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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be getting some actual subtrate plants soon :eek: and I need to upgrade my aquarium gavel to support the plants, WITHOUT beaking the bank. Any ideas? I need enough for a 20g high (12in by 24in) The plants will probably be low-tech, so crypts and stuff. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
 

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1.) SMS/Turface is about $15-$18 for a 50lb bag and it has the highest CEC rating of anything I have found.
2.) PFS (pool filter sand) is cheaper $8-$10 for a 50lb bag.
3.) Non-Fertilized Top Soil is about $5-$8 for a 50lb bag that would work well but needs to be caped with PFS.

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Does the Turface have nutrients?
 

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In my 10G and 50G I used PFS first, but had issues with the soil underneath so I had to tear them both down. When I redid the tanks I used SMS and I like it much better than the PFS I had before. Check to see which colors of SMS/Turface are available. I made a thread with pics comparing the SMS-Charcoal and Turface-Red in case you want to see the difference.

And no, no nutrients in the SMS or Turface, it is just baked clay.


http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...n/94444-vote-my-substrate-sms-vs-turface.html
 

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Nope none of those have any nutrients but the only two that does is ADA ($$) and MTS (pain in the butt to make) the rest only have trace iron or a wash that wears off after a few months. The best way to feed your plants is with water column dosing so the important thing is to get a good CEC rating which is the reason I primarily use SMS/Turface.

- Brad
 

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I'd get a bag of Flourite or Eco Complete if this is your first planted tank. Keep things easy on yourself. :thumbsup: (If you get Flourite, rinse it first. Really well.)
Flourite only have trace Fe and Echo only has Fe and a trace wash other than that it doesn't have as good a CEC rating as SMS or Turface so why would I want to spend double just because it's a name brand product?

I like Flourite and Eco but just 'because' isn't a good reason to recomend it when they say there on a budget.

- Brad
 

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Flourite and Eco have great CECs and are great low maintenance substrates (unlike most soil substrates, and sand is obnoxious IMO), especially for a low tech setting where no additional ferts may be needed anyways. Not sure what you mean by "only trace Fe" since Flourite has a huge iron content and probably more than plants would use up in a very, very long time (again assuming low light).

I've never used SMS or Turface but lots of people have trouble keeping plants rooted at first due to how lightweight it is. It's also gotten a bit harder to locate of late, especially now it's out of season. It'd probably cost as much to buy a 50lb bag of Tuface/SMS (and 35lbs would go unused) as it would to buy one bag of any of the others.

Onyx sand is another good option.

CEC stands for "cation exchange capacity" and referrs to the ability of substrates to pull nutrients from the water column and hold them in a form that can be used by plant roots. Fired clay substrates (such as Flourite, Turface, etc) tend to have high CECs, unlike completely inert substrates such as sand, quartz, gravel, etc.
 

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All substrates wear out over time as it leeches out even ADA. All of those are good I just like SMS, Turface, and PFS because I don't have to worry about them adding anything to the tank that I didn't want in it.

I've never had problems with keeping things down in SMS or Turface as long as you put enough in the tank 2.5 to 3 inches does the trick well and cleaning it isn't that hard you just can't go nuts with the gravel vac. The only times I've seen it be to light is when they only have 1 to 2 inches and then planting and holding isn't so fun.

- Brad
 

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If all the iron leeched out of Flourite it wouldn't stay red LOL

CEC doesn't "leech" either.

I've had the same Flourite in tanks for over 4 years with no discernable difference whatsoever in plant growth.

IMO it's more likely a person will rescape out of boredom than exhaust the nutrient capacity of a substrate- particularly in a low tech tank. High tech may be a different story.... but the vast majority of high tech tanks require water column dosage anyways as the plants are growing so exponentially fast.
 

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I'm sorry I don't follow your humor lauraleellbp the color of Flourite has nothing to do with the Fe count nor did I say that the "cec" gets leeched out unless you think the word "traces" means "cec"? which it doesn't.

It might be easier to follow if people stop thinking that only high-tech tanks should have ferts added I dose my low-light tanks just not to the amounts that I do my high-tech's so it doesn't matter if I use Eco, Flourite, SMS, or PFS there all the same the only way it's different is if you add ADA or MFS into the mix those would be a better substrate.

- Brad
 

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if you look here you will see what i suggest. I currently have 3 tanks with this in it. I have 1/2" sand as a base, mixed the floor dry with the recommended amount of laterite, for about a 1" layer and also put laterite in spots where I was going to plant, then capped off 1 1/2" with geo-system(its cheap) or flourite. so far i've seen great growth in 2 out of three, the third was just tore down and redone on sunday, so time will tell.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You can certainly dose low tech tanks if you want to.

I prefer setups that don't require it. It's very possible to set up low tech tanks that need no other nutrients than what comes from the livestock; CO2 from their respiration and all the macros and micros from their waste. So it doesn't matter then what substrate you use, other than one that will hold down the plants and of an appropriate size to encourage both root growth and discourage anaerobic spots.

If you maintain regular water changes on a low tech tank (which I also do) then it's preferable to use a substrate that has a good CEC so that the plants don't lose too many nutrients each time you do a water change.

These are the main reasons that I recommend the substrates I do, especially for first time planted tanks.

And FWIW, it's the iron content that makes regular Flourite red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks alot! that made things alot simpler! I have been thinking of getting Flourite or PFS, but could I combine both? By the way, I will be upgrading my light to a T5 soon! Thanks again! Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Would DIY Co2 work?
 
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