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Substate suggestions?

This is a discussion on Substate suggestions? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by TwinDad Can to share the reasoning behind using the dual substrate (Byron and Boreomb)? What was the disappointment for the Fourite ...

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Substate suggestions?
Old 07-26-2011, 09:24 PM   #21
 
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Can to share the reasoning behind using the dual substrate (Byron and Boreomb)? What was the disappointment for the Fourite Byron.

I'm trying to figure out the substrate for my 55G. At first I was on the Playsand. Then changed my mind to gravel. BUt now I think the gravel is too big and am looking for 1-2MM, of which I can only find the Seachem peace river.

I did see the new Sand at Petco and was thinking this might work out, but I didn't get a chance to look at the grain size.

I'm mostly worried about the 12 Corys I have and then the plants. I want them to be able to grow well, and I see that Seachem lists their sand as not plant friendly.

I'm no closer then I was before I started my search.

The reason I am looking at doing two different substrate is that I want to get some corys and the eco-complete that i have now is too ruff for them. It is a hard sharp substrate. I wasn't aware of this before I got it as I ordered it online. So my thinking is I want to leave the eco in the back where my swords and jungle val. is and have some sand in the front for the corys to have a nice "soft" place to hang out. Just trying to figure out how to split the two up but I think I have an idea now.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:11 AM   #22
 
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My thinking is that with a dark brown Flourite substrate behind and "tan" playsand in front, this would look natural. Tan doesn't mean like sea sand, but the dark (I thought it was gray) playsand at Home Depot which they call tan.
Well thats sounds like it would good. Though I have bought several different kinds of sand from home depot here and it isn't the dark sand as you describle nor does it look like the sand i seen in your tank. It is a tan just not "dark". I haven't seem to find any sand that was/is "dark" . I am going to have to look around some more and see if I can manage to find some somewhere. If I can't then I dont know how well the cork bark will look separating black gravel and black sand. I also don't want a bright sand either. Any thoughts on this? I might see if I can find some basalt as that might work better being it is dark also. Any idea where to find it though? LoL I am having a hard time finding some.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:12 AM   #23
 
So is the thought that sand would not be a suitable substrate for the Swords and Val? Or is it the root feeders in the back would get a benefit from the Flourite? Both?

I was going to get 1-2MM gravel for my 55G, but I thought of sand at first. Then I saw that Tahitian moon sand wasn't recommended for plants. I thought about gravel; I know it's okay for plants and cory's, but I saw sand at Petco as they just started to carry it and now I'm considering the split.

Sigh. I think I just need to buy the Caribsea Peace River before it goes off sale. Anybody use this with plants? Just trying to make sure the cory are fine and that my plants won't die.

I bought the Qickrete play sand from Lowe's and it looks just like Bryon's. Probably the same quarry as we are both in the PNW.

Last edited by TwinDad; 07-27-2011 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:32 PM   #24
 
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The Qickrete (or whatever the name is) is the "dark" playsand, looks grayish dry, but I can see why Lowe's would call it "tan" as there is a mix of buff, gray, black and some little white grains in it, and in the tank wet is does take on a "tan" colouration. I do like it.

Plants in my experience will grow well in coarse sand (this playsand) or fine gravel (1-2 mm grains). They do not do as well in larger gravel, like the pea gravel, at least not for me, I had a tank set up with this for a year and the plants did not do as well as they are now doing in the smaller gravel, same plants.

I've had the Flourite in my 70g now for just over 4 months. Maybe I was over-optimistic, but the plants have only done very marginally better than they did in gravel, and even this difference is questionable. I am still having to dose Flourish Comp twice a week; I did stop it, thinking the nutrients in the substrate would suffice, but the weakening of the plants said different, so I re-started Flourish Comp. Some have said it takes time for the enriched substrates to get going, but so far I am having trouble justifying in my mind the extra money for Flourite over plain sand/gravel.

I've no personal experience of the Peace gravels/sands mentioned. I like to see and "feel" a gravel/sand before buying it.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:41 PM   #25
 
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So is the thought that sand would not be a suitable substrate for the Swords and Val? Or is it the root feeders in the back would get a benefit from the Flourite? Both?

I was going to get 1-2MM gravel for my 55G, but I thought of sand at first. Then I saw that Tahitian moon sand wasn't recommended for plants. I thought about gravel; I know it's okay for plants and cory's, but I saw sand at Petco as they just started to carry it and now I'm considering the split.

Sigh. I think I just need to buy the Caribsea Peace River before it goes off sale. Anybody use this with plants? Just trying to make sure the cory are fine and that my plants won't die.

I bought the Qickrete play sand from Lowe's and it looks just like Bryon's. Probably the same quarry as we are both in the PNW.

