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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am changing substrate to organic soil. I plan on capping it with Fluorite and maybe <1inch pool sand between the soil and fluorite.
So I have a few questions....Is there any benefit to putting sand in between the layers??
Also, is there anything I should put on the very bottom before the soil, i.e. potash or laterite or red clay??
Will I be able to put my fish back in the tank after the dust settles? Or are there chemical changes I need to watch for first??

Any input is appreciated :biggrin:
 

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If you mineralize your soil before you put it in the tank, you can almost add fish right away if you have an established filter. But I still would wait couple of days to a week before you put fish in there., and watch your water parameters (Ammonia, Nitrite)
 

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Things can bump (water parameters) using dirt so I stock slowly after setting up a tank.
Never saw a cycle on the lower tank in this thread but have in others.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/t...bum/131940-stainless-2-story-56k-warning.html

Also used additions like clay on this tank too but thats in the setup information of the thread at the bottom of page #1.

Soil layer of 1.5 - 2" and a cap of 1" works well for me.

Based on your question I would read a bit more before making the change.
Forewarned is forarmed.
That said I have no dirt tanks that I am unhappy with and set more up all the time it seems.
 

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I like the addition of reptile coconut bark under my substrate, for it adds Co2 to the substrate.

I only used sand between dirt and top gravel when I used gravel larger than 5ml., for otherwise it would come up into the water.

Noticed that you asked JoeDizzleMPLS about black substrate. A cheap version is Black Diamond Blasting sand. Found some at Northern Tool & Equipment Co. dbLbogie got a big bag for $4.99 from a Tractor Supply Co.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like the addition of reptile coconut bark under my substrate, for it adds Co2 to the substrate.

I only used sand between dirt and top gravel when I used gravel larger than 5ml., for otherwise it would come up into the water.

Noticed that you asked JoeDizzleMPLS about black substrate. A cheap version is Black Diamond Blasting sand. Found some at Northern Tool & Equipment Co. dbLbogie got a big bag for $4.99 from a Tractor Supply Co.
Thanks. I think I may have decided against the soil. I think I am going to use Turface Black if I can find it due to it's high CEC. I asked about soil because I felt I needed something softer under the Turface so the roots might spread easier, but after talking to jetajockey (all day I might add, what a nice guy!!) I think plain old Turface will be best for me.

I appreciate everybody's help :D:D:D
 

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I like the addition of reptile coconut bark under my substrate, for it adds Co2 to the substrate.

I only used sand between dirt and top gravel when I used gravel larger than 5ml., for otherwise it would come up into the water.

Noticed that you asked JoeDizzleMPLS about black substrate. A cheap version is Black Diamond Blasting sand. Found some at Northern Tool & Equipment Co. dbLbogie got a big bag for $4.99 from a Tractor Supply Co.
Coconut bark I'm guessing is an added neutral source of organic materials to provide carbon via the biological breakdown preformed by Heterotrophic Bacteria.
I've recently tried a sand tank using the black beauty blasting media and so far (3+months) see it working OK and can't imagine anything 'blacker' looking for a base. This is my test tank.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/143352-another-npt-ds-dirt-tank.html
Thanks. I think I may have decided against the soil. I think I am going to use Turface Black if I can find it due to it's high CEC. I asked about soil because I felt I needed something softer under the Turface so the roots might spread easier, but after talking to jetajockey (all day I might add, what a nice guy!!) I think plain old Turface will be best for me.

I appreciate everybody's help :D:D:D
Using soils is not to provide 'softer material' but to fertilize the plants giving them the raw materials they need to grow. Turface like the more costly Flourite has a high CEC but that is the ability to exchange ions not support plant growth. Turface is kiln fired at a lower temperature then Flourite and has less density so it's 'lighter'. The weight in the grain matters not to the plants but it does move easier.
Posting this just to make sure it's clear to the OP that Turface and it's higher CEC in and of itself provides nothing to promote plant growth. Nutrients will need to be provided to maintain plant growth either root tab supplement or water column dosing (preferred is both) supporting the plant growth all around.

With dirt in the substrate I can maintain a tank adding nothing else once established. I have a 2 year old system that's proven this to me.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wkndracer-I do believe that soil is probably best, I am new to scaping so I know there will be a lot of rearranging. I think the soil is a bit above my level of experience for now.
That black diamond is super black. Since it is sand there is probably no CEC???
Also aware that nutrients will have to be provided with the Turface, but the cost compared to Fluorite is a huge saving. I am having a problem finding Turface or SMS, so I might end up going with fluorite.

Hilde-kitty litter is the same material, some is even made by the same company that makes SMS (OilDri), but I think it is fired at a lower temp and less stable than SMS or Turface.
 

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good research :proud:
and agree with what your posting back.

Testing oil dry here last year soaking it in a glass of water after about a week I was able to crush most of it between my fingers so the feeling was it would break down in the tank over time like Florabase does.

The gains in stability and plant growth with the CEC I can't speak to the benefits with and without as I always have had it. Many post beautiful tanks with sand alone and water dosing so without the CEC they do very well, just haven't tried it here until now.

Look forward to your tank posts as it looks to be thoughtfully setup on making the changes.
 

