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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I'm moving, so I was going to take this opportunity to get a different substrate. I was thinking of a sandy substrate, I have fluorite gravel right now... and I don't really care for it.

But I like how the fluorite seems to make a big difference from just plain old gravel.

What kinds of sandy substrates would be good for plants?
 

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Although I haven't tried it myself because it is so new there is Flourite Black Sand.
 

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Pool filter sand is another option.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What about layering the pool filter sand over my existing fluorite?

I read that to do that you have to push it down into the flourite and keep adding it so it will settle, and then add your final layer on top.

But what about dead spots? how would I mix it up if i have plants... or would just my plants suffice?
 

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It will settle at the bottom no matter what you do as it's a smaller size than the fluorite over a years time unless you add some sort of plastic barrier between them.

As long as you plant the tank heavily the root growth will take care of the dead spots.

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What about pool filter sand with root tabs, do I really need one tab per square inch of gravel surface? That's quite a bit of tabs....
 

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Turface is the replacement product for Lesco's 'SoilMaster Select' (SMS) product line that they discontinued a few years ago (Oil-Dry is the manufacturer for Lesco and John Deere resales it).

It's a good substrate I use it along with the extra bags of SMS I stockpiled for my fishroom (30+ tanks). It's almost exactly like SMS but they added a few new color schemes so you can't go wrong with it just treat it exactly like SMS when reading older forum posts.

I'd recommend it in a heartbeat if your looking to save some money instead of using name brand substrates (ADA/Flourite/Eco/etc).

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I have fluorite gravel already, I wanted to change to some sort of sand. From what I've seen, it seems like the turface is rather coarse, like a gravel.

I really like the look of sand, and from what I've read, some of my fish would prefer sand.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yea, I had thought I had pretty much decided on PFS... so should I mix the flouorite into it, or layer it on top, or take out the fluorite all together and completely replace it with the PFS and add root tabs?

Also, how do I use root tabs, I read that you need one for every square inch of gravel surface, is that true?? or do I just put one under the substrate near each plant that absorbs its nutrients from the substrate?
 

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Turface is the replacement product for Lesco's 'SoilMaster Select' (SMS) product line that they discontinued a few years ago (Oil-Dry is the manufacturer for Lesco and John Deere resales it).

I'd recommend it in a heartbeat if your looking to save some money instead of using name brand substrates (ADA/Flourite/Eco/etc).

- Brad
I was so disappointed when I discovered soilmaster had been discontinued. That's great news.
I had read about soilmaster on here when I first found the forum a while ago (when I was a younger lad). Before that, I was using sand alone. It was sandbox sand from Home Depot. I put nearly 4 inches of it in my tank. What a horrible idea. Along with not knowing about CO2 fertilization at the time, compaction of the substrate and lack of mineral nutrition gave my plants a slow and steady decay rate. Good times.
 

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Usually you layer the PFS on-top but over time it will settle towards the bottom.
You can mix it or use just it by itself.

~

I put one root tab by each rooted plant instead of covering the whole tank like the directions read it just seems like a way to sell more tabs.

- Brad
 

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Yea, I had thought I had pretty much decided on PFS... so should I mix the flouorite into it, or layer it on top, or take out the fluorite all together and completely replace it with the PFS and add root tabs?

Also, how do I use root tabs, I read that you need one for every square inch of gravel surface, is that true?? or do I just put one under the substrate near each plant that absorbs its nutrients from the substrate?
If you add sand on top of the Flourite it will eventually settle down between the cracks so you might as well mix it all together to begin with or remove the Flourite completely. You might add some Malaysian trumpet snails (aka MTS) to the tank because they will burrow beneath the surface of the substrate looking for food (thus eliminating potential dead spots) and are safe for plants.

Not all root tabs require 1 being placed for each square inch of gravel surface. Seachem recommends placing 1 Flourish Tab for every 4-6 inches of radius which they say requires 6 in a 10 gallon tank for full coverage. IME though if you place them near the bases of heavy root feeders like swords you may only need 2 or 3 in a tank that size.
 
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