Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys and gals

I was looking at some cheap aquarium substrates for my 46 gallon tank. I'm looking to having live plants in it and was wondering what types of substrates would be best. I've read Bryon's 4 page sticky on planted tanks and concluded that a 1-2mm gravel should be good for a planted tank. My question is what specific brand and type of gravel should I buy. I've been doing some searching and came up with 3M Colorquartz, Pool Filtration sand or Turface. I don't want something that too grainy and small (like play sand) but something along the lines of a fine gravel. Could anyone give any insight or experiences with these 3 types of substrates or provide any alternatives.

Thanks :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
A lot of people swear by eco-complete, its a nice black gravel that's supposed to absorb nutrients and make it easier for the plants to absorb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yea I've seen eco complete in stores, but it's 37$ per bag (20lb), is there anything cheaper I can use that I can keep plants in ?
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
In my planting project I have a 1/2mm-1mm grain gravel then I found when a local petland went out of business. From what I can tell as long as the grain size is right it doesn't matter what you use. If you really can't decide there's always pool filter sand, do a 2inch layer of sand to prevent it from compacting... I'm a big fan of Leslies Pool Filter Sand, Pretty sure they are a pretty big branch store if you can find one locally. Price when i got some was $8 per 50lb bag
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,252 Posts
Anything from gravel to sand will work as mentioned. Just make sure the gravel is not to big or you might have problems getting plants to.grow. Pea gavel is about the max I would go with. Smaller is better though. Also with Eco complete if you plan on having substrate fish such as Corys you might have problems again. As some of the pieces can be sharp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Ok cool thanks for the help guys, when I'm buying my substrate, are there any warning signs I should ne looking out for (chemicals that could be harmful to fish/plants). I know about the vinegar test to see if bubbles form, but would there be any other things I should watch out for (eg:specific labels,ingredients on the bag)

Thank you kindly
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Yes. Some gravels will raise pH, and/or GH, so if it is an "aquarium" gravel always carefully read the bag information. A while back i bought some quite nice fine black gravel only to find out it raises pH (but not GH, which was interesting).

No mention is made of intended fish, but the warning about sharpness is critical if substrate fish are intended. Eco-complete and Flourite (I have the latter, and have seen the former in stores) are rough and not advisable with substrate fish, I had to remove my corys from the Flourite tank.

I've not tried the specific gravels you mention in post #1. But on pool filter sand, if you can get the black, it is fine; the white is too bright in my view. For years I had fine gravel, the natural buff-blend, until I decided to change over (last 2 years). I now have Quikrete Play Sand in five tanks, Flourite in one, and fine dark gravel in the other. The Flourite is likely to get changed to sand this summer, it has been very disappointing. And the gravel may soon follow. I obviously like the sand.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
hey thanks for all the help. I went to pioneer pools and saw some pool filter sand, but as you mentioned Bryon, its really bright, and the guy said that's the only colour they have. You mentioned you had fine dark gravel in one of your tanks. Do you remember where you bought it from and the brand name? Even a natural brown colour would be fine, i just really don't like white as a substrate. How did the quikrete play sand turn out?, if there anything like the tanks you have bryon, ill be sold :D

Thanks a million
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
hey thanks for all the help. I went to pioneer pools and saw some pool filter sand, but as you mentioned Bryon, its really bright, and the guy said that's the only colour they have. You mentioned you had fine dark gravel in one of your tanks. Do you remember where you bought it from and the brand name? Even a natural brown colour would be fine, i just really don't like white as a substrate. How did the quikrete play sand turn out?, if there anything like the tanks you have bryon, ill be sold :D

Thanks a million
My fine dark gravel is a mix, not completely black, and you can see it in the photos of the 90g stream habitat in my log [click "Aquariums" under my name on the left]. I found it in a local store years ago, but that is the only time I've ever seen it.

The 70g flooded Amazon Forest tank has black Flourite gravel, though I do not recomend this as I mentioned earlier. And the other tanks all have the Quikrete Play Sand which is what i have been changing all myh tanks over to during the past year. The 70g will proably be next.

Black pool filter sand is available, or so I have been told, but I've no idea where; might find it online. But I am finding that the fish tend to look better over the "mix" like the playsand. Maybe because this is so natural to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
The quikrete sand looks amazing in your tank byron. But what concerns me about quikrete play sand is the grain size. I wanted a carpeting plant like glosso to grow in the foreground, but would this be attainable using quickrete play sand (ie:would it take root in sand). I have a 36" Nova Extreme T5HO lighting fixture. It takes 4 T5HO bulbs which total up to 156 watts (which was donated to me by a good friend who used it for saltwater) and planning to run diy CO2.

I've read a lot of posts regarding sand for planted tanks and they all seem to be working fine. So i guess my question is; is quikrete play sand suitable for all plant species frovided the have good lighting, CO2 and proper dosing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
893 Posts
The quikrete sand looks amazing in your tank byron. But what concerns me about quikrete play sand is the grain size. I wanted a carpeting plant like glosso to grow in the foreground, but would this be attainable using quickrete play sand (ie:would it take root in sand). I have a 36" Nova Extreme T5HO lighting fixture. It takes 4 T5HO bulbs which total up to 156 watts (which was donated to me by a good friend who used it for saltwater) and planning to run diy CO2.

I've read a lot of posts regarding sand for planted tanks and they all seem to be working fine. So i guess my question is; is quikrete play sand suitable for all plant species frovided the have good lighting, CO2 and proper dosing?
My foreground plants have no problem growing/rooting in my tank and I have sand. Infact you can see their roots pressed against the glass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Yes, generally the finer textured the substrate the better the plants will root in it. In the tropics the substrate is usually clay/mud/sand or some mix of these. In other words, dense.

On the fixture, can you have only two of the four tubes light? Even with CO2 that is a lot of light. Over a marine coral setup, that's what one needs, but over freshwater that is bright.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Cool cool, so i guess having regular play sand as a substrate is fine for plants. But i've read some conflicting reports that some plants cannot root in sand becasue the sand "crushes" the roots and they cannot "breathe". Is this just a myth or is there some truth behind this.

And yes i was also thinking the same thing with the lights, but thankfully having only 2 of the 4 lights is possible

Thanks again
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Cool cool, so i guess having regular play sand as a substrate is fine for plants. But i've read some conflicting reports that some plants cannot root in sand becasue the sand "crushes" the roots and they cannot "breathe". Is this just a myth or is there some truth behind this.
I would suspect what the author/source means is the compaction of sand. Any substrate can compact if not looked after or if there is something wrong. And the finer the substrate, the faster this can occur. And if this does occur, it will kill the plant roots--you see it as black, as are the roots.

In the aquarium we can deal with this by not having too deep a substrate, by having a good complement of substrate-rooted plants, by keeping Malaysian Livebearing snails, and by poking or stirring the sand periodically. All of these may not be needed in every situation.

The poking/stirring of the sand I never do, because the other factors handle it adequately. The MLS burrow throughout the substrate, keeping it loose and "fresh," so water carrying oxygen is better able to percolate through it. And the tank water must be able to pass through the substrate. The plant roots assist by releasing a lot of oxygen via photosynthesis. As plants photosynthesize they release oxygen, but a considerable proportion of this is through the roots. When these are in the substrate, they feed oxygen into the surrounding substrate; various bacteria use this oxygen to further break down organics. Maintaining a not-too-deep substrate allows this to occur over more of the substrate, limiting the "dead spots" as they are called. These latter are actually essential however, provided they do not overpower the substrate.

Byron.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top