lets talk about substrate...
So hello everyone! I have been running my 29gal planted tank for a few months and I feel its time to upgrade to something bigger, the 45 Arch. I am curious as to what kind of substrate to put down. I am currently using a pea-sized gravel with first layer laterite on the bottom initially but after a few gravel vacuums it got all mixed in anyways. I also have a small sand pit (about 6"x12") that is being separated from the gravel by a piece of 1/4" acrylic about 3" high. I like the sand for my cories, they lost their whiskers and have not gotten them back since, but also the sand looks pretty nice too. My tank is fully planted with rotala indica, micro sword, a melon sword, a marbled sword, a large bunch of water sprite, and a struggling bunch of cabomba.
I want to move all of these guys over to the 45 Arch. I want to look into a different substrate. I was hoping to see if anyone had advice on any of these types of substrates-
Gravel + Laterite
Flourite is good but tends to be extremely messy and will need to be pre washed several times.
Gravel + laterite - it works but you would still need to provide root tabs / liquid ferts for optimum growth.
Sand - you will need root tabs or liquid ferts as play sand/ pool sand is completely inert.
Potting Soil - ensure that is completely organic, it will work but it will need to be capped with sand etc.
Other: I highly recommend eco complete, think of it as a Flourite without the problems and has only received positive reviews.
OF these sand is the most cory friendly (or appreciated, I know that barbel loss is not simply a matter of substrate) followed by that eco complete stuff.
Sand + tabs and some liquid ferts works well for me.
I actually have to disagree here, I placed flourite black sand in my two 10g tanks, used bubble wrap to fill the tanks (to displace the water) and it really didn't turn out messy. The water is a bit cloudy, but has settled quickly, even though I have dug around in it a bit.
Originally Posted by mojosodope
Just my $.02, I have seen many ppl complain it is messy though.
I use Turface (its a baked clay substrate) and everyone including plants do well in it. My rams play with it, corys don't mind it
Fish: 75g: 9 Parva Rainbow, 4 GBR, 2 Oto, 4 Platies, 10 Sterbai, 4 Calico BN Pleco
10g: RCS, 10 B. Brigittae; 10g: 4 Fp. Spoorenbergi, 7 C. Habroseus, Orchid Endlers; 10g: 4 Fp. Spoorenbergi, Species #2 Endlers,
Plants: 75: A. Sword, C. Red Wendtii, J Fern, Alternanthera Reineckii, Temple Hygro, Moneywort, Subwassertang, R. Rotundofolia, R. Indica
10: Italian Vals, Dwarf Sag, Java Fern, Phoenix Moss
10s: C. Parva, C. Wendtii, Cardinal, Microswords, Dwarf Hairgrass, Hornwort
Yeah you're right, my bad. That's the correct way to do it but the average uninformed aquarist won't take the time and care to do so.
Eco complete is just easier to work with IMO, not as messy planting in it and won't cloud the water.
Not to hijack, but I will use Fluorite, mixed with that Black Diamond stuff, along with Eco-complete, I think you ought to try that way.
I got mine from Dr Fosters, as over $50.00 free shipping.
I hope posting a place is not against the rules here, but really any web place will have it.
The fluorite is from Sea Chem.
Are you going to be using CO2?
My-0.2 cents. LOL
Sorry, haven't checked in awhile, its been finals week here at my college so I am trying to finalize all of that!
Okay so I agree with you (minus the bit about being an uninformed aquarist haha). I like the idea of sand though. I have had these cories a long time and they still won't get their barbels back. I put in the sand pit because I know the gravel was hurting them. Now the other reason that cories lose barbels is because of unsafe nitrate levels right? Well my nitrates have been zeroed out for so long I've forgotten what the test looks like when I do have organics in there.
As for substrate. What I've heard is this...
Flourite is messy/flourite is not messy- is this just the initial stage? Because I can get by that with the bubble wrap trick. Will this mess with my cories?
Potting Soil-No one seems to be mentioning this one. I had a friend just switch his 180 over to potting soil and he struggled to get it clear again. He did eventually and his plants looks beautiful.
Sand- I need to use liquid ferts and root tabs, correct? I don't mind doing this but I have never used root tabs before. They way I have perceived them is that only release enough for a single plant. (so place it close to an Sword plant and the plant will do well) How do I place them to fertilize a whole substrate and also how often do I have to place new tabs in?
And lastly, I have heard many ways to clean sand-
Get lots of cories and let them do their job.
Get lots of snails and let them do their job
Use a gravel vac, but keep it 4 inches above the sand line and gently swirl it around picking up all of the stuff that settles on the top.
And lastly, whats the bacterial process like down there? On my reef tank my sand is 4" deep. Great anaerobic bacteria and keeps my nitrates at zero.