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Substrate help

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i am setting up a 30 gallon tank, and i want it to be planted, (no duh i am on a planted tank forum) but whatever, i want to do like one inch of sand (what type of sand should i use?) then an inch of potting mix (what type should i use? please be super specific!) then like 1.5 inches of that special plant gravel mixed with some normal gravel (what type of special plant gravel should i use?). that is it, please respond and be super specific:help:.
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Sand would be fine. You'd want to use pool filter sand, but be careful of potting soil and the type you use. You don't want to use anything with fertilizers in it. Potting soil can be quite messy too. On top of this section is a thread on MTS. You may want to read that. I've never used "just" potting soil, but I do use MTS. The problem with most potting soil is that they contain fertilizers, that if leached into the your tank can wreak havoc. Many also contain a lot of wood chips that can make a mess of your tank as well. Also becareful of the so-called "organic" potting soils. They aren't always what they appear to be. One more note... I don't believe you want to use "potting mix", as this will surely contain things that you don't want in your tank.
 

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i want to do like one inch of sand then an inch of potting mix.
then like 1.5 inches of that special plant gravel mixed with some normal gravel
Pool filter sand or river sand is the best. One rinse of pool filter sand from Lowe's worked fine for me. If you are going to put rock over it, I would just put a fingers width of sand over the dirt.

For potting soil some use miracle grow organic, which is a product recommended by Diane Walsted. Some have ammonia spikes with this in the beginning. I just used Scott's top soil mixed with cactus soil. Had to sift mulch out. Read one got top soil from True Value hardware store that didn't have much mulch in it.
 

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She means to put a different layer of substrate on top of the dirt so the dirt wouldn't get into the water column. In Laura's case it was her fluorite mix...for you it would be the sand that you're thinking about getting.

I guess I was a bit too slow haha
 

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Flourite is a good choice, as it will readily absorb nutrients for later use but won't release anything into the water column causing a pH shift or an ammonia spike. You can use it on its own or as a cap for a shallow layer or MTS or that particular Miracle Gro (don't buy a different type). Using root tabs is always a good idea. Any other dosing should be done via the water column once you have plants in there. In a 30g you'll probably want 2 bags of Flourite ($40-ish plus shipping for new), which comes in a few colors and a couple granule sizes. Use http://www.mizuworld.com/pages/calculator to doublecheck the amount. You'll want 3-4 inches total substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update!!

i just went to AA (aquarium adventure) and got myself 2 dwarf lilys
those aren't my tanks, i am too lazy to take pics of my real tank but those pics will give you a general idea
i am planning on taking my cichlids out because they might kill my plants.
also i am asking if i need any additives for these plants. just so they will grow better
 

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