non-clouding substrate

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by fourmations, 5 Nov 2008.

  1. fourmations

    fourmations Member

    Messages:
    201
    hi all

    i am about to embark on my first proper planted tank
    i have a 36" x 12" x 15" clearseal tank with an overhead luminaire with compact flourescents at 57w

    i have grown some low level plants in a juwel rekord 60 with the standard 15w with no co2 and inert sand
    and only using tetra plantamin every 4 weeks

    to the point......

    i am concerned about stirring up the substrate
    i am new to this and am sure to be moving plants and pulling some and trying new ones etc etc
    also i really like corys and would like to have say 20% of the tank floor in a bare cory friendly substrate for 3-6 corys
    and they would surely stir up the clay type sustrates used under gravel

    so I would ideally like to use an impregated gravel or sand and not have any soil/clay under it

    is this possible, preferably not ADA money either!

    there is talk of root tabs, but how do they work with HC or Dwarf hairgrass?

    any advice welcome

    regards

    4
     
  2. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Firstly, you can grow pretty well all plants in inert gravel so you don't have to have a nutrient substrate. However, it does make things a lot easier and if you are just starting out its worth the investment.

    If you want a non-clouding substrate you're best bet is eco-complete which is an excellent substrate, although unfortunately it isn't cheap. But on your tank you'd probably only need two bags.

    All this said, OK clouding the water is a pain, but it'll settle back down in a day or two so even if you did move stuff around it would only be a problem for a few days :)

    Sam
     
  3. vauxhallmark

    vauxhallmark Member

    Messages:
    569
    If you're taking a rooted plant out of a substrate that can cloud the water do it very slowly and gently, to try and avoid bringing the clouding substances up to the surface of the substrate. Or, if it's a fast grower, or a plant you don't want any more, just cut it off at ground level and leave the roots where they are.

    Mark
     
  4. scottturnbull

    scottturnbull Member

    Messages:
    132
    One solution, if you are trying out a lot of different plants, is to forego substrate altogether and grow in pots. You can get rockwool cubes and net pots from a hydroponic retailer, then split up the plants you buy and repot them. By the time you discover what grows well in your tank, you've got a whole tankful of the stuff, in pots, fully acclimatised, and ready to plant out.
     
  5. fourmations

    fourmations Member

    Messages:
    201
    hi guys

    i have done as much homework as i can and have come to flourite

    it seems to be the one for me, i can see a nightmare with soil under gravel
    between wanting corys and the inevitable rearrangements and plant replacements
    that face me as a newb

    i would like a brightish substrate and like sand or similar gravels
    but the flourite is red or black

    has anyone any last suggestions before i go for black flourite

    in the perfect world i want a solid gravel type in a natural bright colour
    that is good for plants with no need for soil type underlay

    thanks in advance

    4
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    To be perfectly honest i can't see why this is even a mission priority. If cost is not a serious issue it would be better to get the best product for growing plants and that has to be ADA Aquasoil. Off the top of my head I can think of 10 things that are about 1000X more important in plant husbandry than whether the substrate kicks up a bit of cloudiness when you stick in or uproot plants.

    Plant rearrangement should be done just before a water change anyway, because over time the ammonia content of the sediment will increase such that you can trigger algal blooms by haphazardly disturbing the substrate. After an hour, if your filtration is good (which is one of those 10 more important things) the cloudiness goes away.

    Also consider that AS is a very comfortable sediment to stick you hand into because it is velvety smooth while the other sediments gnash your fingers and small slivers get caught under fingernails - so if you are going to be sticking your hand into the sediment constantly then why not have something that doesn't attack your hand?

    My advice would be to simply get over the cloudiness issues, which disappears anyway, and to give yourself the best chance of growing healthy plants...

    Cheers,
     
  7. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    This is an issue for me as well, although maybe no to the same extent.

    I've used aquatic soil for ponds under sand in a previous tank and pulling up a plant created a bit of mess but it was manageable. I've now got tropica substrate under some fine gravel and when I pull a plant it makes a huge mess. It's not just sediment but turns into a fine cloud, not unlike smoke, which does take time to disappear. I also feel that everytime I move something I end up pouring away more of my substrate. I'd like something which is a little heavier than water so it sinks that I can put under sand.
     
