Which substrate...? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Which substrate...?

Currently I'm using Flourite regular substrate and I'm thinking about switching to some kind of new substrate. My main issue with Flourite is that it is very dirty. I've had it in the tank since July and whenever I do something in the tank, a big cloud of debris always comes out of the substrate and all over everything. The debris cloud also forms all over the tank glass as well.

I do actually like the way the Flourite looks, but I'm looking for something that is much cleaner right from the get go. I do like plain black gravel quite a bit, but obviously it's not going to offer any kind of nutrients for plants.

Any ideas?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:19 AM
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caribsea tahitian moon? Probably will need root tabs for anything that likes root feeding though.

Edit: I'll be doing flourite capped with tahitian in my 180.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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I did think about sand, yes. People seem to have great success with it. I've been trying to use use Seachem Flourish root tabs for an extra boost but honestly they don't do anything. I'm going to have to find something that will work better. I'm also planning more than likely to not do anything too demanding outside of some Crypts, Rotala and Swords.

Last edited by Blackheart; 01-16-2016 at 06:45 AM. Reason: .
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 06:45 AM
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Depending on things like how heavily planted your tank is and how frequently you do water changes, anywhere from some to almost all of the debris could exist regardless of the substrate. It's a good idea to wash *all* substrates before using them, as you won't find a substrate that doesn't have many reviews consisting of "It's really dusty". Some, of course, are much worse than others, but if you're looking for a substrate that you don't have to wash to get a clear tank, it just doesn't exist.

Substrates that come with nutrients is a whole other issue. Unfortunately, most substrates that *claim* they come with nutrients, actually don't. I know that ADA does, and at least some substrates that come wet do (though not all), but if it's reasonably priced, you can pretty much bet that it's completely barren of nutrients. However, regardless of nutrient content, and regardless of CEC factor (the ability to absorb and hold nutrients), you can still grow *anything* that you want, so long as you provide appropriate lighting, CO2, and nutrients. And anything you could grow with Flourite, you can grow with whatever you want, as Flourite is nutritionally dead.

So, pick a substrate that you like the look of, rinse it thoroughly, and regrow whatever you want!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
Depending on things like how heavily planted your tank is and how frequently you do water changes, anywhere from some to almost all of the debris could exist regardless of the substrate. It's a good idea to wash *all* substrates before using them, as you won't find a substrate that doesn't have many reviews consisting of "It's really dusty". Some, of course, are much worse than others, but if you're looking for a substrate that you don't have to wash to get a clear tank, it just doesn't exist.

Substrates that come with nutrients is a whole other issue. Unfortunately, most substrates that *claim* they come with nutrients, actually don't. I know that ADA does, and at least some substrates that come wet do (though not all), but if it's reasonably priced, you can pretty much bet that it's completely barren of nutrients. However, regardless of nutrient content, and regardless of CEC factor (the ability to absorb and hold nutrients), you can still grow *anything* that you want, so long as you provide appropriate lighting, CO2, and nutrients. And anything you could grow with Flourite, you can grow with whatever you want, as Flourite is nutritionally dead.

So, pick a substrate that you like the look of, rinse it thoroughly, and regrow whatever you want!
I spent the entire just rinsing Flourite when I first got it outside with my garden hose and it still didn't clean it entirely. And not true entirely. Any time I've ever used plain gravel, I've never had issues.

Also you say there is no nutrients in Flourite, but isn't Flourite made out of clay which is something that is beneficial to plants?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 10:35 AM
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Have you heard of FlorinVolcanic? Ive heard good things, and scored a hell of a deal during holiday shopping. Picked up 6 bags for my new 75 build.

http://m.drsfostersmith.com/product/...m?pcatid=28435
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 03:20 PM
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Active flora is black. I just dumped it in no washing at all. It has liquid in the bag suppose to help with cycling. Took 3 weeks with seeded filter so idk if it did anything.

I think all substrates you will have to add root tabs eventually. I have safe-t-sorb which is way dirtier then flouite (i had flouite and never had the cloud you speak of though). I thought the root tabs were not doing much but noticed slow growth on my glosso. Added osmocote, it started growing fast again.

