The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, another possibly noob question here.

Now that I've figured out the lighting situation for my aquarium I've reach a baffling amount of information about substrate. Sand, MiracleGro, flourite, powersand, EcoComplete. . . . I'm totally lost :eek5:

What I did find was this stuff:


AquariumPlants.com's own: Freshwater Plant Substrate®
Used as a complete system with our exclusive: AQUARIUMPLANTS.COM'S own "Substrate Vitalization System", (and proper water conditions, lighting etc), we guarantee total success of your planted aquarium. (if you follow our recommendations and purchase your equipment & plants from us)

(ask our tech guys if you have the proper water conditions & lighting etc.)

All natural. No artificial coloring.
Contains minerals and nutrients and rich in iron. Provides optimum fresh water aquatic plant growth.
Used with our exclusive "Aquariumplants.com's own Substrate Fertilizer Pellets" we GUARANTEE success.
NEW: 3 colors to choose from; Black Diamond, Natural Amazon, Red River
Will not break down or dissolve or turn to mud like others do.
Does not cloud water
Granular Size: 1.2mm to 2.8mm
outperforms ALL other planted substrates (guaranteed)
TYPICAL CHEMICAL ANALYSIS
component weight %
volatile free basis
SiO2....................................76.72
Al2O3..................................11.28
CaO......................................0.63
MgO.....................................2.04
Na2O....................................0.10
K21O....................................1.26
Fe2O2..................................6.51
MnO.....................................0.01
P2O5....................................0.11
TiO2....................................0.52
FeO....................................0.82
Loss on Ignition.................2.20

Installation instructions: We recommend that you rinse the substrate once before installing. Before filling your aquarium with water, place a piece of cardboard or plastic on top of the substrate to deflect the water as you pour it in. This will prevent the water from churning the substrate and clouding the water.


It comes in about three different colors; black, red, and orangish

I'm not sure if this is going to work as a substrate or not. Anyone see any reasons why this stuff wouldn't work, or have a better suggestion? I"m not planning on adding C02 to the tank, but will have generous lighting and decent filtration, fairly hardy shrimp and some little fish too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,500 Posts
It's the same as any other calcined clay, started as a cheap DIY but some companies caught on and are repackaging and overpricing it. A cheaper alternative is Turface Pro League Grey, I personally use Soilmaster Select which is hard to find now. Nowadays I think alot of people forgo the DIY rout and use the expensive stuff since it's easier for them to find. It all supplies little to no nutrients but has superior cation exchange capacity, as it ages in the tank it becomes more nutrient rich.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
637 Posts
It's the same as any other calcined clay, started as a cheap DIY but some companies caught on and are repackaging and overpricing it. A cheaper alternative is Turface Pro League Grey, I personally use Soilmaster Select which is hard to find now. Nowadays I think alot of people forgo the DIY rout and use the expensive stuff since it's easier for them to find. It all supplies little to no nutrients but has superior cation exchange capacity, as it ages in the tank it becomes more nutrient rich.
+1 From all I hear it will make a fine substrate. It's possible to find nearly the same stuff in bulk for cheaper (Turface), but they don't sell it around where I live.

You may want to reconsider 'generous' lighting with no CO2; high light and no CO2 is a common cause of algae troubles. You can grow a lot of plants in low light (both my tanks are low light) and algae tends to be less of an issue then if you aren't using CO2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
637 Posts
Yes, but I think it's not fired as long (or at all?) so it tends to break down in the water and make a mess every time the substrate is disturbed. Or so I've heard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
Cat litter can contain lots of stuff that shouldn't be in an aquarium. Only the cheapest cat litter is suitable for this use.

That AquariumPlants.com "substrate vitalization system" might work fine, but it has red flags all over it. The Q&A part has some errors in it. For example, you can grow plants just fine with only sand and water fertilizing - substrate nutrients are very desirable, but not essential. And, virtually all plants can absorb the needed nutrients through their leaves, and they do so whether we want it or not.