  8. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Falkirk,Scotland
    Have you looked at eco complete?It's not supposed to cloud the water.I've just received my 1st bag and it has a surprisingly soil like texture,quite gritty though.
    I'd also like a few cories,so thought I'd maybe top of the front section with a small bag of black sand.
     
  9. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Ive used Eco-complete with Corys before no problems :)

    Sam

    EDIT - flourite will cloud the water!!!!
     
  10. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

    Messages:
    278
    Location:
    Falkirk,Scotland
    Cool.
     
  11. stujo

    stujo Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Tonbridge
    As a newbie to "serious" plant growing I have pretty much settled for using ADA Aquasoil (probably Amazonia). For the front section of the tank can somebody please advise whether it would be a good idea to use the ADA Aquasoil "powder" as a better medium for fine rooted carpet plants and for "corys comfort" or is the ADA normal grade ok/better throughout the tank.

    For my info (having never seen it in the flesh) is Amazonia, black, brown or ???? and does it have to be properly rinsed?

    Many thanks
    Stuart
     
  12. vauxhallmark

    vauxhallmark Member

    Messages:
    569
    I've used normal throughout my tank, which includes Glossostigma, hairgrass, Cryptocoryne parva and Pogostemon as foreground plants. They've all coped with it fine, although I suspect that the smaller plants like Glossostigma or Hemianthus would get well stuck in quicker with the powder type soil. If you can leave the tank a month before putting any animals in (especially shrimps and bottom dwelling fish) then you would be fine with either.

    To my mind the powder soil is nicer looking for the foreground, but that's just a personal opinion.

    The colour of Amazonia is basically darkish brown. Depending on your lighting and photography it can look blacker, greyer, browner, or even slightly purplish. Overall, I think it's a great colour, but I've always liked dark substrates.

    As it is a natural product (or made from a natural product), the colour might vary between batches - I've only ever bought it once.

    Both sizes are very soft, with no stone or sharp edges, and I would think Corydoras would be happy on either of them. It doesn't need any rinsing.

    The powder one has smaller gaps for any debris or uneaten food to fall into, but if you have shrimps in your tank they'll pick over the substrate every day anyway, so shouldn't be a problem.

    Hope some of that helps,

    Mark
     
  13. stujo

    stujo Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Tonbridge
    Many thanks for info Mark, all very useful and really appreciated - cheers.
    Stuart
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Actually Amazonia is strictly a dark grey/black product. Aquasoil is sold in three variant colors Amazonia, Malaya and Africana. Accurate representations of their colors can be viewed here:=> TGM's Aquasoil Stock

    Cheers,
     
  15. vauxhallmark

    vauxhallmark Member

    Messages:
    569
    Hmmm...still looks brown to me in that photo - but I haven't had a colour-blindness test since I was at school (and will probably never have one again unless I decide to be a pilot or an electrician or a bombdisposal expert :D ).

    M
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hmm...not really sure it can be described as having a brown component but everyone has a different color perspective, especially with different lighting as you say. This image shows the basic overall color impression in tank and under lighting with blue component:
    [​IMG]

    Zooming in I can see that there are quite a few brown bits, so maybe some batches have a lot of these bits.
    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
  17. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Is that the "normal" type or the powder?
     
  18. Simon D

    Simon D Member

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Hmmm....... Looks purple to me, but as you say Clive, everyone has a different colour perspective!! Maybe that's the blue component of the lighting showing it's true colors!
     
  19. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Simon,
    Wow, purple huh? Cool! I'd love to see the world through your eyes. :D Actually I think you might be right. At the time, that side of the tank was covered by blue actinic 55W T5 CFs and a pink bulb of the same spec, so yeah, purple. You must be as perceptive as Lt.Cmdr Jordi on Star Trek New Generation. :wideyed:

    Graham, that's the regular version.

    Cheers,
     
  20. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Are you red-green colour-blind Simon? I am and do agree the AS in that photo has a purplish cast. It doesn't in real life. It's a matt dark grey-brown to my eyes.
     

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