TwinDad to the best of my knowledge there are lots of people who have success growing plants in gravel and sand now what types of sand I am not sure. One I know of is play sand and I think pool filter sand is another I have heard of. Most might just add some fertilizers in the root tablets form for heavy rooted plants and they also might add flourish comprehensive or another liquid fertilizer of choice. Also the gravel in my opinion needs to be smaller the pea gravel for best result. As long as you have the nutrients available for the plants and some substrate small enough for the them to take hold of they should grow.

In my case I originally was thinking that I could just take out the front half of the substrate along with the small plants and the driftwood. With the intentions of leaving the back untouched. Use something for a divider and put in the sand. Then add the plants back and the decorations and be done. Well I now realize thats not going to work that way. LoL

Also I don't really want to get rid of the eco complete altogether as I spend to much on it and it is also working good in my opinion. I just found out it isn't good for corys
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:45 PM   #26
 
I do agree with you on the playsand. It looks wonderful, I'm just worried about gas pockets.

I do recall people checking the smoothness of the gravel. From the closeup picture on DrFoster website, it looks well rounded. I might head to Petco to look at the new gravel and bring a ruler. They have this coffee brown that I think would look great, but unsure of particle size.

In re-reading the natural planted tank article (Thank you BTW) if most planted tank people recommend gravel, I'm thinking of that and not sand. So far the sand is okay. The best part is the plant matter and other things stay on the surface and I don't have to disturb the substrate if I need to clean leftover food. But recommendations to not clean the substrate lead me back to gravel.

I didn't see boredomb's post when I posted. I have co-complete too and Cory's so I'm trying to get substrate for the 55G sooner then planned. So my line of questions. I've read the Pool Filter sand threads, I think that sand is too sharp.

Last edited by TwinDad; 07-27-2011 at 12:54 PM..
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:56 PM   #27
 
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I do agree with you on the playsand. It looks wonderful, I'm just worried about gas pockets.

I do recall people checking the smoothness of the gravel. From the closeup picture on DrFoster website, it looks well rounded. I might head to Petco to look at the new gravel and bring a ruler. They have this coffee brown that I think would look great, but unsure of particle size.

In re-reading the natural planted tank article (Thank you BTW) if most planted tank people recommend gravel, I'm thinking of that and not sand. So far the sand is okay. The best part is the plant matter and other things stay on the surface and I don't have to disturb the substrate if I need to clean leftover food. But recommendations to not clean the substrate lead me back to gravel.
The sand compaction issue used to be my fear of sand, and it is for all those authors. One solution is not to have it too deep, it is only 2 inches in my two sand tanks. Another is lots of substrate-rooted plants, as the roots grow throughout the sand bringing oxygen (oxygen is released through plant roots). A third is keeping Malaysian livebearing snails that will burrow through every spot of the substrate, keeping it fresh. Now, having said all that, denitrification spots are also essential, under wood or rock, in sand or gravel.

The depth for sand was my reason for wanting a combo in my 115g, so I can have the 4 inches depth along the back for the large swords, and shallow sand along the front for a nice appearance and cory activity, and sufficient for a few pygmy chain swords. I never touch the sand substrates, nor the gravel.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:57 PM   #28
 
I used child play sand works great and cheap
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:24 PM   #29
 
Well if you have 4 inches of gravel for Swords then I've going to have to think about sand longer. I've been keeping the 20G sand I have at 1.75" to make sure.

I would meet option 1' Option 2 I can do, plan to have it heavy planted with big swords and dwarf chain swords and a few dwarf sag plants. I don't know of a fish store in Seattle area that has the MLS but I would like to have them.

I try not to touch it either, but I've been trying to find the food that the cory like. I tried a sinking wafer and they didn't eat it so I had to clean it up, it was this I had in mind but eventually it won't be an issue.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:11 PM   #30
 
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Well if you have 4 inches of gravel for Swords then I've going to have to think about sand longer. I've been keeping the 20G sand I have at 1.75" to make sure.

I would meet option 1' Option 2 I can do, plan to have it heavy planted with big swords and dwarf chain swords and a few dwarf sag plants. I don't know of a fish store in Seattle area that has the MLS but I would like to have them.

I try not to touch it either, but I've been trying to find the food that the cory like. I tried a sinking wafer and they didn't eat it so I had to clean it up, it was this I had in mind but eventually it won't be an issue.
You do need some snails. The sinking foods never last more than an hour in my tank, some not even that. If the fish don't clean them up, the snails sure do.

On the sand, remember that large swords have very large root systems, and I mean, very large. Even if the sand were 3-4 inches around the swords, it would be thick with roots. And that means lots of oxygen.

I just shudder at the thought of having to wash enough sand for my 115g.
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