If you want a nutrient rich substrate, which is a good idea, the cheap way to get it is by using mineralized topsoil under the AquariumPlants.com substrate. Next cheapest may be to use a small amount of Osmocoat fertilizer under their substrate. And, after that, there are several good substrate fertilizer tablets that can be used, which may be cheap too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,585 Posts
I use their substrate and have the original I bought over 3 years ago. It does give nutrients to the roots for about 6 months or so but then you need to start using a root fertilizer. I had awesome growth with it using 260W of PC light in my 75. It does use up KH rapidly at first and I had to add an alkalinity buffer heavily for the first week to keep the KH from dropping to 0 in less than a day. It does taper off to where you will need to buffer your replacement water if it is medium soft with water changes when the substrate becomes depleted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Eco or ADA Aquasoil. I use Eco, and love it. Others, Aquasoil and love it. You can't go wrong.
The way I look at it is do it right the first time and save yourself the hurt later. Substrate is TOUGH to change after it's down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Cat litter is not fired at a high temperature like calcinated clay. There are a lot of brand names if you decide to go with it-Turface, Pro's Choice, Diamond Dry, and you can even use Oil Dri from walmart if you want a very light substrate. that last one cost about $4 for 50 pounds. I is basically the same as Fluorite only without the added nutrients. It has a high cation exchange, so it holds nutrients until your plants use them. You just have to add root tabs for heavy root feeders.
I wish I could find it near me. Good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow thanks for all the responses guys! So much information. Alright so I gather that maybe I should tone down the lighting to maybe medium to low light instead of medium to high, which means I'll probably end up going with power compacts instead of the T5's.

I'm a bit concerned about the KH issues, does EcoComplete or AquaSoil have the same problems? If not I might just go the AquaSoil route.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
I just looked at the AP.com substrate and it is actually very reasonably priced since shipping is only $6 flat. I called to find out about the cation exchange and it is low-none. It is fired at a higher temp than Turface so it's not easily crushed like turface. The nutrients in their guaranteed analysis are only naturally occurring in the clay itself, and will leach out over time. That is why you have to use their substrate fertilizer.
For a little more you would get the benefit of CEC with Fluorite or Eco. One upside is that if you have bottom dwellers they do have a soft belly substrate, too.

You seem to have already decided against it, but I thought I would post what I found in case anyone else was interested like I was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
If that substrate is the same as Soilmaster Select, as it was rumored to be, it does have a high CEC, as do all clay based substrates, as far as I know. It is inert, as far as supplying nutrients is concerned. The minerals in the particles don't leach out to be available to the plants. I doubt that Flourite has a significantly higher CEC, and I'm even more sure that Eco doesn't. You don't have to use their substrate fertilizer, but it may very well be a very good fertilizer. It should be a good substrate in any case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,974 Posts
I am using their substrate because they are cheaper than Eco-complete substrate. I bought a 5g bucket for my 40g tank. I topped it with some coarser gravels. No complaints. There are cheaper alternatives and some of them are DIY. I am not a big DIY person. I used their fert pellets too "just in case." My KH and GH weren't affected at all. In fact, I needed to add buffers to increase my GH since my reading out of the tap is 0. And KH is about 1. My tank is only about 1 month old. Minor outbreak of brown algae. My tank is somewhat on the heavy side in plants. The only plant causality so far is the Dwarf Baby Tears.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the input, this has been very helpful!

I'm glad to hear that it would probably be a good substrate, since the 6 dollar flat rate to ship it seems like a pretty good deal. I might get the black substrate and then add an open layer of creamy colored sand in the center for aesthetics. Really looking forward to getting started!

Thanks for all the help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,974 Posts
Tetra about how deep did a 5g bucket fill your 40g?
Here are two shots of my tank. 40g. 36x15-16

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vracing/6029220835/in/photostream


http://www.flickr.com/photos/vracing/6029774288/in/photostream

A bit over 2 inches near the front and 3 inches at the back, minus my capping substrate. I still have some substrate left too because I decided to top it with a different color substrate. You can say my tank is a semi-high tech tank. 78w T5HO light. 10 hours of light. DIY CO2 with yeast. Just purchased a pressurized paintball CO2 system.

I did couple of replanting but the substrate didn't cloud my water.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top