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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Black soil

Where can I get black soil like this (http://www.pbase.com/plantella/image/68013548) to plant aquatic plants in my tank with?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by likwid View Post
Where can I get black soil like this (http://www.pbase.com/plantella/image/68013548) to plant aquatic plants in my tank with?
This looks more like sand/gravel that is 1-3MM grain size rather than soil which tends to be much finer and powdery.

If you are looking for something similiar to the picture you posted. Eco-complete substrate or Seachem Onyx Sand seems comparable and would grow plants well.

If you mean soil as in topsoil you can get President's Choice BlackEarth Top Soil sold at SuperStore grocery chains in Canada. You can cap this with 1-3 mm plain gravel or traction sand. Many claim that this soil grows plants well as part of a Diana Walstead Natural Planted tank setup if that is the route you choose to go.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 04:06 PM
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How about Aquasoil Amasonia?


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 04:11 PM
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Aqua Soil Amazonia?

If this is one of your first planted aquariums, please read through the Aqua Soil threads in our Substrate section before you choose.

It is a great substrate, but not a product for beginners.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
This looks more like sand/gravel that is 1-3MM grain size rather than soil which tends to be much finer and powdery.

If you are looking for something similiar to the picture you posted. Eco-complete substrate or Seachem Onyx Sand seems comparable and would grow plants well.

If you mean soil as in topsoil you can get President's Choice BlackEarth Top Soil sold at SuperStore grocery chains in Canada. You can cap this with 1-3 mm plain gravel or traction sand. Many claim that this soil grows plants well as part of a Diana Walstead Natural Planted tank setup if that is the route you choose to go.
Thanks for the great info guys. We dont have a superstore here, do you know if Walmart sells anything similar to Presidents Choice BlackEarth Top Soil? Will any top soil do? I also have standard black aquarium gravel, the pieces are around 0.5-1cm in diameter, this was the smallest I could find at pet stores. Will this still work if I put a half inch layer on top of the soil?

After I add the soil/gravel, and fill the tank with water. How long should I wait before starting to add plants and a fish?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by likwid View Post
Thanks for the great info guys. We dont have a superstore here, do you know if Walmart sells anything similar to Presidents Choice BlackEarth Top Soil? Will any top soil do? I also have standard black aquarium gravel, the pieces are around 0.5-1cm in diameter, this was the smallest I could find at pet stores. Will this still work if I put a half inch layer on top of the soil?

After I add the soil/gravel, and fill the tank with water. How long should I wait before starting to add plants and a fish?
Home Depot carries a super cheap top soil known as Green Leaf but I am hesitant to recommend it as I am currently testing it on a natural planted tank that I just set up and it is too early to tell how well it will grow plants.

If you choose to go the Natural Planted Tank route, keep in mind that people have had mixed results using soil as a substrate. Some claim that it causes problems in the long run, with respect to hydrogen sulphide production and rots and others swear that they have had tanks for years using soil as a substrate without any problems.

Here is a good link to setting up a natural planted tank as per Diana Walstead concepts.
http://thegab.org/Articles/WalstadTankDemo.html
http://thegab.org/Articles/WalstadTank.html

The following is an excellent forum and useful posts on peoples' experiences with Natural Planted Tanks.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/el-natural/

You can pretty much grow plants in a variety of substrates.
Laterite and Seachem Root tabs capped with Pool Filter Sand.
Laterite and Seachem Root tabs capped with Traction Sand.
Schultz Aquatic Soil which you can get dirt cheap at a Revy or Rona if you have one in your area.

If you decide to get Seachem Onyx sand or Eco-Complete this online supplier sells it as a reasonable price and ships to Canada with no extra duty or customs fees.
http://www.aquariumplants.com/Substr...ands_s/121.htm

As far as how long you should wait to add fish to a newly planted tank, I suggest you get yourself a ammonia and nitrite test kit and test the water weekly. When the ammonia and nitrites drop to zero you can add fish.

Some people say that you can add fish right away if you heavily plant a tank. I have set up 4 heavily planted tanks to date. And in each and every case, ammonia tested zero within a few days, but there was a nitrite spike(which can be just as bad for fish as ammonia) which the plants did not neutralize and which took much longer to disappear. A heavily planted tank only takes care of ammonia spikes but not nitrite spikes based on my own testing and setups.

