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musho3210 02-25-2007 09:59 PM

I need big help with substrate
I am planning a 55 or 75 gallon aquarium (with lots of begging i probably will get the 75 :)) heavily planted aquarium. It will use compact flourecents so it will be about 3-4 wpg. I am planning on using a CO2 system, probably pressurized to maintain a good amount. I will dose twice weekly with flourish fertilizer and might get some root tabs as well. My question is the substrate. I want an all black substrate, preferable sand since i am planning on getting cory cats. My plan

For the 75 gallon

40 pounds of eco-complete gravel, then 40 pounds of black sand

55 gallon

20 pounds eco-complete
40 pounds black sand

I understand the stuff about sand and i am thinking of getting some malaysian trumpet snails to keep it stirred, if they get out of control i will add some kuhli loaches to keep the snail population in check.

Will this work? Will the black sand raise or lower ph? Will the 20-40 pounds of eco-complete be enough for the tank?

Lupin 02-25-2007 10:11 PM

Ryan, you will need pressurized CO2 for a 75 gallons, not DIY. DIY is very insufficient. I doubt black sand would ever lower the pH. I would only make sure it is inert.

And...kuhli loaches do not eat snails. They are far too small to accomplish the task of consuming MTS. MTS are one of the snail species that are very difficult to remove. Your bet goes to yoyos, rostratas, etc but this is at the expense of your plants. Most botias can't resist the temptation to leave bites on plants.:wink2:

musho3210 02-25-2007 10:22 PM

ok then i'll skip the snails and rely on the cories and manual labor to keep the sand stired. How can you make sure the sand is inert?

Lupin 02-25-2007 10:26 PM


Originally Posted by musho3210
ok then i'll skip the snails and rely on the cories and manual labor to keep the sand stired. How can you make sure the sand is inert?

Test it with vinegar like you do with rocks. If the sand produces bubbles vigorously, then it is not considered inert and will only increase the pH. You'll need to know your KH and GH too if you want a desirable pH. Very high KH makes lowering of pH difficult via the use of CO2.

musho3210 02-25-2007 10:37 PM

i'll test my ph, gh, kh of my tap water (the stuff that goes in my tank after de-chlorination) and see if they are ok for carbon dioxide. I might not get the CO2 system until the plants have grown a bit as im sure they can share when they are still small

fish_4_all 02-26-2007 02:30 PM

Well first, I don't see the need for the sand. I know a lot of keepers thathave only Eco Complete and they grow pretty much anything that they want, even the smallest plants with fine roots. If you want to use it, MTS will not overpopulate so bad that they will be an issue if you don't massively overfeed. My Skunk botia loaches eat any snail I throw in there, even MTS.

As for dosing, with that much lighting and CO2, you will need to dose a lot more than twice a week to keep algae at bay. Remember, nutrient imbalances cause algae not just excess nutrients. If your NO3 bottoms out a lot and you have any other nutrients that don't then algae will be a problem as with any other imbalance.

If you want to use the sand go for it, the plants may appreciate it. MTS will be fine in it and the Eco. Just come out once a month before the lights come on and check the numbers. If the numbers are too high then collect them as fast as you can and get rid of them. Most people will pay for shipping for them if not give you a couple extra bucks for them.

musho3210 02-26-2007 04:31 PM

the reason i want the black sand is because of the corydoras, they will like the sand and it is much softer on there barbels. Also, getting 80-100 pounds of 20 dollars 15 pounds eco-complete isnt exactly my cup of tea, sand will help save me a few dollars and im sure you dont need a tank of only eco-complete gravel to grow plants, right? I am also planning on some algae eaters (probably otos since there usefulness in a planted tank). Im not much of a light genius but i know the bigger the tank the less light you need, is 3-4 wpg really nessicary (i was thinking compact flourecents but now i might only need double tube NO flourecents) The tank is a normal size one, 18 inches deep and 48 inches wide, so a double tube flourecent will give about 80 watts. The plants i want arent really considered fragile but some arent hardy, i want some java moss and java fern to start with and some amazon sword plants, then maybe i will look at other plants i like and that will fit in my tank.

Should i go with all eco-complete, eco and some sand?
What light should i get
MH (highly doubt that though)

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