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Old 03-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #1 
JessJesting
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Substrate suggestions

Looking for substrate suggestions. I want to rescape my planted tank and possibly add more plants. It originally didn't start out as a planted tank. I accidentally got addicted. =) so at the moment I have some gravel at the bottom. I was okay with it for a long time but now i want something different. I want something that looks more natural and is better for my plants.

So.. Suggestions?

I have heard of fluorite and Eco complete. Pros cons of both? Do you have to change the soil every so often?

I also read about the Walstad method for like organic soils.
Is this less efficient then buying some soil for the aquarium?

Thanks
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #2 
tekkguy
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I use eco complete. It is a high CEC substrate (meaning it holds nutrients very well). It never needs to be replaced. It is basically crushed lava rock with a few additives of other types.

The downside to it is that if you have to adjust your plants while the tank is filled, it is almost as annoying as gravel - except that it's generally lighter than gravel, so it's even more annoying.

If I use Eco Complete again, I will cap it with sand to make planting a little easier - but it's way better than sand alone.

Organic soils are good, they need a cap as well to keep the water from clouding up. They generally cause a huge ammonia spike at the beginning, so hardy plants and NO FISH while cycling.

Flourite, I believe, breaks down over time if I remember correctly, but I have not used it.

My next tank will either use eco complete with a sand cap, or soil with a sand cap.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #3 
JessJesting
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Thanks for the info. Eco complete was my first choice from what research I had done. That's probably what I'll go for then. As for a Sand cap.. I could use pool filter sand? Would that add much stress to the filter? I have a prefilter on the intake. From what you said it sounds like planting can be a pain? Honestly planting this one with gravel was frustrating in itself lol. Sorry I'm all over the place. Bit scatterbrained today =)
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:19 PM   #4 
tekkguy
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Pool filter sand is fine. It doesn't need as much rinsing as other sands.

The sand will make it easier to plant when the tank is full. The problem with planting just eco while the tank is full is that it's very light, so it wants to not fill in around the plant. Sand takes care of that. Actually, if my planted tank that has eco in it wasn't so full of plants, I'd probably fill in sand around it right now. As it is, I think I'd hurt the plants and/or smother my shrimp, lol.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:47 PM   #5 
Stone
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I have been doing organic soil, then a thin layer of playsand/poolfilter sand like 1/8 to 1/4 inch of it to act as a filter for the soil then some gravel, it really depnds on what kinds of fish are in the tank, if you have diggers you might want to use the craft cloth over the soil to keep over active diggers like my pleco out of the soil
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:51 PM   #6 
Chevko
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Since this thread is up I'll go ahead and ask myself...

I'm going to be doing the Walstad method. I'm between three brands and four types for potting mix. Miracle Gro Organic Choice, Jobe's Organic Bone Meal, Jobe's Organic Fast Start and Black Gold Organic Mix. This'll be just for the plants, then I'll try to get about an inch or something of sand on top of it. They'll be low-light plants, Amazon Sword, Anubias on a stick and anything else I can find.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #7 
LittleBettaFish
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Be aware that the Walstad method and other soil based tanks, generally require you to be using fast growing stem plants and floaters to suck up excess nutrients at the start. Otherwise, if you are only using low light plants such as swords and anubias, you may see spikes in ammonia etc. because these plants do not grow at a rate where they are going to need to be taking up a lot of nutrients.

If you are just doing low light plants, you could just use root tabs under a gravel or sand substrate. Anubias requires essentially no care, and I actually had very good success with growing sword plants in propagating sand with root tabs added.

Just something to keep in mind.

Otherwise I use Miracle Gro Organic Choice and have had no complaints.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:38 PM   #8 
Chevko
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Alrighty. I did a quick Google and found that it's usually a calcium/phos/other nut deficiency that makes the need for tabs... Looking at the sparse descs on the potting mixes, the Bone Meal one lists specifically calc/phos on it. Do they have a sort of "ingredient list" that one could compare?
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:07 PM   #9 
ashleigheperry
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Help me with my tank(s)?

I've been looking for substrate options as well - this is very helpful. c:
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:54 PM   #10 
Chevko
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Okay, so after a quick trip to the nearby Ace, I left with a large back of EarthGro and a thing of Miracle Gro Potting Mix (Organic of course). Is this safe to combine for both the plants and the fish?
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