Why Pay for Nutrient Rich Substrate? - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 07:33 PM
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I really think that reasoning is why his advice shines. He pointed out a bunch of pros of one, but suggest something else because the OP is a beginner.

Side note: I hope people give advice with the recipient in mind.


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post #32 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 07:49 PM
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Coming from someone who jumped in the deep end and had a catastrophic anaerobic 75g tank it may not be the best idea to start that big with dirt. Others have had great success. IMO the mess dirt makes is minimal if you are careful and is not really a big issue... A quick siphon during water change gets rid of anything that settles. Like others have mentioned the threat of going anaerobic is your biggest concern with dirt tanks.

For your first tank I would recommend going cheap and easy sand like Mr. Barr suggested. I have black diamond with osmocote pellets mixed in my 75g and it has worked very well for me. Have a nice lawn of hairgrass. The stuff is very heavy and IMO is quite ideal for foreground plants.

IMO there are 3 ways to go with substrate:

ADA AquaSoil
Sand
Dirt capped with sand

All the other stuff really isn't any better than straight up sand IMO. If you want a really good out-of-the-box substrate go with aquasoil. Gonna cost a few hundred bucks to fill that 75 though. If not then don't waste your money on something like eco complete.
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post #33 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 08:17 PM
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My 75 has 100% blasting sand with osmocote+, going on 2 years now. Ive grown all sorts of carpets and it is great. Easy to plant in, doenst matter how much you disturb it.

Over the past year or so Ive come to realize it really doesnt need very much osmocote+. Just about everything Ive grown does fine with only water column dosing.

Having said that Im on the verge (maybe) of switching to aquasoil, simply because my water is a bit on the hard side and Im wanting to do more soft water species.

But... water parameters aside, for a dark colored sub it doesnt get any better or cheaper than Black Diamond blasting sand, imo.


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post #34 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I use ADA AS because I can scape a lot with it, it is all 100% the same stuff, so when I re slope the tank, the design etc, it does not look tacky and mixed.
It has a lot of ferts in it. Might as well use both locations for ferts.

No good reason not too really.

Takes some getting use to, newbies can run into trouble there and with dirt/sand cap mixes.

Go with sand based on your goals though.
Later, consider something else.
I decided to take your quote because it seems to be well respected....and forward! Not judging, but I do find it funny how overly complicated we can make things. I've read thread after thread after thread. Everyone with a different opinion. To be frank, I think it freaks out the new guy....it did me.

I have tendencies to take my projects to the extreme quickly....and that's not a good thing. In this particular case, I wanted the "perfect substrate." No such thing, although I do think either MTS or Aquasoil will be my next venture. I've been trying to make a decision on substrate for over a week now, worried I would "fail" if I chose wrong.

Someone on this thread posted it best, for me at this time anyway, when the comment was made that aquatic plants are highly adaptive to their substrate....to paraphrase it anyway.

In other words most substrates are going to work for a planted tank, although some more convenient for planting, or minimizing fertilizer additives, etc....but regardless of our substrate choice, if it is mentioned in this forum chances are it CAN create beautiful planted tanks. Please correct me if I am wrong.

But thanks to many of you I'm going to stop over complicating things and just get the D*#N sand. LOL.

I really thought I was going to settle on MGO with a cap of some type...but forget it, although I'm sure if I used just a 1/2 inch and capped it with a few inches of Black Diamond Blasting sand it would be slightly better.

ANYWAY, I'm tired of searching.

I'm going to go with Black Diamond Blasting sand and dose it with Osmocote Plus.

Couple quick questions and its getting ordered.

1. What grade? Does it matter all that much for carpeting or are they all small enough? I've seen it range from Fine to Course, 4 or 5 grades total.

I was thinking about something simple like this...

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pro...s?cm_vc=IOPDP1

2. I imagine no, but is depth an issue in any way with Blasting Sand...or ANYTHING inert? Hypothetically is 4 or 5 inches a problem? I know I would like to sacrifice a little height in the water column in lieu of higher lighting. Just trying to raise the PAR at the substrate level a little...

