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So many substrate products and options!!
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Joined: 03 Feb 2004

PostPosted: 2004.02.03(Tue)21:46    Post subject: So many substrate products and options!! Reply with quote

Hello everyone -- I am new to this board but I am really looking for some first hand experience for my new planted aquarium. It's an ambitious project for a 100 gal. I've had success with a 29gal on a student budget, but I am now looking to expand my horizons. I'd like to say budget is no object but, of course it is. I've already decided to go with a complete regulated CO2 system from my local fish store, but I am at a loss for substrate. Because it's such a large tank, I don't want to have to change it. I've read that flourite is the best option, but the price tag is daunting (especially after I've committed to the CO2 system). My fish guy showed me a Tetra product (forgive me, I forgot the name) that you are supposed to be able to add to plain gravel. And what about laterite?

Any input is helpful. I used kitty litter in the last tank, which got mushy and messy after awhile.

Thanks, Mere
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Agent Smith

Joined: 24 Jan 2004

PostPosted: 2004.02.03(Tue)23:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

although, flourite and eco complete work best fi the substrate is 100%, mixing quartze gravel in works almost as well.

latrite is a preaty good alternitive especialy in large tanks: a 55 box costs about $15, and at 1 oz/gallon you will need 2. you will need about 60 lbs of gravle or sand to top it, so depending on sorce, another $10-$40.

am not aware of any substrate from tetra.
-Jared B for fish keepers 12 to 17.
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2004.02.04(Wed)1:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

well if you are a bit daring then you can try some cheap but harder substrates. Some options include clay at the bottom and cover by a 2 inch layer of gravel. Either that or you can try oeat, top soil (without fertilizer), and other organic substrances.

The way to do this is make sure the tank is very dry and then add the organic rich substrate to the bottom of the tank up to 2 inches ( 1 inche should do fine). After the organic rich layer is put in then cover it with a pea sized gravel that is about 1-3 inches in depth. This kind of setup will have lots of minerals for plants to absorb and if you cover it correctly you should have no problem wiht the nutrients leaking to your water column.

The down side to this is that if you don't set it up correctly you can have serious algae problems and/or problems with pH , etc... You can but both of these products from Home Depot for relively cheap. As for the tetra product I have not read about that.

Laterite works well also, but it does not have organic material in it so the nutrient content is much smaller then soil, peat, and/or clay.

I suggest you check out you options and how much you want to pay for the substrate. Most organic based substrates run out of nutrients usually after 3 years and need to be replenished. This isnt true for the flourite and flourite related substrates. If you want flourite for about 10 dollars a bag (I consider that kinda cheap) go to
"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
- Albert Einstein
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Joined: 03 Feb 2004

PostPosted: 2004.02.04(Wed)18:43    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

That's exaactly the kind of input I was looking for. Thanks so much!

I've decided to go with the flourite. At $10 a bag (half the price I was seeing!) I figure that I'd go with the best option!

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Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Location: The swamp

PostPosted: 2004.02.04(Wed)23:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good price, get it.

But you can also use MPV Turface and Profile aquatic plant soil(Lowes/Home Depot etc). Mix this with gravel and it adds the needed weight to make it a better /easier to plant substrate.
Turface is about 8$ a 50lb bag.

But I'd go for the flourite at that price no matter what, generally they will work a deal with you if you buy several bags etc at many LFS's.

BTW, rinse the flourite 3x, 1/2 a bag per bucket, then add. It'll be dirty till the cows come home. It'll not cloud up if you fill the tank slowly and carefully.

To the very bottom layer on the glass: add 6 handfuls of pre soaked/wetted ground peat moss, add some "mulm", the soupy stuff left in the bottom of water change bucket after vacuuming the gravel from an established tank.

Add about 2-3 liter worth of wet soupyness, add the peat, cap with 3" of flourite rinsed 3x,. fill slowly with a plate as so not to disturb the substrate at all.

You now will have a super substrate that will start the tank out like it's been doing great for a year, all cycled and ready to go, no matter what type of method you'd like to do.

Flourite etc, is worth the $.

Tom Barr
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