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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking about doing a close to 50/50 mix of red fluorite/black sand in my 75 gallon for around 100lbs total. Anyone have any experience with it, also if anyone has ever done a mixture of fluorite and sand if be interested to hear what kind of results you had with your plants.


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I was thinking about doing a close to 50/50 mix of red fluorite/black sand in my 75 gallon for around 100lbs total. Anyone have any experience with it, also if anyone has ever done a mixture of fluorite and sand if be interested to hear what kind of results you had with your plants.


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I use 2/3 Red fluorite with 1/3 fluorite black sand in my 29. 45lbs total. I also use osmocote plus tabs and Flourish tabs in the substrate which I will replace every 6 months. Besides the initial rinsing and water cloudiness you get with fluorite, my experience has been positive. I am a fan and the fact that fluorite is a gravel, it doesn't deteriorate like some substrates.

I throw away frogbit twice a week.

My cabomba needs to be cut twice a week the growth is that much.

My background stems grow 3+ inches a week (rotala indica, Narrow ludwigia, broad ludwigia).

Blyxa Japonica is growing well, and so is my downoi and dwarf baby tears.


I dose ei and I have extremely high lights while borderline killing my tank inhabitants with co2.

After weekly trimming:



Before weekly trimming:

 

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Don't know the mechanics of it but I have read on here a few times that any
large grains mixed in/w smaller ones will eventually "work their way up to the top
of the sub".
I have a question which specifically pertains to your question.
In the case of root tabs it would be different of course.
But in a tank without root tabs, if a so called "Plant substrate" is under a cap of
inert sand etc...then how are nutrients to come in contact/w it ?
If the nutrients don't come in contact/w it, then how can it absorb and discharge nutrients into the water ? I have had this question for some time now as I can't
see any value in putting a plant substrate under a cap if CEC is it's only use.
If the plant substrate is like mineralized soil, yes, then the plant roots get nutrients from it. But if it is like ECo-Complete or Flourite, then what purpose does it serve under the top cap since it can't get nutrients through it ?
This is very much a question and not a criticizm but I thought you might like to
know the answer to it also.
 

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If like you say the larger grained substances will gradually work their way to the top through the cap then I would think the bottom, nutrient rich substrate, would take on a sort of slow time released trait. Also I would think this phenomena would help against sand compaction. As for the plants getting contact initially, I like to, before putting in any plants, mix the gravel on the bottom up into the sand, so it is showing through in a few small areas, and then when I do plant if not planting in one of these mini rock gardens, I make sure to loosen up the substrate down to the bottom in order to make it easier for root growth, and to get some penetration to the nutrients below. Not sure if any of this has any technical real emcee, but just my personal methods.


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P.s. Thanks for the pics, and for the intelligent conversation, good points to all


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I bought Fluorite under the assumption that it had useful minerals for pants. It does not. So next time I'm going with some generic gravel or sand from the garden store and some Aquasoil type substrate.

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I bought Fluorite under the assumption that it had useful minerals for pants. It does not. So next time I'm going with some generic gravel or sand from the garden store and some Aquasoil type substrate.

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Fluorite absorbs and holds nutrients (decent CEC). That doesn't mean it has all the nutrients needed to begin with. Fluorite will absorb nutrients from your water column and store it up to it's capacity which makes it great for plants and longevity since it replenishes itself. Generic gravel and sand doesn't have as much CEC as fluorite so lumping them together isn't really fair.

Natural clay kitty litter, ADA Aquasoil, and regular potting soil (if it has a high amount of clay) all are exponentially better with CEC than fluorite though. Perhaps a fine clay layer with a fine sand cap may serve your purpose better.
 

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I started with red, wanted it darker, mixed some black in, all Flourite. I didn't get the look I wanted but it did well. Here is my 29 gallon:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showpost.php?p=920236&postcount=130

Full journal here but it's fairly slow as it was my first tank:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=75523


Overall, I felt it worked well. Like many people say, it doesn't contain many nutrients, I have been told just some iron but the idea of it is it's CEC. I likely won't use this again, outside of reuse of the some old stuff I have (Black only) as I find Aqua Soil to be just slightly more expensive but I like the look better, plus it has nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Excuse my newbie status here but can someone clarify CEC lol


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Excuse my newbie status here but can someone clarify CEC lol


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Someone can likely explain better but it's the ability of something, in this case the substrate pieces to store things like nutrients. So, even though it's not nutrient packed, if they exist in the tank, the substrate absorbs them for later use.