3. I'll probably need to buy two 50lb bags anyway, but for the purpose of using the substrate calculator below, what substrate is closest to the recommended grade of blasting sand...
Substrate Calculator

4. How much osmocote plus do I need to add?

5. Anything else I should add to the substrate?

6. Most importantly....any tips on rinsing the sand first? I know I need to get as much of the oil out as possible. I've read people adding a touch of Dawn to the bottom of their bucket before they begin....

Thanks much for everyone's help. Believe me when I say I get something out of every single post. You have a great community here....

Time to go check out dry dosing threads.

Last edited by getzbuzy; 10-21-2015 at 05:44 AM. Reason: more thorough
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post #35 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 07:58 AM
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20/40 grit black diamond is what I use.
30/60 grit is very fine, and some stem plant's may be a bit difficult to keep rooted IMHO
I sprinkled 1/2 cup of osmocote pellet's on bottom glass all over in 80 gal tank, with same foot print as 75 gal.(little of this goes long way)
I have used the black diamond right out of the bag without rinsing,and have rinsed it as well by placing two or three gallon bucket full of the media in old pillow case at a time, and then ran water through the opening of pillow case till the water ran clear.
Would NOT use soap.
P.S. Would not rinse sand or blasting media in kitchen sink or bath tub, lest the person paying the plumber become overly animated .
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post #36 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
1. What grade?
Medium, 20/40 I believe, it what I use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
2. I imagine no, but is depth an issue in any way with Blasting Sand...?
Nope. I have/had an almost 6" hill in my 75g.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
3. I'll probably need to buy two 50lb bags anyway, but for the purpose of using the substrate calculator below, what substrate is closest to the recommended grade of blasting sand...
Substrate Calculator
I think sand would be my suggestion. If this is a 75g, my memory is bad so forgive me, I'd buy 3 bags.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
4. How much osmocote plus do I need to add?
Very little. Maybe a ball every square inch? I did the sprinkle on glass then add sand method without issue. I can send you some O+ for $1 if you want some. Or you can buy a container at lowes/homedepot for about $10. PM if interested, I'll fill a padded envelope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
5. Anything else I should add to the substrate?
Not in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getzbuzy View Post
6. Most importantly....any tips on rinsing the sand first? I know I need to get as much of the oil out as possible. I've read people adding a touch of Dawn to the bottom of their bucket before they begin....
No soap. Water is best if you want to rinse it at all. The pillow case method is my go to, but can be time consuming. I ran a filter with surface skimming and nothing but floss and just added the sand straight to the tank, no rinsing. That was 6 months ago.


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post #37 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 04:49 PM
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Most newbies want the best for their tanks and to ensure good results, but this does NOT come with the products typically, rather, the aquarist themselves.

What's the best light?
What's the best plant that grows without light and without CO2 with Oscars? hehe
What's the best sediment?
What's the best CO2 system?

Now while I might have a rimless starfire tank, a stainless steel dual stage regulator, there's many many really awesome tanks without.........any of those things.

Many just do not have the $$$$ for some of these items, or do not feel they are worth their hard earned $$, some are kids without a source of significant income. Some just cannot get these products in Senegal.

While there are many ADA fan boys out there, I can certainly afford or justify $$$ stuff, many of their products just have little cost benefit for me, ADA AS is an exception. Rimless tanks also, but I get better stuff made locally, same with cabinets, but plenty of folks DIY tanks, cabinets and sediments also.

I most certainly have plenty in my day. I'd say more than most folks in the DIY area with planted equipment.



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post #38 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Medium, 20/40 I believe, it what I use.



Nope. I have/had an almost 6" hill in my 75g.



I think sand would be my suggestion. If this is a 75g, my memory is bad so forgive me, I'd buy 3 bags.



