Best all around substrate for Monte Carlo in low tech tank?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by DD1880, 15 Aug 2019.

  1. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Hi everyone! I was thinking about doing a carpet of Monte Carlo or similar looking carpet plant and was wondering what was the best complete substrate that would last years. I know aquasoil would be the best but would rather not have to change it all out after a year or two. Is there a aquasoil that last longer than that? I was hoping not to dose co2 either. Don’t think I’m ready for that yet haha. Would it even be possible with the substrate I have now? I dose Nilocg thrive 3 times a week and have a Chihiros rgb 60 set at 50% now but am slowly raising it. Thank you for any suggestions and help!
     

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  2. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you'll struggle to grow a compact and aesthetically pleasing carpet of MC without CO2, or any other carpet plant for that matter. I doubt you'll get much satisfaction with LC either.
    As for substrate, the plants will benefit from a nutritious substrate but you should water column dose fertz as well. That way the substrate will not become depleted of nutrients and will act as a buffer for the occasional missed dose etc, and you'll be feeding the plants at both sites; roots and foliage.
    I would recommend ADA AS and Tropica AS.
     
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  3. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Thank you for the info! How long would the Tropica AS last? I would rather not have to change out the dirt every year or two if that’s what was necessary! Would CaribSea eco complete be a ok alternative? I would continue my dose of Nilocg thrive 3 times a week. Would that be sufficient? Also would I need a cap with the Tropica and if so what’s a good cheap option to cap the dirt? I do like the black substrate look.
     

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  4. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Like I wrote if you water column fertz dose the AS will last indefinitely. There are two Tropica substrate products on the market the one I recommended does not require capping https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/aquarium-soil/aquarium-soil/

    I'm not familiar with Nilocg thrive, but from what I can gather it's an all in one macro and micro nutrient, so should be fine. I'd follow the instructions and watch your plants for signs of deficiency. Obviously, if there are any increase the dose. Also check out Tom Barrs Non CO2 Methods ;)
     
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  5. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Thank you so much!
     
  6. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Thank you! Any idea how much Tropica AS I’d need for a 29 gallon that’s 30 inches long by 12 inches wide?
     
  7. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    At least 2 x 9 litre bags. You need at least 3cm at the front and to be able to bank it a lot deeper toward the back to achieve a better sense of perspective.
     
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  8. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Ok thanks again for all the help!
     
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  9. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    When setting up the tank and adding soil any tricks to minimize a mess or huge cloud of muck? Also when cleaning any tricks to minimize a mess! Thanks since I’m new to this soil planted tank thing!
     
  10. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Thanks for all the helpful info! One more question, I think haha! My big java fern that I have has been growing in leaves that aren’t as uniformly green and straight. Some are even twisted looking as the new growth comes in. And some of the new leaves were looking great but now I notice little brown spots on the new leaves that still have a ways to go to be full grown. Any ideas on why it’s doing that? I did go from a old fluorescent bulb to the Chihiros rgb 60. And I’m dosing ferts now when I never used to! Also I have the red root floaters covering almost the whole top. Thanks for any help!
     

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  11. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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  12. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    Running your light at 50% without co2 will likely cause a few issues.. I'd suggest not increasing light as you said want to....
    Carpet of mc will go fine without co2 but good flow will be the key.
    Tropica soil will last indefinitely, it may be mushy underneath but top will be good for years to come.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
     
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  13. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    I was hoping that since I have the top covered about 80% in red root floaters I could keep the java fern from getting to much light! I was hoping to get the rrf red roots at least and maybe red tops since that’s why I got them. I like that look. They are still green and have almost flat tops to the leaves. That’s why I was raising the light. I have the commander one which works quite well btw if anyone’s wondering! Thanks again for the helpful info!
     

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  14. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Thank you for the help! If the red root floaters cover the top would that help the java fern and the co2? I was trying to get red roots and tops which I have neither haha! They do grow quick and even flower. Just no red roots which is at least what I got them for!
     
  15. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Is there a way to do high light without added co2? Thanks for any helpful info!
     
  16. Iain Sutherland

    Iain Sutherland Forum Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry I hadn't loaded the pictures before, looking at them now I'd remove a lot of floaters as you have what looks to be very little light getting through.
    An mc carpet stills needs reasonable direct light... as high as you can without causing algae issues higher up....

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
     
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  17. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    No worries. Thanks for the help!
     
  18. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    Would say miracle gro organic soil capped with sand do the same or is ada as or Tropica as just that much better in the long run? Also what’s the difference between ada AS regular or ada as light? Thanks again for all the help!
     
  19. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that soil is often overlooked as a substrate or medium for growing aquatic plants. But it's the mark one version, everything else is just a variation on a theme of nature. So, yes I'll stick my neck out and say that a decent soil substrate will do just as well as AS, if not better, given the right conditions...

    As far as I know AS light is not impregnated with as many nutrients. The info is out there tho'. Take a look at what Jurijs has to say about it...



    Btw, Iain has proven that an MC carpet is possible without CO2, but he's got massively green fingers, and is very talented and experienced :cool: Give it a go nevertheless, if you're up for a challenge ;)
     
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  20. DD1880

    DD1880 Member

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    384D4770-A841-49CE-B1AE-435A2D5F304E.jpeg
    Thank you for all this info cause there are some forums I’ve been on (won’t name names) that don’t respond at all some times. This is by far one of the best forums for detailed info from experienced people! Would you say miracle gro organic soil would last indefinitely like ada or Tropica if I water dosed ferts also? And I am up for a challenge. I haven’t killed any plants yet even though I have easy plants like java fern and anubis, not sure which type of Anubis it is haha!
     
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