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Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. Default Which substrate? Opinions, please


    0 Not allowed!
    I'm thinking about redoing my 55 this coming summer, and among other things, replacing the crushed granite pea gravel with a darker, more plant- and mouth-friendly, easier to keep clean substrate.

    These two are on Ebay right now, and they're about the same price once you figure shipping:

    Lava rock. I asked, and the guy told me the particles are screened to 2-3mm, so it's more like really course sand, which is really what I want. Not sure about the chemical composition, but the color is nice and natural.

    Black beauty sand. I realize this stuff is actually iron mine slag, and some say the remaining iron is good for plants; other say not so much. Very fine consistency, which I have read is not as good for plants, but it's easier to keep clean because debris collects on the surface. Seems to look more dramatic, but less natural.

    Opinions? Experience? Anything I need to know?

    Thanks!
    Tom
    My computer beat me at chess, but it proved no match for me at kickboxing.

    www.whistlingbadger.com

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I have read in a few books that you need to be careful with what fish you stock if you go for crushed lava rock, it can be very sharp and abrasive. So Barbled fish like corydoras can hurt themselves, also burying fish like Khuli loaches as they may scrape their bodies.
    My therapist says I need a bigger tank . . . . .

  3. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    No corys right now, but that might change. Something to consider. The particles look rounded, almost as if they've been tumbled...but who knows. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Oh, by the way, buying the more expensive, commercially available gravels (Seachem, et al) isn't really an option. Since money is an issue, as always, I need to go cheap, here.
    My computer beat me at chess, but it proved no match for me at kickboxing.

    www.whistlingbadger.com

  4. Talking


    0 Not allowed!
    Substrate is very important! It changes your water quality. Many beneficial bacteria--that keep your water fresh live there--Don't go cheap...its best for the long run...for fish and keeper...

  5. #5

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Black beauty is coal slag, not iron slag, and is completely inert. The same thing is sold under the name black diamond by another company, it's actually sold for blasting grit but works just fine as an aquarium substrate. I got some locally, paid $8/50lb bag. It won't do anything for plants, essentially the same as sand except there's no silica to support a diatom explosion when you put it into the tank.

    ^^^^Please click the eggs/dragons, thanks.

  7. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fishisompin
    Substrate is very important! It changes your water quality. Many beneficial bacteria--that keep your water fresh live there--Don't go cheap...its best for the long run...for fish and keeper...
    I understand that...It's just that my family has this crazy idea that they need groceries and medical care. :)
    My computer beat me at chess, but it proved no match for me at kickboxing.

    www.whistlingbadger.com

  8. Default How much sand?


    0 Not allowed!
    So, looks like the lava rock is a no-go. Too tough on my bottom feeders. I'll probably try to find some black diamond locally and go with that. OK.

    I've always used gravel, so a couple more questions: I've been doing some more reading. Seems the main (only?) disadvantage of sand is that it can get stagnant because the water doesn't circulate through the finer particles. So, you keep it fairly shallow, less than 3", and that isn't a problem, right? This is a 55g planted tank.

    Would it be wise to add a few kuhli loaches to keep it stirred up, or does it matter?

    Thanks, as always!

    Tom
    My computer beat me at chess, but it proved no match for me at kickboxing.

    www.whistlingbadger.com

  9. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    None of the substrates you listed are plant friendly. Sand, Gravel, Lava rock, they're all inert.

    Go to your local big box store or ag store or even autoparts store and look for a product called Safe-T-zorb. Its an oil absorbent that's spread on floors to suck up oil spills. It has a nice color, much like regular Flourite, and similar granule size. Other oil absorbents will work too but beige is usually the only color they come in. Walmart sells Hi-Dri but its reputed to dissolve into mud.

    These products are low temperature fired clay granules with higher CEC ratings than Flourite and Eco complete and are more plant friendly than either of those.

    Did I mention they're cheap? I recently paid $3.89 for a 50lb bag of Safe-T-Zorb. If you have to eat, its the way to go.

  10. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Interesting, dma. I'll check that out. Whatever I use, I'll probably have to add some sort of root fertilizer until some "nutrients" build up in the substrate to keep the plants going. I know a guy here who uses unscented kitty litter over a layer of potting soil, covered with a thin layer of gravel. He has AMAZING tanks and breeds angelfish for the lfs. So many ways to do things. It's part of what I love about keeping fish.

    Tom
    My computer beat me at chess, but it proved no match for me at kickboxing.

    www.whistlingbadger.com

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