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I had awesome amazing root growth with Turface, where one crypt's roots took up almost half of my 20T when I pulled it. I used a lot of root tabs though (Rootmedic). When I stopped using the tabs, the growth slowed noticeably even with EI.

That being said, I might be making the dirt jump also, to save time and try another approach. Maybe turface can be incorporated in the dirt to sequester nutrients??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had awesome amazing root growth with Turface, where one crypt's roots took up almost half of my 20T when I pulled it. I used a lot of root tabs though (Rootmedic). When I stopped using the tabs, the growth slowed noticeably even with EI.

That being said, I might be making the dirt jump also, to save time and try another approach. Maybe turface can be incorporated in the dirt to sequester nutrients??
I wanted to use Turface, but I can't find it anywhere near me.
As far as dirt and Turface I think you could cap the dirt with the Turface.
 

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Was thinking of going sand, but that might work, got plenty left over.

Do you have a John Deere Landscaping supply? That's where I got mine

edit: I found one 36 miles from Warren

Branch 705
Address 1970 S Van **** Rd
Appleton WI 54914 USA
Phone 920-733-2298
Fax 920-733-2375
Email [email protected]
Distance Approx. 36 Miles

More distributers: http://www.turface.com/distributors/state/
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Was thinking of going sand, but that might work, got plenty left over.

Do you have a John Deere Landscaping supply? That's where I got mine

edit: I found one 36 miles from Warren

Branch 705
Address 1970 S Van **** Rd
Appleton WI 54914 USA
Phone 920-733-2298
Fax 920-733-2375
Email [email protected]
Distance Approx. 36 Miles

More distributers: http://www.turface.com/distributors/state/
I called John Deere/Lesco, local construction companies, athletic field material suppliers, garden centers, hydroponic stores (because I guess people use it for bonsai trees and orchids)

That one you posted is in Wisconsin. Wierd though because I live near Van **** Road in Warren. Thank you so much for the effort :biggrin::biggrin:

The only distributors listed on the Turface site that was near me was the John Deere. I even checked for Diamond Dry and Pro's Choice, also just asked places if they carry any generic calcinated clay.

I do have a new thread asking if anyone knows where to get it, but I need an exact location where someone knows it is sold. Just because I have called EVERYWHERE, so I really don't need suggestions on where to call. I hope that doesn't sound snarky, it's just futile to suggest places to call since I have called everything near me.

If I can't find it I will just have to pay an arm and leg and one of my kid's eyeballs for Fluorite.

So I guess I don't need help with soil substrate anymore. I just really need help finding Turface/SMS/Diamond Dry/any calcinated clay in GRAY or BLACK.

Thanks again mattycakes.
 

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Some use oil dry, which has a similar color. That is the oil dry in automotive dept. Don't know if it is safe for fish. Perhaps you could start a thread to see if any use it with success.

Cheapest substrate is top soil topped with river sand. I used Scott's top soil and sifted it before wetting it. Got it at Wal-mart. River sand I got for $3 a big bag at landscaper co. Read that True Value hardware store has top soil with very little particles in it. This is what is called El Natural way
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The oil dri is safe, but the color is very light. It works the same as the Turface, etc. $4 for 50lbs at Walmart for anyone interested. It just isn't the color that I want :(
I wish I could do soil, but I am not an experienced scaper and I know I will be moving stuff a lot to get it how I want. I'm sure I would just make a big muddy mess of my tank. I will DEFINITELY use it in my next tank.
 

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I wish I could do soil, but I am not an experienced scaper and I know I will be moving stuff a lot to get it how I want. I'm sure I would just make a big muddy mess of my tank. I will DEFINITELY use it in my next tank.
I have been using soil. I once move the soil up one side. Never have a problem with it. Only time I had a problem with it was when I had put kitty litter in it. Then when I used play sand and didn't rinse it well I had a sand storm.

I don't see it mentioned for what size tank is this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hilde- It's a 40 gallon tank.
Since I can't find the turface I have decided to go with Fluorite. So now my dilemma is regular fluorite or fluorite black sand. The only reason for the sand option is that I have kuhli loaches and I've read that Fluorite is not good for fish with barbels. I did submit a question to Seachem about it, and of course they say it is safe.
So if anyone has any opinions about regular Fluorite vs Fluorite sand for fish with barbels feel free to leave a comment :)
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Awesome. Thanks.
I also wonder about how well the sand holds plants down.
More importantly- what the CEC is of the sand. I can't seem to find that anywhere. The nutrient level between regular Fluorite and Sand is very different, so I am very curious about the CEC difference. That is, if there is any difference in CEC since the sand is also fracted clay and I'm sure the sand is just pulverized regular Fluorite or the bi-product of the production of Fluorite.
 

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Awesome. Thanks.
I also wonder about how well the sand holds plants down.
More importantly- what the CEC is of the sand. I can't seem to find that anywhere. The nutrient level between regular Fluorite and Sand is very different, so I am very curious about the CEC difference. That is, if there is any difference in CEC since the sand is also fracted clay and I'm sure the sand is just pulverized regular Fluorite or the bi-product of the production of Fluorite.
I'm using Flourite black sand in one of my tanks and it is really easy to plant stuff in. Holds plants just fine.

The other question ?? No idea, sorry.
 
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