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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tank has been running 8 months. Half of the time i can hardly get the water to be clear, if left for a week turnks very milky. All water aprameters are great. I have narrowed it down to the kitty litter I have used. Basicaly, after repeated water changes to get the water clear, I go to move a plant or plant a new one, i break through the black beuty cap to the soil/clay mix and all the clay comes up into the water column and stays there. Seems my polishing pads in the FX5 dont catch enough of it either. I used floragrow (i think thats what is called) on my old 15g and water was crystal all the time.

So..what is a good, cheap alternative to use that will provide nutrition to my plants and not cause a ton of sediment. Planning on black beuty but it is completely inert..Base layer of something else?




Bump: I should add I am planning on making it heavily planted still.
My old sub was abotu 100 lbs of soil, 50 pounds of natural clay kitty litter, and about 55 lbs of black beuty blasting sand.

Would like to keep it as low maintenance as possible. I understand doing all blasting sand has no CEC properties and is inert which would require dosing? Or would the bio load be sufficient?

125g,
FX5
6 discus
2 yellow spotted bushy plecos
6 cories
30ish tetras
 

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I too wanted to suggest this but with fear getting beat up!
Some are dead set against it, it is way better than kitty litter.
$5.99 for 40lbs. @ tractor supply.
Consider pre-charging if needed.
 

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Eco complete is the worst. It provides no nutrients, so why they get to call it complete is beyond me, and it is the most frustrating thing to try and plant in....
IMHO
You hate having your soil escape when you try to move things around? Imagine that battle only the substrate on top will not hold the plants down and they float as soon as you let them go. It was by far the worst investment since I joined the hobby.


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I like the look of eco-complete and was going to buy more of it but went cheap and capped it off with black diamond blasting sand after seeing burr740's aquarium. There has been some residue on the surface of the water I have shop vac'd off but overall I love the look of it and it's easy to plant in. It's $8.50 at TSC.
 

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Safe-T-Sorb, Oil-Dri, Turface and similar products, including some kitty litter are all montmorillonite clays.
High CEC.
Depending on how long it is baked makes it fall apart in the tank (kitty litter) or last longer (the oil adsorbing and playing field products).

ALL substrates will hold decomposing mulm, so if this is what is making the water murky, you will not get away from it. Every time you dig up a plant or move a rock there will be clouds in the water.

If it is actually the kitty litter decomposing (and it will- just think how long it is supposed to last... Would the manufacturer use more energy to bake it longer to make it last longer? Why bother?) then a similar material that is baked longer will be better.
 

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I have PFS in my 36 gallon and it was much easier to plant in than eco-complete. I like the look of eco-complete though and it is very clean and has a good CEC value. Root tabs won't hurt no matter what substrate you go with. If you want cheap, easy, and clean (after several rinsings), go with PFS or black diamond blasting sand.

Eco complete has CEC, where as the sands are inert, so decide what's better for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the offer but i really like the look of the blasting media, the corys love it too.

From whati understand black beuty is coal slag not sand, which has alot of minerals in it already.
Typical Chemical Composition

Silicon Dioxide= 47.20%,
Aluminum oxide= 21.39%,
Titanium dioxide= 1.01%,
Ferric oxide= 19.23%,
Calcium oxide= 6.80%,
Magnesium Oxide= 1.47%,
Potassium Oxide= 1.60% and
Sodium Oxide= 0.62%



I read people will just place some root tabs in every so often and plants grow great in black beuty.
8 bucks for 50 lbs at TSC
 

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If you are pulling your plants and rescaping on a regular basis then that requires a cap is going to come up to some degree. I would suggest bdbs and fert tabs near the root feeders.
 

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Try getting a bigger filter. I find that even with aquasoil or gravel topsoil there's always sediment if you frequently uproot things and it all gets mixed together eventually. So a strong filter clears everything more effectively. Milkiness is usually bacteria so a good uv should clear it up quickly.

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From whati understand black beuty is coal slag not sand, which has alot of minerals in it already.
Typical Chemical Composition

Silicon Dioxide= 47.20%,
Aluminum oxide= 21.39%,
Titanium dioxide= 1.01%,
Ferric oxide= 19.23%,
Calcium oxide= 6.80%,
Magnesium Oxide= 1.47%,
Potassium Oxide= 1.60% and
Sodium Oxide= 0.62%
This list is what the material is actually made of, the geological events have forced these minerals into such close contact they do not come out of the material to support the plants.

This is like saying you get your daily mineral requirements because your dinner plate is made of the right minerals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^thanks for that link, great prices too! Hopefully place a large order next few months to get my jungle look going.

anyway last saturday spent the day with my wife taking out th eold sub and putting in 3.5 bags of the BDBS. <2" in the front so carpeting plants can establish themsleves about 3-4" in the rear and corners. Amazing, overnigth it cleared up, changed my floss once and it is pristine water. Has never been this clear since i set my tank up over half a eyar ago!. WIll be placing root tabs in every so often to help the plants grow. The discus love it!


 
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