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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to planted tanks, but have had a 75 gallon non planted cichlid tank for years. The current setup has been going for about 6 years or so. I talked to a local LFS that I trust and they sold me a 50 lb. bag or the Red Flint small gravel that he said I could mix with the existing gravel (only had about 2 inches of larger natural colored aquarium gravel).

I mixed the Red Flint Gravel in with the existing gravel, but when I look at it, I feel like I should add more for a better mixture.

Is it bad to go too deep with the substrate? Also, should I mix something like Flourite or alternative with what I have, can I get by with just adding more Red Flint gravel or sand, and if I do, should I just add it to the top of what I have or mix it in?

Now that I've committed to mixing the 50 lbs I already put in, I really don't want to get rid of the existing substrate.

I plan to stick to the easier to grow plants at first with 130watt CF that I have ordered. And perhaps trade in the one cichlid I have left along with the Large Pleco, for a shoal of Danios and perhaps some Otto Cats.

Thanks
 

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The rule of thumb is to only put 3 inches of substrate in the tank I'd follow it if it was me.

As long as the Red Flint is aquarium safe (no pH or ammonia swings) and it's in the 1mm-3mm size range it's fine as a substrate and it's up to you if you want to mix or layer it with other stuff it's a very subjective call.

The best way to feed the plants is to add water column ferts ether brand name liquids or the much cheaper dry ferts you mix yourself. Even with low-light plants they make a difference. The occasional root tabs for rooted plants give a bit extra boost and the Seachem brand is easy to get and it's cheap.

- Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well the 50 lbs. of Red Flint is in that size range and was made for aquarium use supposedly and is what they use in the planted tank at the LFS, but the gravel I mixed it with was regulare aquarium gravel that was larger. I wish I had replaced it now instead of mixing. I had originally thought that I did not want to lose the years of nutrient built up in the existing gravel. Those larger gravel pieces are just sitting there mocking me now even though the red Flint has filled in all the gaps between the larger gravel.

I'll have to measure it and see if I can get away with a layer of the smaller stuff just on top to make it look better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So should I eat the $25 I spent on the Red Flint Gravel, and start from scratch on my substrate since my original gravel (that I mixed my red flint gravel with) is probably too large?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I rigged up a screen that has about 3 mm openings out of items I found in my garage. I'm about half way through separating the old larger gravel from the Red Flint gravel I added to it. Looks as if I am getting about 95% of the larger gravel removed. I think I will then add more Red Flint Gravel and sand along with 2 or 3 bags of flourite black sand. Hopefully I will end up with a very fine sandy small gravel substrate with some nutrients from the flourite and very few larger gravel pieces strewn throughout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can't believe I just sorted about 70 of the 75 pounds of larger gravel from the 50 pounds of tiny gravel that I never should have mixed in to start with, doh. Next stop, LFS for more Red Flint Sand and Gravel and some Flourite (maybe black sand)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I now have 100 lbs of Red Flint small gravel and sand. Also put in 30 lbs. of flourite under it. My substrate is now done for better or worse. ;-)

I will post some pics once I get some plants in it.
 
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