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Discussion Starter #1
I am the newest member to this site but I am not new to forums. I figured I would introduce myself to everyone and since I'm manipulating the unemployment insurance of the a-holes I used to work for, I have lots of time to post. I have been keeping fish for nearly 20 years now (since I was 5 and got my first Betta) and I am still learning. I have found this site very helpful for teaching me how to make my plants thrive and survive better underwater. Until now I'd been growing them in my garden outside and transplanting when the ones in the tanks start to wilt. This site has helped me with my underwater gardens and I want to return the favor with my knowledge and humble opinions. I will do my very best not to let these two get confused.

My money saving trick, that has met with great success in my planted aquariums, is blasting sand. I have recently learned that Blasting Sand, as in what they use for sandblasting, is a great alternative to the extremely expensive laterite most people use. It's qualities are actually similar and there is no dust once it has been washed. A plus is that anyone with loaches will soon notice that they like to tunnel and they move through this stuff like Tremors.

I say use at your own risk b/c I don't wanna get b*****d at if you pick up the wrong type of blasting sand or something bad happens, but it's been GREAT for me and it's hella cheaper than laterite. Make sure you get a larger grain and be sure to wash thouroughly. Be careful when you gravel vac b/c it is easily sucked up. Lemme know if anyone tries and likes.
 

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As you dig around here more, you'll see that blasting sand is fairly widely used. Many folks, me among them, are also fond of pool filter sand (silica) also known as 'filter pack' in areas where home water wells are still the norm. The obvious downside to sand is that it contains little in the way of nutrients, but the weight sure makes planting a breeze. These days I'm in love with EcoComplete for the color and nutrient content, but I'm contemplating a clown loach tank and filter sand would be ideal for the little diggers.
 

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PT Biologist
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There isn't any reason to compare blasting sand and laterite, laterite is an amendment to substrates LIKE blasting sand which has no nutritive value to plants. If you like blasting sand you might try the 3M ColorQuartz material, which is inert and very dense. No problems with vacuuming.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, didn't do enough looking around before I mentioned the blasting sand. I do know it's not nutritious like other substrates but I pride myself on being able to set up a new tank for pennies on the dollar. When you tell a friend you can set up his 55g with a filter, heater, co2infusion, plants, fish, rock, gravel, driftwood for 100 bucks, you can't afford to spend 80 dollars on laterite. I appreciate though that y'all didn't burn me for mentioning something y'all already know, I hate that crap.

I suppose if you know about that then you'd know about growing your "submersible" plants in hanging baskets on the patio until they get big and then putting them in the tank or taking them to your local pet store. I have a giant hanging basket full of purple waffle that pays for all my fish food with just a few clippings. You'd be surprised how many fish lovers know nothing about plants. I was pretty new to the whole co2 ideas so nobody knows everything.

Lots to read, thanks for the good treatment.
 

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PT Biologist
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I like saving money too, the ColorQuartz is $25 for a 50 lb bag and was easier for me to locate than the blasting sand. The other thing I like about the T-grade ColorQuarts is that it holds a slope, the shape and mass of the grains seems to prevent settling without compacting.

Growing some of the plants we keep emersed is the only way to get them to flower so we can actually get a good identification. How many plants are you growing on your patio?
 

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Laterite for a 55 gallon tank would run about $15. Are you confusing lateritre (which is a substrate additive) with Flourite?
 

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Doesn't like Kool-Aid
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Purple Waffle is doing well on your patio because Purple Waffle is a terrarium plant. It is not a true aquatic.

Mike
 
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