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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unfortunately for me, my local fish shop doesnt sell any form of plant substrate :confused1:...

So I've been looking for alternatives, and I've come across Peat Moss. Currently I have standard gravel in my tank, that I am presuming has built up nutrients over the last year or so. Im in the process of turning my tank into a planted tank.

Is it okay to get rid of my old gravel and put a layer of Peat Moss on the bottom of the tank and then a layer of Pool filter sand over it? I dont like the look of my gravel anymore so I want to convert to sand. Would this work, and would I need to re-cycle the tank if I do so? Or do you suggest I keep the old gravel and just add peat moss instead?
 

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I have used a thin layer of peat moss under schultz aquatic soil. I don't know if I'd use a thick layer. It will swing the pH of your substrate down, which isn't necessarily a bad think but I don't think you want it too low.
Have you looking into Mineralized Soil? Myself and others are having great success using this method...
http://gwapa.org/wordpress/articles/mineralized-soil-substrate/
 

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It just depends on what your trying to do with your tank, the old substrate is fine as long as it's in the 1mm to 3mm size range (which is what pool filter sand is).

Peat Moss alone is not enough for plants as it's not a true fert nor is the fish poop alone for most fast growing rooted plants or non-rooted plants. You probably need to focus on what type of liquid/tab fert regiment and your lighting needs will be for your plants.

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ugh, I just phoned my local plant nursery and the only thing they sell from the list of what is needed is the topsoil...great...

I'm pretty much in a position where i cant get any specific aquarium stuff, my city is so annoying... Any more suggestions?
 

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Ugh, I just phoned my local plant nursery and the only thing they sell from the list of what is needed is the topsoil...great...

I'm pretty much in a position where i cant get any specific aquarium stuff, my city is so annoying... Any more suggestions?

How big is the tank? If it's a small tank (under 30gal) you could buy Eco or Fluorite online for the iron content or if it's a big tank you could go with pool filter sand from a pool/spa store very cheap or look into a local Lesco/John Deere dealer for SMS or Turface for inert substrate.

Or you could do a mix of Fluorite with Turface.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My pet store does have some form of liquid fertilizer, but I'm not sure on the details.

I just visited another pet store thats not as big as the other one, and i noticed they sell substrate. The make seems a little iffy though, its nothing like eco-complete or whatever. It comes in the form of tiny white stones and sells at quite a price. Do you think I should invest in this instead of peat moss, and then put a layer of pool filter sand over for more depth and a greater effect?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How big is the tank? If it's a small tank (under 30gal) you could buy Eco or Fluorite online for the iron content or if it's a big tank you could go with pool filter sand from a pool/spa store very cheap or look into a local Lesco/John Deere dealer for SMS or Turface for inert substrate.

Or you could do a mix of Fluorite with Turface.
Its a 25gal tank, buying online is more of a drastic alternative, because I live far away from...well...everything, so shipping costs are a nightmare
 

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Don't dismiss the mineralized topsoil idea, just because you don't have the listed ingredients. The idea is good anyway, and is more flexible that you would expect from reading that sticky. All you are trying to do is convert any ammonia compounds in the topsoil to nitrate compounds. You do that by repeated soaking and drying of the topsoil. Once you have done that for a few cycles, you can use the topsoil, covered with an inch or so of pool filter sand. If you want to try to come close to the recipe in the sticky, look for other calcium carbonate forms, like cuttlebone (sold for birds) or crushed coral, or crushed limestone. All you need is a dusting of the bottom of the tank, not much at all. For the muriate of potash, I suggest just ignoring that part. Potassium is almost all picked up by the plant leaves from the water anyway. And, clay may already be in your "topsoil" in adequate amounts, but if not, there is clay almost everywhere in the world.

If you live near a river, look for deposits of river silt along that river, like at big curves in the river. Use that in place of the topsoil, and you have a very nutrient rich soil, which after being mineralized, is very good under pool filter sand.

The best substrate I have ever used, for good plant growth, was river silt topped by a layer of soilmaster, which is a fired clay product, but pool filter sand would have been almost as good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
okay, you just gave me new hope! :D
I can do all that and I live right near a river.
...well, in actual fact by a river mouth, the silt may be fairly salty... Is there anything I need to do to rid the silt of any organisms? Im thinking I should stay away from the silt actually... I don't want to introduce salt into the tank.

Okay, I'll look in to the topsoil idea again, I can make this work :D thanks for your help
 

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substrate for 125 gal.

Gentlemen,

As I have this one huge tank (125gal.), what might be your suggestions as to what type of substrate/mix to put in...and to what depth?
Am I hearing that just using pool filter sand would be enough to have a successful substrate?

Bob
 

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Gentlemen,

As I have this one huge tank (125gal.), what might be your suggestions as to what type of substrate/mix to put in...and to what depth?
Am I hearing that just using pool filter sand would be enough to have a successful substrate?

Bob

Pool Filter Sand would work fine as long as you dose a liquid ferts. Personally I like SMS/Turface myself and it's pretty cheap at $10~$20 a 50lb bag tho pool filter sand is half that price for the same amount.

- Brad
 

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I have only pool filter sand in my 45 gallon tank right now, with a reverse flow under gravel filter, and with CO2 enriched water entering the tank through the RFUG. My plants grow well. This doesn't surprise me because all plants can feed themselves through the leaves about as well, if not better, than through the roots. But, the "best" substrate is one with nutrients in it, whether it is mineralized topsoil or ADA Aquasoil. So, if I had to find a substrate for a 125 gallon tank, and had a limited budget, I would get out a shovel, look for some good topsoil in my neighborhood (river silt, for example), and make my own. But, I would use pool filter sand as the top layer. With the money I would save I would buy a good pressurized CO2 system.
 

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How big is the tank? If it's a small tank (under 30gal) you could buy Eco or Fluorite online for the iron content or if it's a big tank you could go with pool filter sand from a pool/spa store very cheap or look into a local Lesco/John Deere dealer for SMS or Turface for inert substrate.

Or you could do a mix of Fluorite with Turface.
I love Fluorite. :flick:
 
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