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Substrate that doesn't need preping?

1659 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Hilde
I am planning to move from Georgia to Florida. Probably stay in an efficiency for a few months. I don't think it will possible to take all of the substrate, due to weight, with me. Thus looking for a substrate that is cheap and doesn't need a lot of rinsing. My tank is a 29 gallon tank. I will probably down grade to a 20L since it weighs less.

What substrate would work for this situation for a planted tank?
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How cheap?
eco-complete doesnt require prepping but it is not what I would call cheap.
Probably move sometime next year. First going to go back to school. Looking for options now since I have a little extra cash now.

If I got Eco-complete I would need 2 bags, which is too pricey.
Thinking of putting some old substrate down, then Tourmaline power sand and topping it with river sand. I have river sand in a 10 gallon tank. I had to shift particles out but it didn't cloud much.

Would this work? I have never used power sand.
Power sand would be a poor use of limited funds for a substrate. If you will be near a LFS that stocks ADA aquasoil, and doesn't try to sell it at a premium price, that would be a good choice, in my opinion. Each bag contains more volume of substrate than many heavier products, so you don't need as many bags as with some others. It requires no washing or other pre-treatment.

The absolute cheapest is mineralized topsoil, topped with pool filter sand. But, it doesn't seem that you would have the room to do the minerallizing process. So, how about buying it from the swap n shop here? I suggest a PM to Torpedobarb to see if he will have some available when you need it.
you could prep the mineralized top soil before the move and just store it in ziplock bags till you needed it.
When do you plan to travel to Florida :)
I don't know yet! Got to finish Medical Office Assistant certificate program first, 22 weeks. Just pre planning for I have relative pushing me to move back to Florida.

The more I think of this, I think if would be easier if just put the plants in pots in the tank. For I will have to stay in an efficiency for a few months and then break the tank down again.

Aqua soil looks expensive, $28 a bag. Seems it would be cheaper to get Laterite, thus wouldn't need a lot of dirt from the aquarium. Pre pack pots and bag to keep moisture in. Most of my plants are listed weeds so they should bounce back quickly.
There is no comparison between laterite and ADA Aquasoil. Laterite is a source of some iron, and has a high CEC to help plant roots obtain nutrients easier. ADA Aquasoil is a nutrient laden substrate that provides almost all of the needed nutrients for a year or so, and much longer if you fertilizer the water too. Mineralized topsoil is the closest thing to Aquasoil among other substrates, but requires a top layer of something else to prevent continual "cloudy" water.
Seems to the cheapest thing to do is put plants in pots with old substrate and river sand and leave them in the pots until I get settled. Also looking into plant plugs.

I searched for the plant plugs and found that I can buy them locally for $.24. Thus if I can keep the tank with me it would be cheaper and easier to use them. I only have 1 plant 2 plants that need dirt, Ludwiga and sags.

If I have to leave the tank with my mother it seems best to use the ADA aqua soil or Eco-complete. It just depends on what I can find locally.

Thanks everyone for your advise.
Where did you find the plant plugs?
At Atlantis hydroponics listed as Organo Starter Plugs. A tray listed as Super Plugs: 72 Organic Starter Plugs with Tray.

Locations here.
The plugs are cheap but the cost of the baskets adds up. I am thinking it would be cheaper just to prepare some mineralised soil and topping sand before I move. My favorite topping sand is river sand which I get bag for $3 at landscaper. Prepping it I find just requires shifting the debris out. I would like to find something I could lay under the substrate, perhaps the black plastic that landscapers use. Thus when I move again could easily pull the substrate out.

Probably going to downgrade from 29 gallon to a 20 gallon long for it is easier to carry. Might be able to leave the dirt in.
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