Understanding flourite black?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Herrwibi, 14 Aug 2019.

  1. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    So I have a planted tank already . It's just black sanda I've had poor performance with plants mostly stems.

    I'm looking to try a low tech planted tank with flourite black on my 60l just as a tester and if everything goes well transition it into my 140l.

    I want more of an understand of how it works . I understand that it works like a cec . It has some nutrients within the clay substrate but I'm guessing it takes nutrients from the water column and stores them in the clay granuals and releases them when need be ?

    So fish waste / left over food will break down into the nitrogen cycle and be absorbed into the gravelfor the plants ? Is this right ?

    Also I hear you don't need to cap it ?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Sarpijk

    Sarpijk Member

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    Hi, Seachem Flourite and Flourite black sand are essentially inert and have a low CEC. I used to have it in all my tanks, I like the look of it and the convenience it provides in anchoring the plants in the substrate. So you will definitely need to supplement with either root feeding via root tabs or dose the water column with microa and macros depending on whether you are going high tech or not.


    Personally I would use a base layer of soil or a commercial product like Tropica plant substrate and cap it with Flourite. This will make it easier for root feeders to take off.


    https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/substrate/
     
  3. zozo

    zozo Member

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    Seachem Flourite is a very nice decorative and naturaly looking substrate. Personaly i find it one of the best looking substrates i ever used. Tho its darn expensive. :( it wouldn't be my choice for a very big tank.

    It's not made clear where it actualy originates from but its most likely a naturaly backed Mineral Clay from ancient vulcanic deposites somewhere in the USA. Something simmular to Akadama from Japan. In a sense it is clay like miniral but naturaly backed and therefor rendered completely inert. This natural backing process kinda turns it into a rock comparable with a red house brik that originates from red clay. But after it leaves te oven it seizes to be clay is we know it and its turned into inert porous rock with a capacity to absorb. And its original clay CEC value will be very low. Simmular again to other substrates from vulcanic origine like pumice and lavarock , it has rather very low cec but still a very good substrate to grow plants on as long as it contains (added) nutrients, than cec is not realy that much important.

    Even if you would use a high cec substrate you still would need to charge it with nutrients before it starts to exchange anything, initaily it doesn't nessecary contain anything usefull. Next to it the pH value has a rather high influence of cec effectiveness. If the pH doesn't allow the exchange than the substrates cec value aint much use. :) It's actualy a rather complicated mater and commercial hype advertizing term we don't realy need to pay much attention to in small quantities as in an aqaurium bottom.

    This hapens anyway, regardless the type of substrate used.. cec or not, if plants ask for it you need to feed them additionaly on top. With the proper care a plant can grow as lush and healthy on sand only. Nothing bad with adding a layer of clay, only thing is in the end it's very hard to proof that this realy made the difference. :) But if it works for your peace of mind and grows plants too, that's worth something too and its always fun to experiment.
     
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  4. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    Welcome @Herrwibi.

    Have a look at the "Flourite" post in <"Hobby laterite....">. I haven't seen the black flourite, but it may have more carbon (C) in it, or <"possibly manganese (Mn)."> You could ask Seachem, but they are unlikely to tell you any more than is on their <"Flourite black page">.

    This is a thread with a bit more about CEC and clays, <"Darrell's Soil..... ">.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  5. Zeus.

    Zeus. Member

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    Also of a side note the hardness of your water does effect how long the CEC properties of the substrate last as the excess ions in hard water tend to block the ionic bonding sites of the CEC so long term AS become more and more inert esp with hard water. With hard water there is still a short term benefit for the planets. How long the CEC lasts is dependant on how hard your water is OFC
     
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  6. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    Well with it being a low tech tank I was going to dose TNC complete once a week maybe even more if I seen any defiances.

    So being a rookie to this what are the tried and tested methods that don't break the bank ?

    I've read about aquatic soil and then capping it with sand. I have some Westlands . I'm more worried about messing it up and not capping it enough and the soil breaking through .

    There is just so many brands that it can get a bit confusing at times .

    With the products being expensive I don't want to make a mistake .
     
  7. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    You can use a <"mesh separator">.
    Soil with a sand capping is a good, cheap option.
    Sand is OK, you just need to feed the plants. Soil gives you a bit more wriggle room.

    Have a look at Diana Walstad's <"comments about nitrogen">. She was the original proponent of <"using soil">.
    Very true, there is a lot of dis-information and half truths on the internet, a certain amount of it designed to obscure the truth.

    Have a look at @Miss-Pepper's thread <"Bedside Aquarium">.

    There aren't really plants that are strictly "root feeders" etc. All plants (including terrestrial ones) can only take up nutrients as ions in solution, and they can take these up through their leaves, as well as roots.

    cheers Darrel
     
    Last edited: 14 Aug 2019
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  8. alto

    alto Member

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    I tried Flourite Black Sand a couple years back (you might confirm with Seachem that the product is basically still the same) ... it didn’t win me over, it packed densely (unlike some other aquarium sands I’ve used), and as I was not going down the rabbit hole of Malaysian Trumpet Snails (again) and the tank was a Spec 19 and plants didn’t seem overly enthusiastic either ...

    (likely I could’ve put in more effort but as my previous scape ran effortlessly using Tropica Aquarium Soil, I just shifted back to that)

    (It also never stopped giving in the Dust Department - and as I can’t use Clarity without significant negative impact (as in killed all my livestock) re very soft water, I decided to quit early)
    (check Seachem product page re Clarity)

    Note I used Tropica Growth Substrate as an nutrient rich base layer
     
  9. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    Well I have now come to the conclusion that I'm either going for John innes no 3 or tropica soil (not the powder).

    My only fear with either of these is that I have a bad breakout of algae or the John innes breaks through the cap.

    I'm probably going to run a 20w 6500k floodlight if the light I have just now doesn't perform.

    I know I can out do the algae by planting heavily .

    What do you guys think go for the John innes or tropica ?

    I know John innes affects water quality . I live in Scotland so I have fairly soft water .
     
  10. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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  11. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    You've had good success with potting soil ? Have your tanks been low tech + high tech with soil ?

    I might look to make soil into a high tech tank of anything goes well.
     
  12. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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  13. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    Do you have any photos of your scapes with soil? I've read your article many times and I'm fascinated with soil tanks . I think it's just taking the jump and doing it.
     
  14. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    The photos in the tutorial are of my soil substrate scapes, the last I used to illustrate the DSM has AS as a substrate ;)
    And photos of most of my scpes can also be found in the Planted Tank Gallery.
     
  15. Herrwibi

    Herrwibi Newly Registered

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    When creating your soil substrate did you always mineralise the soil ? I unfortunately don't have the space or weather for it to dry ?

    Would adding the soil in the tank then adding water to dampen the soil . Then I would add a cap of unipac black sand about an inch on top?

    I also hear of people saying that the tank smells . Have you had issues with them ?
     
  16. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    I mineralise the soil in situ, in other words I just chuck it in as is and then cap with sand and fill with water. It has certain benefits, it's less mess, not so time consuming, and it gives off CO2 whilst it's mineralising.
    About an inch of sand is fine especially if you use the mesh that Darrel and I have mentioned.

    My tanks never really smell, maybe of damp earth, but that's a healthy natural smell. The only time it does stink a bit is when I'm tearing it down and scooping the soil out; it may release SO2 and give off a smell of rotten eggs, but it quickly oxidised to harmless sulphates in the presence of oxygen so it's never a problem.
     
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