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souly
07-21-2010, 05:16 PM
Hellos!


While i'm going to be setting up my 46g I know that its going to be planted, and I want to get my first layer of plant substrate.

I use pool filter sand as my substrate, and I want to know what would be better for my tank to use for my plants.

I was thinking of getting the Eco-complete black, but I know the fluorite black sand would look better as a first layer.

Any ideas on what I should use? I want the best stuff for my plants.

MCHRKiller
07-21-2010, 05:27 PM
If your planning on putting pool filter sand over either of the substrates it wont work...the sand will eventually wind up on the bottom while the plant substrate ends up on top. Well the two sands may just mix, but the Eco will definatly be on top.

For best results I have found to just use a plant substrate...I like to mix an initial layer of peat with crushed laterite. You can then load this initial layer down with root tabs...then you can cap it with your desired plant substrate. Since the peat and such is capped you shouldnt worry about all those extra nutrients getting into the water column, especially if you plant carefully and use some planting tweezers. Pool filter sand and general gravel isnt going to do anything for your plants, they are inert substrates which contain no nutrients. Plant substrates are generally more like what your plants would be growing in and the do contain some nutrients especially iron. Its usually worth the investment to have a good rich substrate :22:

souly
07-21-2010, 05:44 PM
Edit:

Thanks,
How thick should I make the substrate then? I'll be doing the laterite, and Peat mixture for the first layer, then add Eco-Complete to top it off. I was just wondering what I should make the thickness of those layers.


I have a 46g bowfront and was thinking of buying the 55oz latertite, I can't figure out where to peat from, and then three bags of Eco-complete for the top layer.

rich311k
07-21-2010, 06:08 PM
You can buy peat at any garden store. just check to make sure it is pure peat no additives.

I would do two inches at the front sloping to 3-4 incheas at the back.

Wild Turkey
07-21-2010, 06:29 PM
Imo I wouldnt make it very deep unless you plan on introducing some sifters. I would do 1.5" or less.

When I did peat in the past at around 1.5" I would start having gas bubble problems. If your tank starts smelling like sulfur, thats probably the issue.

With larger gravel type substrates it doesnt matter, but EC is sandy enough to cause them as well.

IMO, only use enough EC to hold in the peat and you should be well within 1.5".

MCHRKiller
07-21-2010, 06:53 PM
Plants with good root systems like swords and crypts will keep the substrate from developing dead spots in the substrate. But light substrates like the Eco are not prone to compacting and causing this problem, you will normally just have that in fine heavy sand. If concerned you can also introduce some malaysian trumpet snails which will keep your substrate nicely aerated. They are also decent algae eaters, and they take care of excess food. They live in your substrate and only come out at night, plus the plants will get the benefit of their waste being directly deposited into the substrate.

You wont need alot of peat, really just a couple of handfuls would do the trick for a tank that size. With the laterite mix you just want enough of it on the bottom of the tank so that you cant see through the bottom pane. 1/4" is enough of the peat/laterite. Any 100% organic peat moss sold in garden shops is fine, its cheap and you can always use the rest for another project. The thickness of your substrate itself will depend on the type of plants you plan to grow, swords and crypts do better with a deeper substrate...stems arnt as picky as long as they have about 2" to get a good hold.

souly
07-21-2010, 09:35 PM
So only a 1/4 of an inch layer of peat and laterite? And then the rest is the Eco-complete? I'll more into the plants I plan to keep to see how much the rest I'll need to add is.

MCHRKiller
07-21-2010, 09:56 PM
Yep, thats it. A little bit of peat goes a long way. I would suspect a little over 2 bags would be adequate. You probably wont need to use all of the 3rd bag. You could save it for a future project or to freshen up your substrate in a year or so :22: