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I just finished removing all the gravel from my low tech 75g tank and replacing it with coarse sand. As I was taking the old gravel out, I noticed a lot of black grit that looked liked ground up charcoal. I finally realized that the black stuff was the remains of the Seachem Flourish Tabs that I had been putting into the gravel substrate over the years. Yuck. The sand I’m using now is CaribSea Peace River and I’m wondering if the Flourish Tabs will be the best substrate additive in the long run? I really like the look of the sand and I’m worried about the accumulation of black grit from the Tabs. I use Thrive C as my fertilizer for the water column. Should I switch to Thrive Tabs? Which substrate fertilizer gives the best results over time?
 

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I just finished removing all the gravel from my low tech 75g tank and replacing it with coarse sand. As I was taking the old gravel out, I noticed a lot of black grit that looked liked ground up charcoal. I finally realized that the black stuff was the remains of the Seachem Flourish Tabs that I had been putting into the gravel substrate over the years. Yuck. The sand I’m using now is CaribSea Peace River and I’m wondering if the Flourish Tabs will be the best substrate additive in the long run? I really like the look of the sand and I’m worried about the accumulation of black grit from the Tabs. I use Thrive C as my fertilizer for the water column. Should I switch to Thrive Tabs? Which substrate fertilizer gives the best results over time?
API Root tabs are equally as widely available at a lot of box stores and don't have the black aesthetic. They've worked okay for me. If you do a little research and figure out what's in the tabs instead of just the brand names you can compare and find more affordable no name brand tabs (or make your own). I ordered a bunch of no name brand tabs from chewy, I think, that work great and cost me $30 for a whole years worth (for my 40B).
 

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I wouldn't pay for Thrive - huge waste of cash. I'd take @Plinkploop's suggestion and go the API or cheaper route. Or even use Osmocote, though not all are tank-suitable.

For liquid ferts, I'd also suggest mixing your own. Dry ferts will cost you $10-$15 for years & years worth. There are tons of calculators online to help you figure out how much of each to add to your mix.

My preferred method is to make my own. Get some iron-rich red clay, mix in dry ferts, knead, roll into little balls and air dry. Best part? almost nothing is left over in the substrate. It all gets used up.
 
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