Last edited by Homer_Simpson; 11-19-2007 at 04:20 PM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 12:21 PM
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Onyx sand is not black. It's a light gray.

If you want black the new Flourite black is black.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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None of the local pet stores sell any seachem or specialty substrate, and to ship will cost a lot more than its worth. They sell really fine black aquarium sand, can I use this?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex Grigg View Post
Onyx sand is not black. It's a light gray.

If you want black the new Flourite black is black.
Check out the Black Onyx Sand being sold at:
http://www.aquariumplants.com/BLACK_...hem_p/onyx.htm

It is black(bordering on a dark purple). It is Onyx Sand no questions about it and no ands, buts or ifs. You can see for yourself, in the tank that I used in at http://azdhan.googlepages.com/thelostworld2
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by likwid View Post
None of the local pet stores sell any seachem or specialty substrate, and to ship will cost a lot more than its worth. They sell really fine black aquarium sand, can I use this?

The jury is out on whether this will work or not. Some swear that they have had no problems using this overlaid over laterite and aquarium root tabs. Other say that they have had problems using this with respect to hydrogen sulphide production and or anaerobic pockets. Some state that the sand will compact over time and cause your plant roots to rot, others say, this is BS. It all depends and it is difficult to advise.

I know a person in my city who showed me her 5 gallon hex that has been running forever and the plants are practically growing out of the tank. She uses "only" a hagen brand black very fine sand and tells me that she has never had issues with it. Mind you she has a lot of snails and kuli loaches that may be helping to keep the sand stirred up and prevent problems.

Last edited by Homer_Simpson; 11-20-2007 at 10:45 AM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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The jury is out on whether this will work or not. Some swear that they have had no problems using this overlaid over laterite and aquarium root tabs. Other say that they have had problems using this with respect to hydrogen sulphide protection and or anaerobic pockets. Some state that the sand will compact over time and cause your plant roots to rot, others say, this is BS. It all depends and it is difficult to advise.

I know a person in my city who showed me her 5 gallon hex that has been running forever and the plants are practically growing out of the tank. She uses "only" a hagen brand black very fine sand and tells me that she has never had issues with it. Mind you she has a lot of snails and kuli loaches that may be helping to keep the sand stirred up and prevent problems.
If I do use this sand, can I put some kind of standard soil (not specialty soil, Im not paying $30 for shipping a small bag) or something below it to help the plants?
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-19-2007, 04:48 PM
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If I do use this sand, can I put some kind of standard soil (not specialty soil, Im not paying $30 for shipping a small bag) or something below it to help the plants?
The lady that I am talking about used nothing undeneath at all and did not use fertilizers. She told me that she found the fish waste to be enough and I was shocked to say the least as I didn't think that was possible. Unless she was bullsh*itting, I cannot deny what I witnessed with my own eyes. I think that if you use any kind of nutrient rich soil(exluding a sprinkling of garden peat moss, mulm, leonardite, or pieces of aquarium or pond fert tabs) underneath the sand, you may be asking for trouble because of it does rot due to lack of oxygen exchange from the fine sand and the sand compacts over time, it could get quite messy and smelly.

This hobby always entails some risk when you try something new. Unfortunately, what works for others may not work for you. Failure means that it could cost you big time if you are forced to tear a tank down and start over. Me, I don't care, I do this s*it in the name of aquascience and to learn something.

My advise to you is to stick to a speciality substrate and swallow the bullet. You could end up spending a lot more in the long term in terms of time and money if you decide to test something that may or may not work. At least with a speciality substrate, you are pretty much guaranteed success, assuming that other important things are in place, adequate light, fertilization scheme, etc.,
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 01:43 AM
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You must be lucky. Because the stuff that AP is selling is plain old Onyx. And you are the FIRST person I've ever seen that calls it black. I have it in a tank and it's gray.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-20-2007, 02:57 AM
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You must be lucky. Because the stuff that AP is selling is plain old Onyx. And you are the FIRST person I've ever seen that calls it black. I have it in a tank and it's gray.
Hmmm...I must be going color blind in my old age. If you look at the picture of the tank I posted, it does not appear all that gray to me.



My local pet store carries Seachem Onyx Sand and it is lighter gray. More like this:




It is nothing like what I bought.
This is a picture of some that I have left over.


P.S. By the way it is sold as Black Seachem Onyx sand by Aquariumplants. That is not the name I gave it or the first one to call it black.
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