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29 Gallon Substrate Question

This is a discussion on 29 Gallon Substrate Question within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by jaysee I agree, I prefer PFS over play sand hands down. My experience with play sand was awful - I can't ...

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29 Gallon Substrate Question
Old 03-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #11
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I agree, I prefer PFS over play sand hands down. My experience with play sand was awful - I can't understand why it's suggested. Must have been the brand?.....
What problem did it give you? Not going to try to troubleshoot but I am curious.

Jeff.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
 
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Hankj, these are my observations after 20+ years of substrates including fine gravel, pea gravel, play sand, and Flourite (Seachem's "enriched" plant substrate in black).

To the initial question of the plant rooting. There may well be other factors here, as the lack of roots and disintegrating lower stems suggests. Leaving this aside, most stem plants will root easiest in fine gravel or sand.

To the issue of types of sand. But first, the fish should determine the substrate, if any in this tank have substrate-related needs. Substrate fish such as corys should always have sand. Loaches can be sand or fine gravel, depending upon the species. Most cichlids are best with sand, as they feed from the substrate, or fine gravel or pea gravel for the larger Central American species works.

Now to sand types. I was disappointed with the black Flourite on two counts. First, plant growth was not improved over my sand and gravel tanks. Second, every spec of detritus and "stuff" showed up. Third, this is too sharp for substrate fish or cichlids.

I use play sand, now in 6 of 7 tanks, the 7th has fine dark mix gravel. These mixed sands and gravels hide detritus, and in the case of play sand the appearance is near identical to many Amazon streams, so it is natural.

Other types of sand can work, but be careful of the roughness. Play sand is made for kids to play in, so it is probably about the best you can get on this count. Now, before others jump in, I'm not saying all pool sand, etc is rough--but some of it is.

Byron.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
 
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Tank looks great. When I clicked on it, I noticed a picture on the bottom with black substrate. What substrate is that and is it suitable for planted?
I used "Black Diamond Blasting abrasives"; which I purchased at Tractor Supply for $8 a 50 pound bad. There are different sizes from extra fine to extra course. Get which is best for you.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:10 PM   #14
 
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What problem did it give you? Not going to try to troubleshoot but I am curious.

Jeff.
It was as dirty as can be. By the time I was done washing it, all the softness was gone; It was sharp. and it was an ugly greyish color in the tank. I believe I used quickcrete, which I've seen suggested many times.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:20 PM   #15
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I used another brand.... the sand was made up of a lot of clear/white quartz mixed with some red, brown, darker and odd colours along with some shell material... so it's an interesting mix in the tank. I actually have a picture of it here. I tagged on a picture of pool filter sand too, for camparison. I find it too light for my taste.

I did buy a bag of the Quickrete product and found it finer grained but never washed enough of it to see what the end colour was like or how dirty it was. It did have black limestone in it instead of white shell parts and it is a more homogenous colour pre-washing.

Interesting note, lots say that PFS is too sharp... if I were comparing the two sands side by side, I would have guessed that the play sand is far "sharper" looking.

Jeff.
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File Type: jpg PFS 10 yrs.jpg (20.5 KB, 20 views)
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:47 PM   #16
 
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Different forums push different substrates. This one is heavy on the play sand, while others push the PFS.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:57 PM   #17
 
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I used "Black Diamond Blasting abrasives"; which I purchased at Tractor Supply for $8 a 50 pound bad. There are different sizes from extra fine to extra course. Get which is best for you.
Should have said that that stuff (black diamond) is black; for tan sand I used THT pool filter sand from Ace Hardware. Both were exceptionally clean!
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:25 PM   #18
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I think it ends up being a personal preference and a tolerance for the washing process.

I did call the local pool place and talked to the owners, they advised against the filter sand. They said that they had planned on using it for one of their tanks and the manufacturer mentioned that the sand was treated with something and not suitable for use with fish. I never investigated that further so I don't know what it was about.

Jeff.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:17 PM   #19
 
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I have 3 different brands of pool filter sand - They're all fantastic. It's WIDELY used. I don't recall ever hearing about pool filter sand being treated with anything.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:24 PM   #20
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At the time I was just being overly cautious and didn't check any other stores. Obviously it's being used a lot so it isn't an issue.

Jeff.
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