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hpt84
12-26-2007, 08:50 PM
I am starting a new aquarium. My question concerns substrate for plant, so I decide to post it here instead of tank setup. I used to have an aquarium with plant, basic gravel and no co2 system. I just got a 55g for christmas. I'm interested in adding substrate for plants. I was thinking of a mixture of (Laterite,Eco-complete or Flourite) with gravel. i have a budget so I would like to know which way will save me the most money with the most benefient for plants. I will have a small sand aread in the middle of the tank for my cory. I currently dont know which type of plant I am going to grow except for java fern/moss. Also, I am curious about subtrate that benefient plant and lower pH. I saw some on www.drsfostersmith.com. My tap water pH is 8, and I will be keeping a lot of tetras. Currently I dont want to include a co2 system, but I am open-minded. The tank will not be heavily planted. Also, right now I have stantard fluorescent lighting. I reply later with their watt.

Dave66
12-26-2007, 10:55 PM
I am starting a new aquarium. My question concerns substrate for plant, so I decide to post it here instead of tank setup. I used to have an aquarium with plant, basic gravel and no co2 system. I just got a 55g for christmas. I'm interested in adding substrate for plants. I was thinking of a mixture of (Laterite,Eco-complete or Flourite) with gravel. i have a budget so I would like to know which way will save me the most money with the most benefient for plants. I will have a small sand aread in the middle of the tank for my cory. I currently dont know which type of plant I am going to grow except for java fern/moss. Also, I am curious about subtrate that benefient plant and lower pH. I saw some on www.drsfostersmith.com. My tap water pH is 8, and I will be keeping a lot of tetras. Currently I dont want to include a co2 system, but I am open-minded. The tank will not be heavily planted. Also, right now I have stantard fluorescent lighting. I reply later with their watt.

Your pH is far too high for both the tetras and the live plants. However, its perfect for African rift lake Cichlids, though your decorations would be restricted to stones and driftwood.
If you use canister filters (and you should in a planted tank), put aquarium grade peat moss granules in one or two of the baskets. That'll soften and darken (due to tannins in the peat) the water. You'd be aiming for pH 6.8-7.0, General hardness around 5ppm and Carbonate hardness two or three points higher. Seventy-seven degrees is optimal.
The easiest way to get proper water for plants and fish is to mix your tap water with reverse osmosis water. The RO and RO/DI units aren't cheap, but they are the only way I'm able to keep the soft water fishes I enjoy. My tap is nearly liquid concrete, so I mix RO/DI to it 70-30 for 6.8, gH 4, kH 6. I store the mixed water in 33 gallon Rubbermaid trash cans for storage, so I don't have to mix it before every weekly partial water change.
For your substrate, about a quarter to a half-inch layer of laterite topped by lime-free gravel will do the job. You can top the laterite with Eco-Complete, Florite or whatever you care for as long as its inert. I use EC in two or three of my tanks, Florite in one or two, and small grade dark pea gravel in the others. Plants grow equally well in all.
A DIY Co2 system is easy and cheap to do and would work in a tank as small as a 55.

Dave

digital3
12-27-2007, 02:24 AM
One more thing. Definitely comparison shop between buying your substrate online or locally. It may be cheaper online but the shipping may take you over the top. I found a great deal on Eco-Complete at the Aquarium Guys website ($17.99 per 20lbs.), but the shipping for 5 bags (about what you need for a 55) was 100 bucks! :c11:

If you can find a site with cheaper shipping let me know! I'm going to try my luck locally.

Lady Hobbs
12-27-2007, 02:33 AM
You might want to go all sand and just have a low light tank so you won't have to use co2. Plants that grow on wood and rocks can be very attractive with lots of driftwood in the tank and a simple setup.

The wood will help lower the pH some but not much but as Dave mentioned, you could run peat in a bag thru your filter. My tetra's have been in 7.6 from day one and do fine so you may not have to lower it that much. If you want bigger plants and don't mind the investment in some lights for them, you could even plant a few in pots with a good substrate and not have to have it in the rest of the areas.

co2 needs not be costly. Most of us here use the Do It Yourself CO2.

hpt84
12-27-2007, 01:54 PM
I was thinking about substrate that can lower pH. Right now I have 3 driftwood pieces and plan to buy more for my 55g. If pH lowering substrate is a bad idea, I'll just buy some buffer. I'm looking into a DIY co2 system right now, but the idea of an all sand aquarium is interesting. I just don't like the idea of being limited to plants that grow on wood/rock.

Algenco
12-27-2007, 02:35 PM
I have 2 tanks with sand and the plants are growing nicely, maybe not as good as they would in Eco-Complete. They are not all easy plants either. You may have problems until some mulm builds up, but after a couple of months most anything will grow with proper lighting and fert.

hpt84
12-27-2007, 03:49 PM
I have 2 tanks with sand and the plants are growing nicely, maybe not as good as they would in Eco-Complete. They are not all easy plants either. You may have problems until some mulm builds up, but after a couple of months most anything will grow with proper lighting and fert.

Are you using a co2 system? What plants are you keeping in it.

Algenco
12-27-2007, 07:15 PM
I didn't notice your ph, as Dave said, unless your willing to lower the ph plants and tetra's are a waste of time and money.
You also said your have "standard florescent lighting" very little will grow with the wattage you most likely have. Java moss, Java ferns, anubius, and some crypts will survive with 1 wpg but not thrive, you will need 1.5+wpg to have any success with low light plants. Anything much above 2wpg will require CO2

I have 2 tanks on CO2 and 2 without

Lady Hobbs
12-27-2007, 07:20 PM
I know of no substrate that lowers pH or would be using it myself. Some spread a thin layer of peat under their sand for the plants but I've tried it and it became a mess. It gets pulled to the top each time you try to plant or move something.

hpt84
12-27-2007, 07:45 PM
I know of no substrate that lowers pH or would be using it myself. Some spread a thin layer of peat under their sand for the plants but I've tried it and it became a mess. It gets pulled to the top each time you try to plant or move something.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+10741+4882&pcatid=4882

I'm prolly going to have black gravel with Laterite (granular form) and a small sand pit on the side for cory. I'm going to grow java fern/moss because I have a lot of driftwood. Later on (when I have more money) I'll upgrade the light and add a DIY co2 system.

