Mental battle of substrate..Help? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Mental battle of substrate..Help?

Long story short I want to cause myself chaotic hassle and upgrade my 5 gallon Mystic Waters to my 30 gallon. Since my move last year in October my 30 gallon has been sitting just being the storage of all unused fake decorations. I believe it would be called a 30 gallon breeder. It just seems taller and less wide than the normal 30 gallon tanks I see. Mystic Waters is a dark mystic set up. White mermaid, dark gravel, live plants..

The pic is during a full tank clean and redecorate day thats the decor im working with. Calisco and a dwarf mexican brazos crayfish are its current inhabitants. Calisco tends to hide toward the back on those days like in the pic. If I only do some simple tank maintenance though he doesnt both to hide. Thats why I think he might like the upgrade. Less bothering of him in a bigger tank. Plus the crayfish might feel safer. Its always hiding under the rock stack or in the back. I'm 80% sure theres only one crayfish. I say that because it tends to prove me wrong and another one randomly shows up. I'm not sure if there will be any more showing up though I honestly think its over for crayfish this time. But I've said it before and then its not..

Anyways the mental battle is all substrate and money lol. "I dont remember how much gravel it took." "I want to do soil substrate to help the plants.." "I still like the black gravel look but dang does soil and gravel both have to cost so much on amazon" XD Then that leads to the "Can't I just say screw this and use black sand" and then it goes back to "Sand doesnt provide much if no nutrients to the plants dumby" then it goes to the amount I might need not being known and so on and so forth...

I have a $70 limit. First off how much substrate should I be looking at? Pound wise I mean.

I'll be waiting to look at petsmart again see if they have anything at all if not I'll have to ask my mom to order it on amazon. I'm really hoping petsmart will though. So sand? All gravel? Or soil with a gravel top like I heard is best? If you have amazon links or pictures of the brands that would help a bunch. Theres alot of brands of both soil and sand.

I'm still hoping to save as much money as possible for a new filter..

Future plans include some sort of carpeting plant incase that would affect substrate type needed.

Also I have this plant as well I don't remember its name lol
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 04:38 PM
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For the substrate (sand) to cover 2 inches deep you would need about 60 pounds. Small gravel would be about the same amount.

If you use sand and want to plant live plants You may want to use Plant tabs and (SeaChem) liquid Flourish. to keep the plants happy and growing.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 08:45 PM
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The absolute cheapest way you'd be able to do it is to get some Black Diamond Blasting Sand, it can be bought at Tractor Supply, on Amazon it cost a fortune . It's a black sand that can be used in aquariums, but be prepared to spend a long time washing it prior to use to get all the sediment out. The second cheapest would be to go with Pool Filter sand, You'll also have to wash the heck out of this sand. If you go with CaribSea sand you'll have more color options BUT it will eat up all of your budget, Chewy has the best price but Amazon has more color options If you go with an NPT tank you'll need a combo of organic potting soil, and sand or gravel, it'll probably be your third most expensive option, but gravel tends to be relatively cheap so it may come out equal to the play sand option. Make sure to match the color of the gravel or sand to the soil. With the soil try and get a brand that does not use Perlite as it floats in water.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 09:12 AM
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As far as substrate goes, I really like the fluval stratum. I've used it in both my planted tanks and its these little soil balls (so it looks a little like gravel) but they eventually break down over time into just soil. They are black. They've always worked great for my plants, though it does lower the PH a little. They aren't the most cheap, but not the most expensive either. You can find them on amazon.

You can also do the caribsea like Rainbo said, and they do have an "eco complete" version that isn't just sand, its basically like fluval stratum but just a *liiittle* less on quality. Cheaper on price though. :) Either way, good luck!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 10:28 AM
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What I have done to cut down costs and the amount of black sand I have used with my planted tanks. Decide where you want to place your plants, add a small amount of substrate/soil and surround the area with largish stones. You can now cover the area with the black sand for the aesthetic, the plants have the soil substrate and you have taken up volume (and saved $) by using cheap stones or large gravel
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 07:23 PM
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I am the ultimate lazy planted tank keeper. I didn't want to deal with substrate that would need replacing... ever. I have different types of anubias, attached to rocks and driftwood, java fern, java moss. River pebble to cover the bottom. My big betta tank is completely covered, you can only see some of the black background near the top. I let the baby java ferns float, they do fine and provide surface hides. Rock, driftwood, substrate-less plants. The java moss is the star, I have to remove some regularly as it grows so fast. I add nothing to help my plants, use to add seachem fert but it didn't do much. Just put up a decent light. Plants all green and pretty, fish happy, I'm happy. Highly recommend unless you absolutely want certain plants that require more care.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 10:58 PM
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I've submerged inch thick sponges & hallow plastic grates under the gravel in areas that weren't planted.

This reduced not only the cost of gravel but also cut down the excess weight of the gravel in the tank.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of stuff happened. Calisco passed unexpectedly. I ended up getting another meijer cutie who I still can't decide a name. Due to drama between my mother and my sister in law I couldnt ask my sister in law to order the stuff. I earned extra cash and found my missing money pouch that had $43 in it. And all in all when my dad went to pick up my moms freezer he took me to petsmart and I killed my money count with 3 bags of caribsea flora max substrate, a new marineland filter, a bag of root tabs and two plants. Now all thats left is to get my dad to move the freezer from in front of the basement door so I can start on tanks. So for a while itll just be unnamed cutie and a brazos dwarf crayfish in the 30 gallon. Once I save up more I want to get 1 or 2 black racer nerite snails. I don't know what else will fit the Mystic Waters theme. I'm still on the love/hate resistance for ghost shrimp again lol. But yeah The subStrate wasnt the kind I wanted but its by the same brand so hopefully itll help. I wanted the eco complete to be honest. I could have waited but when your walking around and your father is all like "once we drive away we wont be back for along time" its like "screw it!"
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DaceyJ View Post
I have different types of anubias, attached to rocks and driftwood, java fern, java moss. River pebble to cover the bottom. My big betta tank is completely covered
Pictures? please??
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Capers7 View Post
Originally Posted by DaceyJ View Post
I have different types of anubias, attached to rocks and driftwood, java fern, java moss. River pebble to cover the bottom. My big betta tank is completely covered
Pictures? please?? <img style="max-width:100%;" src="" border="0" alt="" title="Laughing" class="inlineimg" />
I just got around to seeing this, but here you go. I also just happened to thin my plants recently to transfer some to a new tank with my plakat (I think the picture attached), so my divided is a bit bare atm. There is big anubias and buce in there, but they're hiding in the back of the tank. I need to figure some things out to make it look more... presentable. The plakat tank is how my divided looked at the beginning, just no driftwood atm. The plants grow pretty quickly considering how much I neglect my flora. I wish I had pics before I thinned it out, it looked like an underwater jungle.
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