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Discussion Starter #1
This has always struck me as funny. Why do bags of Substrate come in number of pounds as opposed to say... ohhh.... a useful measurement like cubic feet? I can tell you the exact amount of substrate I would need for my 60gal cube @ 24"x24" base x 3" thick. Thats 1 cubic foot.

So lets say I want to convert that to a poundage measure so I can get my substrate for the 60gal tank. I am not going to go with sand on this one, I am going to do a very fine black gravel. And I need 1 cubic foot of it. How many pounds is that? I'm guessing its gotta be about 50lbs of it. I REALLY like the Eco-Complete that I used in my girlfriends 5gal Hex tank and I think I want to go with that for the 60gal. Recommendations on number of pounds to get me where I need to be?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
104lbs?!

I think I'll pass :lol:

Normal gravel it is then.
 

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You may want to read the second paragraph of my post here I think we feel the same way. BTW Aqua Soil is measured in volume not weight, atleast 1 company has it right. And Eco has been said not to be much heavier than most other options, just that the bag is filled with water so it makes the product much heavier per bag. When you actually figure out how much your paying for the volume, ECO is the most expensive plant substrate out there, more expensive than Aqua Soil even.
 

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When working with natural materials the density can vary. And due to Government regulations your bag must contain what is stated on the label. It's much easier for automated machinery to fill a 100 lb bag of gravel than to fill a XXX liter bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rex, good insight, never thought of it that way, but it makes sense that the Government would make it harder to use common sense measures when labeling a product :D

Anyway, This Soilmaster stuff you guys are talking about... Why would I only need 1 bag of it? 1 bag is 50lbs.

Again, what am I missing here.

EDIT: Also... I WANT BLACK substrate. I don't want tan, dark tan, brown, red, purple... BLACK as the inside of your hat on a moonless night.
 

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Soilmaster is marketed by a company called profile and the major retailer of it is Lesco. Soilmaster is much lighter then Eco and as such it simply covers more sq footage. Also unlike Eco it shipps dry. So you don't wind up paying for half a bag of water.The water weight is why you wind up having to buy so much Eco.
Example Schultz aquatic soil (similar to SMS) comes in 10lb bags. however it will cover more area then a 20lb bag of eco-complete.

Soilmaster is a very dark grey and may contain some lighter colored chips. But for the most part it is pretty close to black. close enough anyways. and really it dosen't mater since you won't really be seeing the substrate that much since you will have so many plants in there.

I have a mixture of Eco and SMS in my 75. and tho you can def tell the diff between the eco and the SMs its so such a dramatic diff to draw atention away from the plants and livestock.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Where can Schultz be had locally? I thought I heard Home Depot sells it, is this correct?
 

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yeah Home depot keeps them in the section where all the plant foods and ferts are.
Lowes keeps it in the plant section with the pond supply.

...trying to remember the other major chain I seen it......

But really if possible you should go with SMS. the grain size is much preferred for planting smaller stems.
Personally I like the color better also.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, here is the scoop on this tank. My brother bought the tank for me for Christmas. He and I spent a week in the garage, after work, building tank stands and canopies for our tanks. We Built these big beautiful Birch furniture pieces to compliment our tanks. Shortly thereafter I moved out to a new apartment and I have yet to set up the tank that I have had for 2 months already. I have only weekends from here on out to do anything and I am impatient as hell considering that I have had it 2 months already... empty. I just want to go somewhere and purchase it so I don't have to deal with the package being dropped at the door or office building of my apartment.

About smaller stems, I don't plan to plant many if ANY small plants. I will likely be going with a medium amount of lighting @ ~2wpg and No CO2 injection and LOTS of Anubius and other smaller or slow growing plants like crypts.
 

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Actually, SMS is manufactured by Oil-Dri. Profile makes Turface (and Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil). The two are not interchangable as SMS will strip water of its carbonate hardness (KH) while Turface is inert in that respect.

That aspect aside, they're both very lightweight so their volume to weight ratio is very high compared to most other substrates—like comparing 100# of Rice Krispies to 100# of wild rice.

One final note. Neither SMS nor Turface is black. Both are a med-dark gray with flecks of brown. If you want jet black you're looking at either Tahitian Moon Sand or 3M ColorQuartz. The former can be found at an LFS while the latter is sold by pool constuction suppiers (it's used as a color coating in swimming pools)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just got a price on the Schultz. My local Home Depot has the 10lb bags for $6.83 each. A quick calculation shows thats just shy of $40 for 50lbs While this isn't so bad its not as good of a price as Soilmaster Select is.

However, in light of bharada's post I think I will in fact get the Schultz from Home Depot. I may get a bag or 2 of Eco-Complete to cap off certain areas here I may want some Driftwood pieces to lie on a raised portion of "ground."

Thanks guys!

Ninja EDIT: bharada, would you advise against getting some Tahitian Moonsand to cap off the Schultz aqua soil? Perhaps I could layer 2" of each. Considering my tank is 25" tall I wouldn't miss that extra inch.
 

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I would advise against mixing the substrates since the color and grain sizes are radically different. Since the TMS is very fine-grained, and disturbance of the substrate will cause it filter down under the Schultz APS. Eventually you'll have a bunch of tan colored specks perculating through the black sand.

But depending on the amount and type of Crypts you're planning on planting, the color of the substrate may be a moot point as the plants will be covering most all of it. That being the case, if you already have soft water (KH <5) then I'd say go with either SMS or Turface Pro League. If you have harder water then I'd recommend the Turface only since it won't cause your water parameters to shift over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am not sure what the water is like at the new apartment. I am pretty certain we're not on the same water line as I was at the house in the city. That being said, our water was pH 7.2 at the house... And I can't see a radical difference occuring just 10 miles away.
 

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I am not sure what the water is like at the new apartment. I am pretty certain we're not on the same water line as I was at the house in the city. That being said, our water was pH 7.2 at the house... And I can't see a radical difference occuring just 10 miles away.
Get a KH text kit as carbonates seem to be the more critical hardness element in keeping a lot of plants happy.
 

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Some folks have reported serious problems with soilmaster select really dropping their pH/KH, so I think you probably are going the right way with the Schultz, fwiw. Unless you have some rock hard water there, and it sounds like you might not. But where I live within ten miles, some folks have rift lake water, and others have Discus water. just depends.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I forgot to ask, is the Schultz black in color or is it tan?
 
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