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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to see if fast growing stem plants grow well without laterite or nutrient rich substrate. So I set up a 10 gallon 4 months ago with flourite alone. I figured it is less money & all my experience lies with this 1 substrate. I know there may be better , but I am not into a lot of bells & whistles & extra expense. So I figured I grew plants well before with it , but supplemented it with laterite. After all it is a high CEC substrate.
So my project turned out well. The plants are growing very well & look good with NO ALGAE visible. The stems grow well, needle leaf , hygrophila difformis. eladia, microswords, dwarf pearl grass, & other water column plants like java fern & anabius are all doing well also.
So my question is this: Can I successfully grow rosettes like large Amazon swords in flourite without laterite or root tabs using Flourite alone????? I have been very successful to date using dry ferts & would like to stay away from root tabs & nutrient rich substrates as well as laterite, which I use to defend as a must for rosettes & fast growing stems.
While on the subject how about Rotella? Being red leafed?? Most stems are growing really well in straight Flourite with EI dosing using dry ferts, & pressurized CO2 in my tank. Any input from experience would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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My experience with both is no. I tried Flourite once and will never use it again. If I want a nice looking albeit nutrient deficient substrate I'll use sand (which has become my new favorite). Swords always required root tabs when I had them. They even burned through Miracle Grow in about 8 months
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I appreciate the comment, however I do not agree with nutrient deficient substrate. First of all if you go to the seachem page they have a list of all the minerals in it. There are many something like 20 something , plus it has a high CEC which is important when it comes to nutrient exchange. If the correct nutrients are available via water in substrate they will exchange. Now I do not know if you read every word I said in my post. I will repeat, ALL OF MY STEMS & SUBSTRATE PLANTS ARE GROWING WELL. Whats well? Pearling, good color, fast growth, NO ALGAE.
Now I do not know your prior tanks parameters. Not hear to argue, just the facts. Now for you to say Flourite is deficient. Im not buying that. Neither will Seachem. The minerals may be harder for absorption, but the high CEC makes up for that with dry ferts. Now your previous experience could have other variables involving deficient issues with the swords. There are too many to list. For example did you run CO2 pressurized & dose dry ferts & have the correct lighting spectrum to list just a few of the many variables.
Another problem with nutrient rich substates is they can leach excess nutreints into the water causing algae blooms, or relying on annoying root tabs which could cause said issues.
 

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I appreciate the comment, however I do not agree with nutrient deficient substrate. First of all if you go to the seachem page they have a list of all the minerals in it. There are many something like 20 something , plus it has a high CEC which is important when it comes to nutrient exchange. If the correct nutrients are available via water in substrate they will exchange. Now I do not know if you read every word I said in my post. I will repeat, ALL OF MY STEMS & SUBSTRATE PLANTS ARE GROWING WELL. Whats well? Pearling, good color, fast growth, NO ALGAE.
Now I do not know your prior tanks parameters. Not hear to argue, just the facts. Now for you to say Flourite is deficient. Im not buying that. Neither will Seachem. The minerals may be harder for absorption, but the high CEC makes up for that with dry ferts. Now your previous experience could have other variables involving deficient issues with the swords. There are too many to list. For example did you run CO2 pressurized & dose dry ferts & have the correct lighting spectrum to list just a few of the many variables.
Another problem with nutrient rich substates is they can leach excess nutreints into the water causing algae blooms, or relying on annoying root tabs which could cause said issues.
By nutrient deficient I wasn't arguing semantics. Only that Flourite required root tabs. Both tanks had pressurized C02 and ferts dosed to the water column. Lighting on both the 75g and 46g were 3 bulb T5HO fixtures a few inches on top of the tank. My experience is that it was far inferior to potting soil and thus far with the same root tabs, C02, and water dosing a sand substrate is doing just as well. Just my experiences
 

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Unless the substrate breaks down to mud, like some do within a year or two, those nutrients are tightly bound and hardly accessible. Flourite doesn't do that.

And Flourite has only a middling CEC. Better than inert substrates like gravel or sand, but nowhere near some other substrates. Even stuff like Turface and Oildri have better CEC.

I've been using Flourite in my biggest tank for a while, and just switched another tank to it last night. I like it. It's good enough for me. You can grow a big ol' honking swordplant in it with water column ferts alone, or pretty much anything else you want.

It does not *require* laterite or root tabs by any means. But if you add it, that same sword WILL grow bigger, faster, and with an obviously more massive root system. Your choice whether that's important to you. Personally, I don't need it, and should I need to move the sword, I consider pulling up half the substrate in my tank in a massive muddy cloud a downside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes I could see them doing better with soil since there is so much Fe in it to name a few. I would like to try a dirt tank some day myself. I often wondered what a high tech set up would do for a dirt set up.
You see the reason I asked this question is from my experience without dirt that the swords were nutrient hungry. That being said I have more experience now, & I never dosed dry ferts before. I am impressed what they can do.
Now I might warn you about sand. All the BGA problems found on U-Tube show BGA issues with white fine sand. I myself had BGA issues early & I felt like destroying my tank by the second month. I will not go into how I won the battle with that stuff only that I did have a small amount of that white fine sand in my tank & still do but I am culling it out SLOWLY, because where ever that stuff was in my tank BGA thrived.
Thanks again & keep on doing the dirt tanks. I will try one myself but be careful with that sand. It has a low CEC & causes anaerobic substrates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks DARKCOBRA. That was my same thoughts as well. I just needed a second or third opinion before I went ahead & set up my 55g. The 10 was just to see if I could convert my liquid rock tap water into a soft water beauty, with lots of healthy fish & plants. So far the plants are excellent after r/o conversion with remineralization. Now to see how the fish do.
I would have tried a sword but the tank is small, so the true test would be a bigger tank. I am not out to have a contest & have to trim in 4 or 5 days. A week or 10 days is more than enough for me. Besides if the plants grow well & look good even pearling who cares how fast they grow anyway.
Yes I know most of the minerals are bound up. But Flourite is a workhorse. I never compared CEC & substates, I just know Flourite does the job & for the money its hard to beat. I also hate algae, & to me leaching nutrients into the water only adds fuel to the fire.
 

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Flourite worked well for me, especially for the first ~5 years, even when mixed with pea gravel and river sand. No issues growing big Amazon swords. For rotalas, light is the more important ingredient for the color, closely followed by fertilizer. The picture is of my 75g Tall with 50% Flourite/50% other junk that is now ~12 years old. When the picture was taken ~4 years ago I used no co2, no root tabs, with just LeafZone once a week if I remembered:



The same tank about 6 months ago, same substrate, different fish, now with co2 + ferts which, in this specific tank, did not do much for the plants. But it now gets the least amount of attention being the oldest running tank I have:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Impressive Flourite tank

OVT, that tank looked awesome! The growth on those swords look incredible!!!!!!!!!!! Very impressive. The fish look awesome as well. The older tank still looks nice , but not like when the Discus were in it. Wow. My tank is doing well to. & just like you, I have mostly Flourite & a small mixture of some cheap coated gravel. The mixture is 85% Flourite , 10% cheap coated, 5% white sand which I hate & feel causes lots of problems in planted tanks. When I see people posting white sand substrates I cringe. That stuff attracts BGA algae & compacted anaerobic substrates. Just check out U-Tube & BGA. All that white sand are in BGA tanks. Anyway thats another thread. Thanks for posting shots. I would post my tank , but my cheap point & shoot is out of batteries at the moment. Thanks
 
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