au/support/takashi_amano.htm

It shows how Mr. Amano did it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, that was very cool. Thanks!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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I emptied the tank out yesterday and cut the plexi. Was a little annoying when I was trying to score it and break it, until I finally got angry enough to carry everything downstairs and break out Mr. Dremel. Things went much smoother after that

I created sort of a locking effect by cutting a slot in the middle of one divider and pushing the other through a gap in another, it should keep them in place pretty well, once I rinse my sand tonight and get it in there I am sure it will not move. I am hoping that I can find some decent river rocks at home depot to make the small wall to hide the plexi.

I took some pics with my phone this morning, but they look like crap, so I'll try and get better ones with the camera later.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 09:31 PM
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That came out nice
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, my python is due to arrive any day to help with the gravel maintenance, and I need to start picking some plants. I'm thinking something like Petite Nana scattered along the river rocks, some longer Java fern or something along the back and I am open to suggestions for the back left corner. Have a bit of room for something tall.

Inhabitants will be a lot of Coryduras, few Mollys and few Platys. (not tied to any specific numbers)
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 06:11 PM
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What kind of sand did you use?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Pool filter sand from Home Depot.
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