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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on making a 2 gallon planted bowl. I have about 2 quarts of Eco complete left from my other tank, I 'd like to use in it. In this bowl I'd like to make a small path of white sand, but I'm worried that the sand will just escape into the Eco-complete on each side of it. So I began to wonder if it would work if I crushed the Eco-complete into a more sand like consistency. From what I understand CaribSea used to make Eco-complete that came in sand size, but discontinued it a while ago. I was able to crush a few pieces pretty easily. Can anyone think of any problems I might run into if I try this?
 

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I can't comment on the efficacy of reducing grain size on preventing the intermixing of different substrate media. Although logically, I don't see how it would help. Have you ever seen those sand art bottles where scenery is created out of different colored sands placed on top of one another? Remember how you have to be really careful not to move it too much 'lest all the different colored sands mix together, unless your brother pisses you off and it's the only way for you to get revenge because even if he beats you up, his prized possession is still f&^% so what's up? :cool: Well, I am thinking the same is going to happen to the pretty white sand and the pretty black Eco-Complete sand.

Years ago, I crushed Eco-Complete (foolishly with a blender because I didn't feel like sitting around with a hammer, crushing individual Eco-Complete pieces: ruined 3 of them and got beat up by my parents) because I wanted smaller grain sizes for my Marsilea minuta carpet. It worked wonderfully. Not what you were asking, but there's that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can't comment on the efficacy of reducing grain size on preventing the intermixing of different substrate media. Although logically, I don't see how it would help.
The thought is that there will be less space between each piece, so fewer places for the sand to go. I do realize that if I stir up the bowl it'll all get mixed up. I'm also considering just using white or light gravel for the path. I'll just have to make sure that what I find to do it with is inert. I have problems with the wrong rocks skyrocketing my pH.
Years ago, I crushed Eco-Complete (foolishly with a blender because I didn't feel like sitting around with a hammer, crushing individual Eco-Complete pieces: ruined 3 of them and got beat up by my parents) because I wanted smaller grain sizes for my Marsilea minuta carpet. It worked wonderfully. Not what you were asking, but there's that.
It's nice to know that it does in fact work out.
 

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I to use pool filter sand as my top substrate in a 75 gallon planted tank I am setting due to the appearance of sand. I did want to do a nutrient rich substrate and am concerned water quality would not be as good with a dirted tank.

The PFS is .45 to .55 mm and nutrient rich substrates are larger so I was worried about PFS falling to the bottom and I came up with the idea of crushing nutrient rich substrate smaller than the .45 so it would stay under the sand. Have a few questions:

1. Does crushing it change its ability to keep and release nutrients(I can't see why it would)?

2. Which nutrient substrate (Eco complete, Flourite, Amazonia soil, or any is the easiest to work with for crushing, (either because the nutrient substrate is too hard to crush or just disinegrates to easy)?

3. If I crush the nutrient substrate small enough, the PFS shoud stay on top correct?

4. What mixture should I use? one inch nutrient substrate with 2 inches PFS or half and half?

I haven't found much commentary on this so any knowledgeable feedback would be great. JW.CS, is the only one I have seen do it and wouldn't mind hearing more from you.
 

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1. Does crushing it change its ability to keep and release nutrients(I can't see why it would)?
I have no idea. What exactly are you trying to achieve? A nutrient rich substrate so you don't have to fiddle with the water column? There are better altervatives: Aquasoil is what folks are getting wet for these days. If you like the appearance of PFS the I suppose that you'd want to see it 24/7, meaning not covering up portions of it with plants. If that's the case, then partition the tank (instead of capping) and only add the PFS to those areas that you'd want to leave bare then vaccumn, remove and replace the PFS as needed like how many of these aquascapers are doing in these amazingly beautiful tanks that you see online. Maintenance seems like a...ooohhhhh look, doggie!!!! *pets*

2. Which nutrient substrate (Eco complete, Flourite, Amazonia soil, or any is the easiest to work with for crushing, (either because the nutrient substrate is too hard to crush or just disinegrates to easy)?
I only have experience with Eco-Complete, Controsoil-like products, inert substrates and bare-bottom tanks. I neither find Eco-Complete easy to crush nor find the hassle worth it unless you have some highly specialized application in mind. Your stated purpose above does not warrant the expense or effort IMHO. There are better nutrient-rich subtrates available. Eco-Complete was the rage in the early 2000s but I'd hardly think it's "competitive" these days.

As for myself, there is no freaking way that I am going to mix different substrates or layering anything over anything else ever again. It's all going to get mixed sooner or later, unless you are either OCD in upkeep, OCD in laziness or really into ephemeral setups. Too much trouble.

In fact, I am doing away with substrates all together. Non-epiphytic plants are either in its own mini-pots of whatever black substrate I have available or lodged in my other plants. This is my main tank, utilizing NO substrate. There are only 2 cups holding my cute Cryptocoryne lutea 'Hobbit'. The stem plants are lodged in my other epiphytes. They grow just frickin' fine...in fact, kinda fast or indistinguishable from when I had them in the substrate. You can see the Ludwigia sp. 'Red' in the videos: lodged in Bolbitis and Microsorum. All that mass are branches still attached to the main stem. :D


3. If I crush the nutrient substrate small enough, the PFS shoud stay on top correct?
Theoretically, yes.........bbbuuuuttttt, in real life applications, every time those layers are disturbed, you are going to get mixing and it takes a lllooooooooonnnnngggggg time for the layers to restratify. I am OCD and I will not tolerate even a speck of black dust on my pristine PFS. Uggghhhh...just don't do it. Or just do it anyway and regret not listening and/or knowing better, like I did. Oooorrrr maybe you'll discover something new. Who knows. Pick a path. It's life. It's not gonna be permanent or irreversible.

4. What mixture should I use? one inch nutrient substrate with 2 inches PFS or half and half?
UGH! I apologize for not replying any earlier. What did you end up doing? Please kindly share your failures/discoveries.

Should I call child protective services?
*laughs* #kink
 
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