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arscott82 04-14-2012 01:40 PM

starting over
 
After my last post I decided I want to start over with my plants and substrate. I just don't like the way the sand and flourish black look. The sand just sinks down and compresses to much. Here is the question thought, and it's probably a dumb one, but I have to ask. Can I use just the Flourish substrate? And if so would 30 pounds be enough for a 29 gal tank? I'm going to go with the flourish dark, the more tan and less black look. It will of course be a planted tank. I know changing the substrate isn't really recommended, but I'm going to order a lot of plants. I'm going to wait till my plants get shipped to me, then all at once change the substrate and add all the new plants plus some of my older ones. Another reason I'm doing this is because I want to get rid of my black hair algae and my green spot algae. After this change I'm going to stick with a natural/low tech set up with 2 24" lights, one 6500k and I'm going to play around with what the other will be. And with only adding flourish comp twice a week. The second time might be just a little under recommended dose.

Byron 04-14-2012 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arscott82 (Post 1046863)
After my last post I decided I want to start over with my plants and substrate. I just don't like the way the sand and flourish black look. The sand just sinks down and compresses to much. Here is the question thought, and it's probably a dumb one, but I have to ask. Can I use just the Flourish substrate? And if so would 30 pounds be enough for a 29 gal tank? I'm going to go with the flourish dark, the more tan and less black look. It will of course be a planted tank. I know changing the substrate isn't really recommended, but I'm going to order a lot of plants. I'm going to wait till my plants get shipped to me, then all at once change the substrate and add all the new plants plus some of my older ones. Another reason I'm doing this is because I want to get rid of my black hair algae and my green spot algae. After this change I'm going to stick with a natural/low tech set up with 2 24" lights, one 6500k and I'm going to play around with what the other will be. And with only adding flourish comp twice a week. The second time might be just a little under recommended dose.

Almost any substrate will work from the perspective of plants, it is largely up to what you want it to look like. And of course the fish, if substrate fish like corys, loaches, etc are intended then I would not use Flourish or any similar enriched substrate. I have Flourish in one tank and will never get it again.

And, the substrate wil make no difference to algae; not sure of the connection you have between these. Both are due to light, nothing else.

arscott82 04-14-2012 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1047007)
Almost any substrate will work from the perspective of plants, it is largely up to what you want it to look like. And of course the fish, if substrate fish like corys, loaches, etc are intended then I would not use Flourish or any similar enriched substrate. I have Flourish in one tank and will never get it again.

And, the substrate wil make no difference to algae; not sure of the connection you have between these. Both are due to light, nothing else.

Just looked at all your tanks and you just have sand or gravel, and the one with flourish. OK then, I was under the impression that was the best stuff to use for a planted tank but you have some great looking tanks without it. I love the sand look but didn't want to mix it with anything, might have to try a just sand tank and put root tabs down.

As for the substrate and algae, I know they don't hand and hand. I think, pretty sure, I received my algae problem when I started dosing all the dry ferts with all the other chemicals. And not having any co2 system it just let the algae start having it's way. Anyways, I figured I could solve both my problems in the same day buy changing out substrates and giving everything a good cleaning. Also not putting any of the plants with the hair algae back into the tank.

arscott82 04-14-2012 05:42 PM

One last thing here. I think I remember you or someone here saying that regular play sand will work just fine. Just rinse it well before putting it in the tank. Also, how many pounds would you recommend for a 29 gal tank?

arscott82 04-14-2012 05:48 PM

Never mind, should've done this before even asking. I just re-read your part one to planted tanks. I'm going see if I can find really small fine rocks to use as my substrate. Going to go about 4 or so inches in the back and tapper it down to about 2 inches in the front of the tank.

Byron 04-14-2012 07:21 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by arscott82 (Post 1047102)
Never mind, should've done this before even asking. I just re-read your part one to planted tanks. I'm going see if I can find really small fine rocks to use as my substrate. Going to go about 4 or so inches in the back and tapper it down to about 2 inches in the front of the tank.

