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Thread: substrate for plants
12-26-2007, 08:50 PM #1
substrate for plants
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.
Last edited by hpt84; 12-26-2007 at 09:05 PM.
12-26-2007, 10:55 PM #2
0Originally Posted by hpt84
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.
DaveWhen a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger.
Omnia mutantur nihil interit.
The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go
12-27-2007, 02:24 AM #3
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!
If you can find a site with cheaper shipping let me know! I'm going to try my luck locally."My call sign is digital3... But you can call me Joda!"
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55 gal. planted (Co2 Pressurized) - 1 Featherfin Syno, 2 Bolivian Rams, 2 SAEs, 3 Congo Tetras, 4 Long Fin Rosy Barbs, 6 Sunset Platys, 2 Lyre Tailed Swordtails, 3 Peppered Corys, 2 YoYo Loaches
3 gal. planted nano (no Co2) - 1 spotted puffer, 3 Neon Tetras
12-27-2007, 02:33 AM #4
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.
12-27-2007, 01:54 PM #5
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.
12-27-2007, 02:35 PM #6
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.
12-27-2007, 03:49 PM #7
0Originally Posted by Algenco
12-27-2007, 07:15 PM #8
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
12-27-2007, 07:20 PM #9
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.
12-27-2007, 07:45 PM #10
0Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
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?