Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Gracie30 04-02-2012 06:33 PM

Double Filters and Substrate
Hey guys,
I have 37 gallon aquarium and have a marineland bio wheel model 200, it says that it is good for up to 50 gallons. My question is the tank came with a top fin model 40, could I use both or would it be to much for the tank? And also do you have to have air stone for air, or would 2 filters do the job of that to?

I also have a different question, I have just the gravel you buy at petco, I think its called pea size gravel. But I was going to plant with live plants and was reading about people using safe-t-sorb from tractor supply. Do u have to put anything under it and will I have to go through the cycle process all over again, I only have one guppy right now in the tank? Or is there a better substrate for planted fish tanks? I don't want to use sand because of the "dead pockets", and then I heard of people using pool filter sand?

Could I have play sand or pool filter sand on the bottom and then the gravel, or is safe-t-sorb or any other substrate like it better for the plants? If i use safe-t-sorb how hard would it be to change, and do I need to put anything under like meat moss or ecosand?

I just need some advice and detailed instructions. Thanks in advance.

Boredomb 04-02-2012 06:56 PM

Running both filters is going to depend on what kind of fish you are planning on having. Some like current and then there are some that like calm water. If you get fish that don't like current and run both filters its going to really stress the fish as it will be fighting a current that it shouldn't be. A same goes for the fish rhythm need it and its not there.

As for the substrate well how big is the gravel you got now? If it is actual pea gravel it might be too big. I had some one time and I had a hard time getting the plants to grow in. Now as what to use. Small is fine to use plants will do fine in it. Same with play sand or pool filter sand (though I used this one time and.I found it is really bright. Rather the lights reflect off of it and it makes.the tank bright) .

The dead spots or the sand compacting as you are worried about really isn't a big issue in the tank as for one you are not going to.have it supper deep and.two the roots from the plants help with that. Another thing get Malaysian Trumpet Snails. They burrow in tie substrate. You hardly ever see they come out mostly at night.

The Safe-T-sorb just clay. I would not use this by itself. There can be some benefits of adding clay mainly the iron the plants can get out of it but alone wouldn't be much good. If you want to use it put it under sand or gravel whatever you use and just a small amount (though I would just skip it altogether really not needed).

Byron 04-02-2012 07:14 PM

I'm with Boredomb. The reason behind what he mentioned is balance. Plants need light (sufficient intensity and duration) and 17 nutrients. If these are all balanced, the plants will grow (photosynthesize). It will be slower growth (depending what one means by this:-)) than if you pump more nutrients in via substrate clays and more light, but it will still be healthy and steady.

Go with a natural or dark tone substrate, be it sand or gravel. I have both, and I have used pea gravel and it can work in some situations like a river habitat. All this really comes back to the fish's needs. Sand is better for some fish. I agree that some of my plants did better in sand and fine gravel, but certain species did fine in the pea gravel too.


Gracie30 04-06-2012 02:36 PM

What kind of substrate (like Flourite or Saf-t-sorb) could I use under my pool filter sand, so I wouldn't have to use fertilizer on a regular basis. Or would I still have to use them.

Another quick question, is a fluorescent light strip with a 6500k t8 bulb OK or should I get a higher bulb.

Geomancer 04-06-2012 03:04 PM


Originally Posted by Gracie30 (Post 1037609)
What kind of substrate (like Flourite or Saf-t-sorb) could I use under my pool filter sand, so I wouldn't have to use fertilizer on a regular basis. Or would I still have to use them.

Another quick question, is a fluorescent light strip with a 6500k t8 bulb OK or should I get a higher bulb.

Don't mix sand and gravel, it won't work. The sand will just work its way down and the gravel will float its way up and eventually you'll just have a mix.

Fertalizer is necessary for a lot of plants, only substrate rooted plants will get anything from an enriched substrate (common ones being Swords and Crypts). Stem, floating, and non-substrate rooted plants will not get much benefit.

If the gravel you have is the standard epoxy coated gravel pet stores sell that's usually small enough to work, at least it's working for me. "Pea" gravel you get at hardware stores is larger, at least in my case.

That light bulb is perfect, provided it is less than 1 year old. They loose intensity after a year even if your eyes can't see it and need replaced.

Byron 04-06-2012 03:18 PM

Yes, my experience with an enriched substrate has been disappointing to say the least. I bought Flourite for my 70g and the same plant species in there as I have in other tanks with plain sand and other plain gravel, and same light overhead, are growing much the same. Liquid fertilizer regularly is needed in all of the tanks regardless.

And Geo is correct on the sand and gravel mixing. I suggest a single substrate, either all sand or all gravel, and of the same type. I now use Quikrete Play Sand from Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. Very inexpensive, takes lots of rinsing, but a nice substrate when done. Looks nice, plants are doing well, but most of all the substrate fish love it.:-)

Light should be fine, and agree, replace every 12 months.

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