Rocks will not be a good substrate for several reasons. First, plants have difficulty rooting in pebble substrates or larger. Second, waste accumulates down and bacteria have difficulty breaking it down, I suspect because of the limited surface are compared to sand and fine gravel. Third, water flow will be too great, which is another detriment to plants. Fourth, fish, depending what they are, can have troubles. A main substrate of sand or fine gravel, not too deep, with a scattering of various sized pebbles as river boulders can be effective, I have this in my 90g.

On the prior posts, yes, i only use plain sand now (4 tanks reset so far over past 2 years), fine gravel still in my 90g, and Flourite in the 70g but a disappointment. Quikrete Play Sand from Home Depot (and I think Lowe's) is what I use, it is a tan-gray colour mix. For a 29g, half a bag or so; I just redid my 29g with sand a few weeks back, photo attached. I skimped on the sand, it is no more than 1 inch overall, but I have no large-root plants, just pygmy chain swords rooted in the sand.

arscott82 04-14-2012 07:57 PM

Sand would be my top pick, but I've been reading on how it doesn't allow water flow through it at all and that can be a problem later on down the road. If I do go with the sand you think 3" in the back would be to much? I do have a couple plants I was thinking about getting that are big root feeders. The red rubin or red flame sword was one of the main ones I was thinking about for kinda a focal point in the background. Also for the foreground I'm going to try dwarf baby tears, I really want to a good covering with that. If I cant get that to grow like I want I'm going to try dwarf hairgrass or riccia. Also another plant I'm looking at is the african fern. If I use root tabs per directions on box, you think these plants will do well with sand. I love the look of your substrate in that photo and would really like to use it.

Byron 04-14-2012 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arscott82 (Post 1047256)
Sand would be my top pick, but I've been reading on how it doesn't allow water flow through it at all and that can be a problem later on down the road. If I do go with the sand you think 3" in the back would be to much? I do have a couple plants I was thinking about getting that are big root feeders. The red rubin or red flame sword was one of the main ones I was thinking about for kinda a focal point in the background. Also for the foreground I'm going to try dwarf baby tears, I really want to a good covering with that. If I cant get that to grow like I want I'm going to try dwarf hairgrass or riccia. Also another plant I'm looking at is the african fern. If I use root tabs per directions on box, you think these plants will do well with sand. I love the look of your substrate in that photo and would really like to use it.

For those delicate substrate cover plants, definitely use playsand. On the depth, this is misunderstood by many. It is true that the smaller the particle size, the more easily it will compact, so sand will compact before gravel, all else being equal. But we are not talking about a plain layer of sand, we are talking about a living substrate. There are plant roots producing considerable quantities of oxygen (plants release oxygen from photosynthesis through their roots) which certain of the bacteria use in breaking down the organics. Other bacteria use nitrates. Then there are little helpers like Malaysian Livebearing Snails (these should be in every tank) that burrow throughout the substrate. End result is a mainly aerobic substrate. But there sill--and must be--some anaerobic zones in order to complete the full nitrification process. You can read more here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

If all of this is functioning properly, water will flow through the aerobic areas as it does in nature, and for the same reason; the relatively cooler water passes down and is heated by the bacteria processes breaking down organics, then it rises back into the aquarium and the cycle repeats. This is one of the major drawbacks with the rock substrate that i mentioned earlier--this flow is interfered with and doesn't do the job well.

Nutrients placed in the water will get down into the substrate in this setup just as they do in nature--via the water flow. For heavy feeders, substrate tabs are fine, I use them in my two tanks with the large Echinodorus species that have plain sand or gravel.

Byron.

arscott82 04-14-2012 08:20 PM

Sounds good. Thanks for all the info on this. Your a life saver here, and from what I've seen a lot of people on the this site. Going to order my plants tonight and hopefully by the end of next week I'll have my new set up. And I didn't mention, but because we're talking about substrate, I am going to get some water sprite to try out the floating plant thing.


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