Very little. Maybe a ball every square inch? I did the sprinkle on glass then add sand method without issue. I can send you some O+ for $1 if you want some. Or you can buy a container at lowes/homedepot for about $10. PM if interested, I'll fill a padded envelope.



Not in my opinion.



No soap. Water is best if you want to rinse it at all. The pillow case method is my go to, but can be time consuming. I ran a filter with surface skimming and nothing but floss and just added the sand straight to the tank, no rinsing. That was 6 months ago.
Thanks for the thorough response. I went to Black Diamond's website, and the 20/40 is their medium. I have a Tractor Supply close by, so I'm gonna try and run up there in the next day or two. Great advice by you and roadmaster on the pillow case rinse method, but I can definitely see how time consuming that's gonna be. I'm putting 150 lbs in the tank. At 3 pounds per rinse, It's gonna take all freaking day. LOL. I don't have a skimmer, but maybe I'll just have a go at the floss method. Well see I guess. It's gonna take awhile for the tank to cycle and I'm not in a real hurry anyway. I just don't want to see any oil film on the top of the substrate...not unless it goes away fairly quickly.

I may take you up on your osmocote plus offer. I still need to hit up amazon again for a drop checker and some more co2 tubing anyway, so I may just buy some.....but I appreciate the offer and I'll pm you if I need it.

I'm really glad this thread picked up some momentum and I hope it helps others new to planted tanks as well. Thanks again.

Last edited by getzbuzy; 10-23-2015 at 04:13 AM. Reason: crediting previous member by name
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post #39 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 11:38 AM
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I bought a tub of O+ for whatever reason. I still have like 80% of it. I'm tempted to pick up some extra large gel capsules and make some root tabs.


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post #40 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 12:20 PM
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One day, you will try aquasoil. You'll be like, why didn't I try this earlier?!!

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post #41 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:16 PM
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One day, you will try aquasoil. You'll be like, why didn't I try this earlier?!!
Would be glad to try it if you'll foot the bill, and send me enough to do my 80 gal soil based tank.
Up till recently aquasoil,,was hard stuff to find in U.S.
I do like it's texture and nutrient benefit's.
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post #42 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 01:43 PM
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One day, you will try aquasoil. You'll be like, why didn't I try this earlier?!!
I agree, I started off with Eco Complete and then moved to Aquasoil and have been using it since, but for a newbie it can be difficult. To an experienced person it's not that difficult to work with, but to someone new it could cause a lot of water issues.

Eco Complete to me is a great beginner substrate. It requires no rinsing, easy to plant in, looks good and as long as you dose and provide co2 you'll grow plants great.
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post #43 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 02:00 PM
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One day, you will try aquasoil. You'll be like, why didn't I try this earlier?!!
I have to agree. It took me 9 years into planted tanks before I finally tried it and I'm like why didn't I do this years ago. Maybe I've just improved in keeping a planted tank over the years or maybe it's just the particular foreground plant, but I've never had a healthier, easier growing foreground.
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post #44 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 03:17 PM
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One day, you will try aquasoil. You'll be like, why didn't I try this earlier?!!

That was actually my reaction when I planted in Black Diamond for the first time. I had only planted stuff in a 24" deep tank with flourite. When you slip the plants into the BD they actually stay!
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post #45 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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That was actually my reaction when I planted in Black Diamond for the first time. I had only planted stuff in a 24" deep tank with flourite. When you slip the plants into the BD they actually stay!
GREAT to hear....err...read.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
I agree, I started off with Eco Complete and then moved to Aquasoil and have been using it since, but for a newbie it can be difficult. To an experienced person it's not that difficult to work with, but to someone new it could cause a lot of water issues.

Eco Complete to me is a great beginner substrate. It requires no rinsing, easy to plant in, looks good and as long as you dose and provide co2 you'll grow plants great.
I read that Aquasoil can be difficult to work with for someone new pretty often here in plantedtank. Unfortunately, the posts I 've seen never seem to include any rationale for that.

It would be useful to know. Would you mind elaborating on it's difficulties?
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