Looking for cheapest substrate I can get - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for cheapest substrate I can get

I am looking for about 20 lbs or so substrates for my new, soon to set up tank...I was wondering what is the cheapest that I can get maybe at homedepot or something...I prefer dark/black color....I had used schultz aquasoil but I think they are a little bit lighter than i expected. If you know any alternatives to expensive eco-complete or fluorite black that will be great :P thank you for your time

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 08:08 AM
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I'm going strong with the DIY route. Peat Moss, sand and recently added (after about a year without) kitty litter from walmart - it's pure clay for the iron content. This is in a 1:1 ratio sand to peat moss. The clay is formed into balls and inserted at the base of the plants. This is all covered with black gravel.

I don't seem to have much problems even moving the plants like this... the sand sometimes comes up, but quickly settles back down and filters back into the rocks. And the plants are doing better than great! I also use pressurized CO2 and about 2.4 watts per gallon, so the plants demand for nutrients is high, and met.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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they safe for shrimps? thinking about doing it for a tank of RCS

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 03:39 PM
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if u can find it sms i think i heard its in a 50lbs bag for cheap!

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 04:05 PM
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Soilmaster Select is a very cheap nice planted tank substrate. It doesn't contain nutrients, so if you're doing a high tech tank you'll have to dose.

It has a nice CEC which is the main draw to it, but other than that it's dark in color("charcoal" more smoke than black) and it has a nice grain size which the plants seem to enjoy.

On the other side, if you want a nice dark substrate and are okay with it being inert, 3M ColorQuartz Black Sand is really nice. Many people do well with it. If you look around, sometimes you can find it for very cheap. I know a guy up here in the Bay Area that found close to an unlimited quantity for free a while back on craigslist...I think it's gone now though.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 04:56 PM
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You want cheap, depending on the soil in your area you can just head outside with a shovel!
I attended a talk a couple of years back, where a bio prof recommended just such an approach. One of these days I'm going to set up a tank giving it a try. Of course, I live in the middle of the corn belt.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 05:04 PM
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I just setup a 10g tank with soil from the yard covered with a layer of pea gravel I got at Lowes in a 50lb bag. I think I paid about $4 and I still ahve more than half the bag of gravel left. So far it's working out well except the Limnophilia has been turning brown but I that it think may have been distressed when I got it, it looked more brown than purple before I put it in the tank.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 05:59 PM
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Check this out http://www.aquascapingworld.com/maga...ubstrates.html and see what you think...ever since i saw this i've wanted to give it a try (I keep recommending this article to people in hopes someone will journal their progress)...
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 08:20 PM
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That's an interesting link. I've been wondering how to try dirt for a substrate. I've heard that using these type of substrates leads to algae outbreaks in high light, CO2 injected tanks, but experience of my own shows different. You do have to adjust the amount of ferts used, however. I use the EI method, with the peat moss/sand/clay mix and use much less ferts than recommended by the method, with great results.

If anyone tries this method, a cheap source of clay is cat litter, you have to find one that is non - clumping and without scent.

I like to use fast growing stem plants such as Hygro polysperma when trying these things because these plants show deficiencys very quickly and then adjustments can be made.

On the other side, for an inert substrate I haven't tried the SMS, but have heard good things about it, if you can still find it. Apparently it absorbs nutrients from the water column, with a fertilizer method used as well.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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is SMS available like in HOMEDEPOT or LOWES?

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2008, 08:33 PM
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No, it's a specialized soil additive for athletic fields. Prevents compaction.





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