Substrate alternative? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
Substrate alternative?

Has anyone found an alternative substrate to gravel, rocks or sand? It would be great to find something that didn't need gravel vaccing every two minutes! I tried those large river pebble things, thinking that would be easier to clean but am now fed up of having to move them around and clean and then nicely arrange them again!

Anyonr tried mesh/net with plants growing all over the bottom of the tank? I imagine that would also be difficult to clean?

I've tried having a bare bottomed tank but don't like the look of it at all.

Any ideas would be great!
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 01:59 PM
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I was thinking about making a DIY background from quickcrete but instead of placing it on the back of the tank wouldnt it work by securing it to the bottom ? That way you get the look of a rocky bottom but its actually a bare bottom !
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:02 PM
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Sounds like you may be overfeeding a little. The more you feed, the more they poop. It's that simple :)

If you have sand, waste rests on top. If you have excellent filtration and bottom dwellers, most of that will get sucked up into the filter. Bottom dwellers stir up the bottom and the current takes it closer and closer to the intake.

If you have gravel, the waste gets trapped in it and settles on the bottom of the tank, under the gravel. You don't see it, but it's there. Gravel vac is the only way to remove it.

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post #4 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
Lol I know, but I have loooooads of BN fry in the tank I'm thinking of at the moment which means lots of algae pellets and lots of mess :/ Hopefully things wil improve when I have just a few large fish in there soon (moving house and moving my tanks around).

Steven that sounds like an excellent idea, not heard of quickcrete before, can you elaborate? :)

Thanks.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:48 PM
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quickcrete is just a brand of fast setting concrete. I have made backgrounds (im sure you have seen them) from styrofoam and then using quickcrete and some sand to make the "rock" look. After its set just bond it with epoxy resin.

It would be a better way to keep the bottom clean and still have that realistic look.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:50 PM
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Sand is my favorite substrate, I also have bare bottomed tanks. IMHO those are the two easiest substrates to clean.

Personally when feeding fry I often use bare bottomed tanks so I can suck out the extra food with a turkey baster.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
I am going to move the fry into a bare bottomed tank with the rest of my fry - I'm in the process of trying to catch them all by putting their food in a jar and just moving them across but it's taking a while!

I will look into the quickcrete idea thank you :)

Any ideas on what might live in a 29gal with a large rainbow/ruby shark? Just want a few big fish.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 02:57 PM
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Quickcrete is not a good idea. If you are going to try putting a textured background on the bottom of the tank you should use Styrofoam sealed with drylock. Quickcrete is full of minerals that will severely alter your PH.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 03:03 PM
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Thats why i said to seal it with Epoxy Resin. If you let the quickrete stand in water and change the water everyday for a week it will make hardly any difference to your PH, certailnly not enough that the API test kits will notice.

Last edited by stevenjohn21; 02-17-2011 at 03:06 PM. Reason: added text
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-17-2011, 03:09 PM
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Instead of a net, why not just use gravel and plant lots of small plants in it? The plants use the 'detritus' as fertiliser, and you never see it.

I haven't gravel-vac'd in months.

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