Best all in one substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Best all in one substrate?

All right, I've kept this tank for about a year and killed everything but Amazon swords and anubias. I want really good growth. Is there a substrate that will make this stuff grow like crazy? I don't wanna go down the dirt path for obvious reasons. But I keep cories so maybe cap something with Sand? It's a low tech tank with no ferts ( I dose flourish once in a blue moon then get algae). What I really want is a tank chuck full of jungle Val's. But be able to grow what else I would want in the future. I'm not sure so please let me know. Thanks


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:30 PM
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I am using eco-complete, i keep cories without any issues on it. Seachem flourite is pretty good too. Neither have nutrients by themselves, you need to put root tabs in and they have high CEC, basically they can absorb nutrients from the water/tabs and relase it when the plants need it.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Oh ok so all I would need i flourite with some root tabs every once and awhile?


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:45 PM
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If you do not supplement the plants with ferts, then the growth will be poor and there will be a limit to the amount of plants you can have in the aquarium. The other alternative is to do water changes more frequently and stock a little high. But this will require constant attention.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Issue is I already have algae.and every time I dose ferts it makes it worse.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Burstatol90010 View Post
Oh ok so all I would need i flourite with some root tabs every once and awhile?


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No, You will need to dose PPS or EI, i prefer PPS because it is more straightforward. You will need root tabs, Osmocote+ is cheap and you can make them yourself. Ferts will help the algea go away, the algae is thriving off nutrients too low for the plants to use, if you up the nutrients, you will get better growth and algea will go away.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Alright I'll give it a try thanks! It'll hold it off enought till I can redo it.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-17-2015, 04:19 PM
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I filled my 120 with eco- complete. It was a really expensive option but I had heard and read that it was "the best". I think it is fine but I would not say it is more remarkable than the substrates in my other tanks.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-17-2015, 04:50 PM
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There is the Fluorite black sand option, similar idea to Eco-complete in that it has a high CEC. Use root tabs with it, and water column fertilizing if needed.

Bonus is with the finer grains it is easier to plant into.

I mentioned it since you were looking for something with sand.

This way you don't have to cap, just use one type of substrate.
When you cap Eco-complete with sand eventually the Eco-complete makes it to the surface.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 07:33 PM
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There probably isn't a good overall substrate. Most may say Aquasoil though but it comes at a cost. A cost I am not willing to make when there is the dirt tank option. It's been argued before that Flourite actually is not a high CEC substrate as it has been made out to be. However, the exact Flourite that was used in this research is unknown. I love Flourite for its the only substrate I have used and I will continue to use it on my tanks. One substrate that I have recently tired is Safe-t-sorb. It's really not an aquarium substrate but it has been used as such with great results for many in the hobby. I use it in my 125g growout tank for its CEC is actually high. I started that tank with Osmocote sprinkled on the bottom and just let the Safe-t-sorb charge for 3-4 weeks prior to planting it. I now use EI dosing but I don't perform water changes. I get very very minimal algae on the glass and none on the plants so far. This pretty much means that my jungle consume all the good stuff and keep the algae at bay. The only downside to Safe-t-sorm is that it is much lighter than I'd like. Don't let the rinsing of Flourite discourage you either. Many complain about it but it doesn't take much time to clean it.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 08:20 PM
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skipping ahead here (have yet to finish reading all the posts on this thread)
... so maybe this is already covered.
but, here goes ...

you don't dose regularly
you don't want to use dirt

where exactly are your plants going to get their nutrients from ?
you don't have any nutrients in the substrate (no dirt) and you aren't adding any to the water ?
... and you want excellent growth ???

am i getting that right ???

---

personally i would avoid root tabs, (high nutrients in one area of the substrate and low in other parts)
also, personally, i am in favor of dirt.

dirt i am looking into alternatives over what is marketed though
(technical problems relating to nutrient cycles in the substrate with a personal interest that requires a higher degree of knowledge over the common hobby interests - "self-sustaining")

problems and fears of dirt are about nutrients being cycled, a very natural process as detritus is broken down into it's finer components. in (i forget the terms at the moment) higher oxygen content substrate (upper layers) various nutrients are released so plant can use them, but not all nutrients. some nutrients are only made available in the lower oxygen deprived layers.

the production of toxic gasses i hear people worry about are a natural process, these are also produced far enough away from the water column to be "safe", and are released into the water column from slow diffusion, where they are rather reactive with available oxygen and rendered safe.

i put "safe" in quotes as - everything is very safe provided YOU do not disturb the substrate, which would bring these toxic chemicals directly into the water column in abundance instead of naturally in tiny quantities which would be rendered safe for all tank inhabitants.

---

if you are concerned about any of this, it's not a concern of dirt or not, as over time detritus WILL fall into the substrate.
regular maintenance will not clean it thoroughly enough. i have seen a thread on another forum, what was vacuumed clean (with fish removed) was then stirred up by hand and visibility was reduced to a few inches only.

you can reduce the effects of detritus build-up, but you will always have some in there.

please reconsider how you are taking care of your tank plants
if you have algae. i would make a few recommendations
1) ignore it, sounds backwards do it anyway. focus on your plants, healthy plants will out-compete your algae, if you don't have healthy plants you will have algae
2) identify your algae, find a critter that will eat it.
2a) i would recommend the nerite snail, eats about all algae, does not reproduce in freshwater.
note of caution on the nerite snail, they will eagerly climb out of the tank, where death may become an issue as they are still an aquatic snail.

---

now back to reading
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 08:34 PM
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safe-t-sorb, turface, and the dozen or so other names it's known under
cheap cat litter, ... about the cheapest you can find, no additives, no chemicals, no nothing but 'natural clay' or whatever is described on the box

the only thing higher in CEC is vermiculite

personally, and i wanted to explore this so much in the past, ... i will instead say now, stay away from any CEC minerals, or any AEC minerals as well.
i have no research, no proof on this at all, ...

for farmers fields where nutrient runoff after a rain is an issue, this is stuff you really want so you don't leach your fertilizers and nutrients into the water runoff that eventually makes it's way into the ocean.

in a tank, a closed environment, i would rather have zero CEC, zero AEC, i want all my nutrients to be available and nothing locked onto the substrate minerals.
if there is a deficiency, this will not be mirrored in the substrate that will take any length of time to correct
if there is an excess, the substrate will not be holding onto that same excess.

people preform regular maintenance on their tanks.
for any EI dosing method, dose and correct, ... just that fast

sure, it's a weak bond, but it's still a bond, it locks nutrients out of the water column so our plants can't access them.

to reduce nutrients being released into the water column, stick with a cap over your substrate, regardless what it is, and good to go, simple, nothing complicated, what could be better
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 10:55 PM
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I have one tank with Eco-Compete topped with Caribsea Peace River gravel (grain size 1-2mm) and another with just Peace River. Both have Flourish tabs buried. The plants in the Peace River only tank are doing as well as the tank with Eco. I'm sorry I bothered with Eco-Complete. It is a mess as it comes up to the surface whenever the substrate is disturbed.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 02:00 AM
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Could one successfully grow an HC carpet in substrate that solely consisted of Black Diamond Blasting Sand?
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