Actually, a lot of people use stuff similar to Flourite for Bonsai. Reason being, though it doesn't have as much nutrients as soil, if you fertilize, it will become more nutrient rich than most other things. When you are growing a plant out, many want the ability to have bare roots, not soil on them so they use something with a high CEC instead and the roots won't stick to it as much.
 

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Flourite red served me really well for over 10 years and I just re- did one of my tanks with it again. I like the looks and I like its stability and I know it will not fall apart in 3 years.

Basically, we are lucky to have so many choices for substrate: each has it's own pluses and minuses.

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I use this in my 46 gallon bow front. All my plants do good with it, although I do dose ferts. Am thinking of adding some of the flourite black in the near future.
 

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Flourite red served me really well for over 10 years and I just re- did one of my tanks with it again. I like the looks and I like its stability and I know it will not fall apart in 3 years.

Basically, we are lucky to have so many choices for substrate: each has it's own pluses and minuses.

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Some of the black I have is likely 5+ years old and I have no problems reusing it, just give it a good rinse and maybe a bleach if is really bad, still works well. I honestly haven't felt that Aqua Soil has been a hugely good thing either, though I do like the look.

My main reason for straying away from Flourite is scratches. The regular black, red, whatever color is fine but the sand can be easy to cause scratches with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Someone can likely explain better but it's the ability of something, in this case the substrate pieces to store things like nutrients. So, even though it's not nutrient packed, if they exist in the tank, the substrate absorbs them for later use.

Actually, a lot of people use stuff similar to Flourite for Bonsai. Reason being, though it doesn't have as much nutrients as soil, if you fertilize, it will become more nutrient rich than most other things. When you are growing a plant out, many want the ability to have bare roots, not soil on them so they use something with a high CEC instead and the roots won't stick to it as much.

Thanks I figured as much, it would be great if someone knew what the acronym stood for though


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also, does anybody have any experience with aqua soil? How long until it breaks down, and what is it's consistency when it does, also does it have decent CEC? I'm specifically looking at the Africanus kind, but I'm assuming that they are all compareable, if you are noticing/ wondering about the red theme, I am doing an African biotrope


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Also, does anybody have any experience with aqua soil? How long until it breaks down, and what is it's consistency when it does, also does it have decent CEC? I'm specifically looking at the Africanus kind, but I'm assuming that they are all compareable, if you are noticing/ wondering about the red theme, I am doing an African biotrope


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Aqua soil has better CEC than Fluorite. By a huge a mount. It is a better substrate for plants. I don't think you ever have to replace aqua soil. If you do it will be a long time down the road, maybe 6+ years. You may want to replace before that, but want is different than need.

With that said, I still can't justify the price for my personal use. 15lbs of fluorite can be had for 12-16$. With that said, I won't go fluorite for my next tank; I want to try activflora out.
 

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I've seen the Azoo stuff break down at the local store so I'm sure Aquasoil does too since they are practically the same stuff. I wouldn't put it all on the bottom but rather more strategically. Like put it in various sections of the tank only and use sand for the test. then 1 bag hours pretty far. Of course this is only doable if you like the look.

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Aqua soil has better CEC than Fluorite. By a huge a mount. It is a better substrate for plants. I don't think you ever have to replace aqua soil. If you do it will be a long time down the road, maybe 6+ years. You may want to replace before that, but want is different than need.

With that said, I still can't justify the price for my personal use. 15lbs of fluorite can be had for 12-16$. With that said, I won't go fluorite for my next tank; I want to try activflora out.
Unfortunately, it is not that black and white. Searching this forum for other people experiences just might dispel the misinformation above.

Aqua Soil does break down -- to mud. It also helps to know that there at least 5 distinct types and you can look up the differences on ADA's web sites. In addition to the current Amazonia there were two previous incarnations, all with different characteristics. Then we also have Africana and Malaya. All three of the above come in two forms: Regular and Sand. The second generation of Amazonia also came in Multi.

Comparing prices of a bag of this to a bag of that is alike comparing the weight of a bag of feathers to a bag of stones. The bags are not created equal: some are sold by weight and some are sold by volume. Moreover, a given unit of one will cover a given area to a different depth then the other.

For those who missed the concept of a Common Denominator, TPT has a Substrate Calculator.

Which one is better for plants? Again, it depends. The first step would be to define what 'better for plants' actually means. That's, in itself, is not a simple undertaking. And no one bothered to ask the plants, yet.

Please do check the facts first.

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