Help with Substrate Decison - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Substrate Decison

I am putting together a 65 Gallon planted tank with community fish.

I have be browsing around and reading here and on the net and have come up with some various ways to do the substrate but I need your help deciding which way is best so here goes.

Should I go with:

1. Fluval Stratum
2. Black Diamond Sand
3. Flourite ( I have this in my existing tank and while it looks good I find that my plants are not too secure)
4. The Walstad Method
5. Something else all together or a combination of the stuff listed above.

Thanks for any and all input.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 04:25 PM
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I'm always an advocate for black diamond blasting sand. It is super easy to use, holds well, looks great, and is cheap.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 04:31 PM
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I'm always an advocate for black diamond blasting sand. It is super easy to use, holds well, looks great, and is cheap.
I'm going to try black diamond on our next tank. Both of mine have eco complete right now.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 04:39 PM
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I've had a 90g in storage for a few years now, and if i can ever pull together enough cash to do it right, I'll probably use Flourite Black Sand. But that's a $200+ investment for something that big. I like the look, and Flourite has always been a favorite for its high CEC. If I decide the investment isn't worth it, I'll go with black blasting sand.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 05:46 PM
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+1 black diamond is awesome


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 06:10 PM
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+2 for black diamond

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 06:17 PM
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+3 for Black Diamond.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 07:27 PM
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What are you planting in the tank?
While I do love the look and ease of use of black sand, I advocate choosing substrate based on plant selection.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 11:11 PM
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What are you planting in the tank?
While I do love the look and ease of use of black sand, I advocate choosing substrate based on plant selection.
What plants would you say are BDBS non-friendly? Basically, when would you suggest a substrate that isn't BDBS?


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Based on what I see here and other sources it looks like BDBS is the way to go so I will use it as a cap for the MiracleGro Organic Potting Mix.

I suppose I'm going the "Low Tech" route.

As far as plants go the only experience I have is with the small amount of them I have in the existing tank and I really don't know what they are.
Previously I have only used live coral in my saltwater tanks and plastic plants in freshwater.
So I guess I'm going to need help with choosing plants as well.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 12:06 AM
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What plants would you say are BDBS non-friendly?
Good point, I can't think of any.
It's just a matter of adding nutrients (if needed), either to the sand, or the water column.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 01:01 AM
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I think proper dosing is key. But there are a lot of limiting factors. Most of my growth seems to be CO2 limited more than anything (non-injected in my case). My plants seem to root very well in any substrate. I understand soil is rich and probably better. But plants seem to adapt to inert substrate fine.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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OK now that I'm settling on the Walstad method with MGOPM and BDS I'm in the process of gathering up the materials to set the tank up next week, I will start another thread on that upgrade/build because I'm going to need some plant and setup advice.

Thanks for the help so far.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 01:33 PM
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I'd say water sprite or any of the low light stem-ish plants would be a good choice. Frogbit floaters make for great nitrate soaks and can help even out your lighting if it is too intense. Amazon swords really shine in low tech with large tanks since they are quick growers in my experience. I would say jungle val is another great plant that should spread like wildfire and absorb some nutrients. Dwarf sag is a classic low light foreground plant that covers pretty well and propagates throughout the tank on it's own. I've also had great success with crypts. It took nearly a year, but I have some 12" tall crypts that started out as a node with a couple 1"-2" leafs. Fast growing, low light demand, plants are going to be great for starting a tank. After awhile, you can transition away from them and focus on slower growing plants if you'd like.


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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 02:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks they sound great. Know of any good online plants sellers?
LFS want and arm and leg for most of theirs.
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