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Originally Posted by LiQuiD SmoKe View Post
Have you heard of FlorinVolcanic? Ive heard good things, and scored a hell of a deal during holiday shopping. Picked up 6 bags for my new 75 build.

Brightwell Aquatics FlorinVolcanit Plant Substrate: Aquatic Plant Substrate
Never seen this stuff what is the different grain size comparable to? I see 3 different sizes.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-17-2016 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 04:49 PM
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if you like black sand, you can cap the flourite with atleast 1-2 inch of black sand... a good choice would be the course blasting sand. that will help keep the flourite from being disturbed so maybe less clouding issue.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'm actually considering switching my tank out to Eco Complete and than just topping it with plain gravel.

My only issue is I'm not sure how much gravel to complete ratio that I would need. I'm hoping 2 bags of eco and 2 bags of gravel will hopefully do the trick. I'm not sure the plants roots would be able to reach the eco on the bottom right away though.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackheart View Post
I'm actually considering switching my tank out to Eco Complete and than just topping it with plain gravel.

My only issue is I'm not sure how much gravel to complete ratio that I would need. I'm hoping 2 bags of eco and 2 bags of gravel will hopefully do the trick. I'm not sure the plants roots would be able to reach the eco on the bottom right away though.
Eco, like Flourite, is completely bare of nutrients. Both have very high CEC values, but there's nothing in them to start. And you can't depend on a substrate to break down and provide nutrients.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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I did actually have great success with Eco complete in the past though. I'm thinking about just using plain gravel with the Osmocote tabs. I've heard a lot of good things about them. Do they come in a form where I can just push them right into the substrate like in a container?

One thing that also troubles me is the size of the grain. The gravel I like isn't the smallest and I've heard that the smaller the pebble size the better.

Last edited by Blackheart; 01-16-2016 at 11:46 PM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 04:30 AM
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Osmocote tabs you usually make yourself. It is plain osmocote plus put into organic gel caps. I usually make about 1000 at a time.

If you like the look of fluorite you may consider turface mvp. That's what I went with in my 60. Looks like fluorite, has a high cec, is not dirty. It is however very light, and has no fertilizer in it to start with.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 05:33 AM
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Washing gravel or sand, is a mixed bag in results. I get the best result simply putting the media into a fine net and rinsing it under the tap as a final step.

If you do not have adequate water flow at the bottom of the tank, You would be surprised how much crap you could kick up into the water when you disturb the detritus that settles in there.

Even some of my bare bottom tanks need a good floor vacuum at least once a week.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 06:47 AM
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Substrates like Flourite,Eco complete get better with age.
That which they adsorb over time ,they hold onto.
Is their CEC that makes them desireable but they ain't much help to plant's until they are month's old.
If I decided to go with new substrate for whatever reason,I would hold onto the fluorite and maybe even mix it with new substrate.
If not,,I would keep it around in five gal bucket(s).
Any time we go pulling up plant's or moving hardscape,there is very good likelihood of clouding the tank with that which we have disturbed (don't do it).
When we DO do it,sizeable water change right after is a good idea.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 07:04 AM
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I use Flourite on all my tanks. I never understand the comments that it is dirty. I double rinse in a bucket and it goes straight into the tank. Does it cloud a new set up, yes, but it will clear out in a day or 2. If not, then your filter is poor. On a new system you might want to go in and do a 30% water change after 24 hours but you really do not have to do it. I have gone back in a year or 2 later and added some more with only minimal clouding that cleared 24 hours later. My tanks are crystal clear after the tank settles in and cycles.
You just have to dose properly since its not nutrient rich. It makes you a better grower if you can grow without nutrient rich substrates just as long as the CEC is good. I usually plant new stems with small rocks so I do not disturb the substrate to much. Its not the substrate that I get worried about its more of a slight ammonia release that could trigger a minor algae bloom. So I minimize the disturbance when I can but I still use root tabs sometimes for extra ferts and even digging down an inch or 2 does not really kick much up. A light gravel vac across the substrate during water changes is never a problem. The price is right as well and I feel it looks very natural as well. Hope this helps.
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