This prolly a silly question but what are peat?

Algenco
12-27-2007, 07:49 PM
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+10741+4882&pcatid=4882

I'm prolly going to have black gravel with Laterite (granular form) and a small sand pit on the side for cory. I'm going to grow java fern/moss because I have a lot of driftwood. Later on (when I have more money) I'll upgrade the light and add a DIY co2 system.

This prolly a silly question but what are peat?

not silly at all, Peat moss

smaug
12-27-2007, 10:58 PM
Ok here is my spin on the subject.Like everyone else has said there is no substrate that will lower ph,your lights are insufficient for anything but java ferns and moss.Here is what you will need to do to have a decently planted tank.I will only recomend what I have tried myself or I know from observation.
1:You will simply have to have more light,100watts is good 150 is better.Truly if you are unwilling to spend the money on good lighting then plants are not for you.
2:CO2 injection is wonderful,but unless you are going with high light[200watts]it is unneccasary,seachem excel will give all the co2 you will need.{its a liquid co2]
3:You can get away with 2 maybe 1 bag of seachem fluorite with fine river gravel[torpedo beach] and not have to worry about having a sand beach for your corys,mine love it and are doing great.
4:to lower your ph and KH a fine product for that is seachem acid buffer used in concert with kent "true PH minus"You will have to do it at every water change as I do but the results are great.You can easily obtain a ph of 6.8-7.2 and keep your KH in the 3-5 range.BTW KH is carbonate hardness and is the most important hardness level to worry about ,keep it low and you will be fine.Whatever product you choose make certain it does not contain phosphate as that will cause problems with algae .Your driftwood ph lowering affect will be minimal,the big piece in my tank did very little,possibly .2 lower.There is another way to lower your ph drastically and that is to use oak leaves directly in the water,however they have a darkening affect and they do cause a mess.
5:After you have done all of the above you will want to concern yourself with ferts such as ,cheleated iron,pottasium,trace compounds,nitrogen and possibly phosphorous if you water is otherwise devoid of it.
6:testing kits,for the above compounds.
Good luck in whatever path you proceed,planted tanks are beautiful but like all things of beauty they are a pain in the A#@.

fishfanatic33
12-27-2007, 11:42 PM
Wheweee!!! Well spoken smaug!!!

Romungus
12-28-2007, 02:08 AM
Ok here is my spin on the subject.Like everyone else has said there is no substrate that will lower ph,your lights are insufficient for anything but java ferns and moss.Here is what you will need to do to have a decently planted tank.I will only recomend what I have tried myself or I know from observation.
1:You will simply have to have more light,100watts is good 150 is better.Truly if you are unwilling to spend the money on good lighting then plants are not for you.
2:CO2 injection is wonderful,but unless you are going with high light[200watts]it is unneccasary,seachem excel will give all the co2 you will need.{its a liquid co2]
3:You can get away with 2 maybe 1 bag of seachem fluorite with fine river gravel[torpedo beach] and not have to worry about having a sand beach for your corys,mine love it and are doing great.
4:to lower your ph and KH a fine product for that is seachem acid buffer used in concert with kent "true PH minus"You will have to do it at every water change as I do but the results are great.You can easily obtain a ph of 6.8-7.2 and keep your KH in the 3-5 range.BTW KH is carbonate hardness and is the most important hardness level to worry about ,keep it low and you will be fine.Whatever product you choose make certain it does not contain phosphate as that will cause problems with algae .Your driftwood ph lowering affect will be minimal,the big piece in my tank did very little,possibly .2 lower.There is another way to lower your ph drastically and that is to use oak leaves directly in the water,however they have a darkening affect and they do cause a mess.
5:After you have done all of the above you will want to concern yourself with ferts such as ,cheleated iron,pottasium,trace compounds,nitrogen and possibly phosphorous if you water is otherwise devoid of it.
6:testing kits,for the above compounds.
Good luck in whatever path you proceed,planted tanks are beautiful but like all things of beauty they are a pain in the A#@.

Awesome post!! thanks a lot, this helps tons. thumbs2:

hpt84
12-28-2007, 01:36 PM
Yea, I'm going to mix laterite and gravel. For now I'm just going to keep fern and moss. I'm on a limited budget. Later on I'll upgrade my light and add other plant.

smaug
12-28-2007, 06:34 PM
thats a good decision.Fern and moss will be fine with that setup.

plow
01-07-2008, 12:36 PM
planted tanks are beautiful but like all things of beauty they are a pain in the A#@.


lol.. aint that the truth.

I see beautiful cars, beautiful houses, and beautiful women and the more beautiful they are the more work you will need to put in... just to maintain it that way. (sorry girls, I know you are not all like that)

I have spent 5 years working like a dog on our house and it looks fantastic but to think that in a few years it will need its make up done again. I cant bare the thought of doing all that work again. Sell the damn thing. Give me a low maintenance house any day. They look so much more attractive than they used to.... lol!

Sorry to hijack this thread...

very good info there smaug!!

hpt84
01-07-2008, 03:38 PM
I agree, but the final product is so worth it.

JudiJetson
05-23-2013, 07:08 PM
you totally took the word out of my mouth

JudiJetson
05-23-2013, 07:30 PM
I apologize, i have no idea how my post got here :confused: