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Good substrate for plants???

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Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:19 am

Your thought and experience with substrate for planted aquariums. I just got a 20 long and was thinking of making a planted tank Smile.I was thinking of going with eco-complete( http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3746+3753+9087&pcatid=9087 ) since I feel like dirt tank would be a little too much work and they would almost cost me about the same.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  williemcd on Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:57 am

Onik... you saw my tanks... Others on here will suggest some high end substrates. Me? I'm frugal.. ok, cheap. For the 155G under the tv, I used Safe-T-Sorb, from Tractor Supply. The plants thrive in it but it will cloud up when disturbed. For like an hour and then it resettles. Cost of that is $4.50 for 50 lbs which does a 55G nicely. Most of my other tanks utilize a swimming pool filter sand. The brand I use is Lighthouse and seems to be one of the easiest regarding the rinsing requirements before use. Alowishus recently told me he stumbled across another brand that's pure white that I'll be checking out next. The PFS (Pool Filter Sand) retails for about $10.00 for a 50 lb. bag and a store just down the road from me (Just off the corner of Rt. 360 and Courthouse) will give ya a 10% discount. Bill

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:03 pm

When I saw your tanks I was shocked Razz. I was reading about Safe-T-Sorb everyone who has used it so far has good experience with it Very Happy ( http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=149589 ). I have heard good things about pfs but I'm leaning towards Safe-T-Sorb since its so cheap and good for planting Smile. I'm still going to do a bit more digging here and there to see if I can find more info. Thanks for the input bill.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  AngelAddict on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:40 pm

I was using the florite substraight. LOVED IT! holds the roots real well, hard for the fish to move them around and it holds nutrients real well too. Downside to it...... EXPENSIVE. I've got 4 bags in my 55 gallon, at 20$ a bag... 80$ just in substraight..... These guys talked me into trying something different. I now use Pool Filter Sand as Bill mentioned. I got a 50lb bag from Pla-Moore Pools in mechanicsville. My girlfriends brother works there. anyways it was only 12$ for a 50lb bag and I have used it in 2 20 gallons and a small 5 gallon. I went liberal on it too could have spread it out to possibly 2 more tanks. Its a little light and a little gets sucked up in my siphon when I'm cleaning my tanks but for the most part..... its great stuff.

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:44 am

hmm....thinking of mixing it up my substrates. Safe-t-Sorb for plants and something else for looks Razz. I would love to try some psf but not sure where to start looking Sad.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  Alowishus on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:19 am

AngelAddict wrote:I was using the florite substraight. LOVED IT! holds the roots real well, hard for the fish to move them around and it holds nutrients real well too. Downside to it...... EXPENSIVE. I've got 4 bags in my 55 gallon, at 20$ a bag... 80$ just in substraight..... These guys talked me into trying something different. I now use Pool Filter Sand as Bill mentioned. I got a 50lb bag from Pla-Moore Pools in mechanicsville. My girlfriends brother works there. anyways it was only 12$ for a 50lb bag and I have used it in 2 20 gallons and a small 5 gallon. I went liberal on it too could have spread it out to possibly 2 more tanks. Its a little light and a little gets sucked up in my siphon when I'm cleaning my tanks but for the most part..... its great stuff.

Is that the place on Bell Creek Rd?

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:33 am

I myself love to use potting soil with a layer of sand or rock pebbles over it. The cheapest potting soils are the best as they have no additives. About a 1" layer under your layer of sand and plants grow like crazy. Bill seen all my plants that I use to have,[img][/img][img][/img][img][/img]
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  williemcd on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:20 pm

FV is on the mark regarding soil tanks. I had a 60G set up for less than 6 weeks, 1.5" of soil, covered by 1" of PFS. When I sold the tank, we pulled all the plants (lots of Amz. Swords, vals etc.) and the root structure was amazing!.. The Amz. swords had roots that were at least a foot long and looked like turnips!.
I did buy the cheapest top-soil, $2.00 per bag. The cheaper you get, the less likely there will be of additives. My research told me to treat the soil in the following manner: In small batches, 5-8 lbs, place it on a cookie sheet and bake the soil in your oven at a temp of 130 degrees, for a duration of 30 minutes. The research I did indicat that 130 degrees would kill off any critters or bacteria currently hosted by the soil. It went on further to do NOT allow the temp to go over 130 in that the potential benefits of the soil would be negated under higher temps AND that the higher temps could result in the soil becoming toxic to the fish! To insure I didn't go over the limit, I inserted a meat thermometer into the soil during the bake. Each batch I added to the tank until I had the desired depth. Then I carefully sifted PFS over that! Bill

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:42 pm

I thought you have to add other stuff with the potting soil??? O.o
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:01 pm

Nothing at all needs to be added just be sure there is nothing added to it. (no plant ferts in it!!!!!!!)
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  AngelAddict on Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:22 pm

AL yea thats on bell creek road right off of 360. i didnt get a discount or anything. just cheep reg pool filter sand.

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:04 am

Is this brand any good? O.o http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?proId=prod70332&itemId=cat50154
Sorry if I'm asking too many questions just trying to get everyone to share info Razz
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  williemcd on Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:35 am

Onik.. I wouldn't touch that stuff with a 10 foot pole!.. At least not for tanks...as you can see, it releases ferts (bound in) for up to 6 months!... Not good for our fishy friends!...
But in reality... I consulted for one of the biggest suppliers of top-soil/potting soil in the nation... Ya learn a lot as a consultant!..<grin>
Potting and top-soil is generally decomposed tree-bark. When a tree is timbered, sent to the mill, the first act is to strip the bark. That gets sold to re-processors. The processor then in turn dumps it into great big hoppers that basically act as a sieve. Fine stuff called "bark-fine" (real creative name they applied hey?) drops out first and is hauled off to the composting area. Assorted sized bark chips are then bagged and resold as garden bed mulch. The bark-fine is treated with moisture and covered with plastic to facilitate the rapid decomposition until it is then bagged and sold as potting/top-soil.
Some companies will add extra ingredients and subsequently higher cost to the consumer. Other companies will for-go those additives and place a label "Organic" on the packaging. Again, a cost increase to the consumer. Buy the cheapest stuff ya can, treat it to the heat and you're good to go. Bill


Last edited by williemcd on Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:07 am

lol...thanx for the explanation Razz I shall do as you command Smile
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  williemcd on Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:22 am

You do mean.....Suggest? Bill

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  neogeo20041 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Razz yes!
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  Alowishus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:24 pm

AngelAddict wrote:AL yea thats on bell creek road right off of 360. i didnt get a discount or anything. just cheep reg pool filter sand.

Would you post a picture of that sand? I've only seen it in the bag.

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:36 pm

Pool filter sand you can get just about anywhere for cheap but it does float around and clog filters if you're not careful. I like playsand also if you like color crayola color sand has been being used in tanks.

http://www.coloredsandstore.com/online-store/

and also

http://www.kidsafesand.com/Product%20Page.html
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  williemcd on Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:59 pm

Vix. It's my understanding... that Playsand is basically the dregs of quarry efforts. PFS on the other hand is produced to specs. The grain size needs to be sieved to within .45 - .55 mm to ensure water has the capability to pass through it. Playsand on the other hand has no requirements other than no rocks. The potential with playsand is for compaction with the subsequent entrapment of gasses that can be toxic if release via a disturbance of the surface of the substrate. This is 99% based upon research but the 1% is based upon a friends experience with something akin to Play-sand where he disturbed the substrate and he practically had to vacate his home! Just my $.02 and worth about half of that what with inflation!... Bill

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:09 pm

you seen my tanks in Richmond and it was all play sand from home depot. gravel was always river rock pebbles from home depot.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  Alowishus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:41 pm

williemcd wrote:This is 99% based upon research but the 1% is based upon a friends experience with something akin to Play-sand where he disturbed the substrate and he practically had to vacate his home!

That sure stank, boy!

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:05 pm

yes when you tear apart any tank with soil it will stink. More the soil than the sand. Of course it's all that junk the plants thrive on.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  Alowishus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:29 pm

This was only fine sand - no soil. I didn't exactly tear it apart, either, just dug a bit.

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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  FishVixen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:49 pm

Did you put ferts in the Sand? Sounds like methane build up in the soil. If you poke at it with a chop stick about once a week it releases the gas from the soil. Any sand will do that.
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Re: Good substrate for plants???

Post  Alowishus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:55 pm

Nope, t'weren't methane.

I'd really be surprised if anybody could get PFS <2.5" deep to do that. Anybody had their fertilized PFS stink up?

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