Volcano Mineral under sand?

JBFUK

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Hi all,

I'm just starting to lay the substrate in my new 125L tank. I am using JBL Volcano Mineral as a base layer to both build some height and I believe it also allows water movement under the main substrate to prevent the it from becoming anaerobic. I have some ADA Amazonia substrate which I will be using on top of this in the planted areas.

My layout will have a fine sand beach cove at the front of the tank which is surrounded by some flat rocks to separate the area from the planted surroundings. My question is whether I should lay some of the Volcano Mineral under the sand in the beach cove area? I figure it would be a good thing for the same reason I'm using it elsewhere in the tank, however I do have a slight concern that due to it's low density the Volcano mineral may become mixed with or work its way to the top of the sand which would look ugly and is undesirable. If necessary I could put the Volcano Mineral in this area inside a large mesh filter bag but if my concern is really a non-issue then it's a waste of a few filter bags.

IMG_0057.JPG

Thoughts and experience with this type of scenario would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Justin.
 
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I would also be very worried about them mixing over time, in fact i would avoid at all costs. Provided your sand area is not going to be very deep I would not be too concerned.
 

zozo

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A very fine substrate such as sand will always be washed in or sink down into the nooks and crannies from the coarse substrate such as lava rock split. In the dry scaping stage you will not really notice this but after the water is added and all is flooded the slowly finds its way down between the gaps from the lava pieces and fill these gaps with sand. Finally resulting in lava rocks popping out of the sand layer.

Sand is such a fine material it kinda liquidizes when submerged and it will always have the tendency to level out same as water does. Water does this instantly but sand needs some time to shift, by gravity and water movement or digging fish ad shrimps. Thus it is about impossible to create a slooped sand area that stays in place.

Looking at the picture where you intend the beach area if you intend to slope the sand up towards the back over the lava rock. It will slide back down over time and level out. Or you have to start with a sand layer thick and level enough to cover the lava layer that shows in the picture. It will result in a rather thick layer of sand at the front glass panel.
 

JBFUK

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I intend to have the sand come just above the lava rock base layer you can see under the log at the back. It will be around 3cm deep which will come to about 1cm above the black surround at the bottom of the tank. IU expect the soil substrate to come to around the same level in the rest of the tank. I can possibly put some sheets of plastic (cut up food.milk container) over that back layer to stop it from progressing forwards if that's a concern?

Seems like it might be an idea to use around 1cm thick layer of lava rock under the sand area, contained in a course mesh filer bag? That might allow some water movement under the sand while stopping the individual lava rocks from working their way to the surface?

It's not a problem if initially some of the sand filters it's way down in to the cracks, I guess I can just top it up with some more sand? From what I've been reading I need to 'cycle' the tank without plants etc due to the Amazonia substrate leeching ammonia - so I'll be filling and emptying the tank a few times anyhow.
 

Fisher2007

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My gut feeling would be that if some of the sand finds its way between the lava rock then it defeats the object of having it there in the first please
 

JBFUK

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I see. So it won't be a problem having 3cm of sand? I only considered having the lava rock under there because I'd read that a thick layer of sand can become anaerobic.

Perhaps I should just edge off that layer at the back with some plastic sheet and fill with sand?]

[EDIT] Answered my own question. From JBL's Blog:

"The airy sub-soil JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO MINERAL can be used both under soil and as the sole substrate. You can only use it with sand if you keep the two materials apart."


So I will divide off the beach area with some plastic sheet and just pour in the sand.
 
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Simon Cole

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I wouldn't worry about anaerobic conditions. It is rather rare to find conditions that actually generate hydrogen sulfide in nature, and usually the substrate layer would need to be several meters deep with very specific redox and mineral conditions. I used to sample water on fens and never found enough to establish it was a metabolic derivative. Although scarce in nature, there has been no proof that these conditions have ever been observed in fish tanks. In fact, I think it would be very difficult to get this happening and many people feel it poses no hypothetical or actual risk. It is just theoretically possible in certain people's minds.

You don't need the lava, just the sand. If I'm planting into the sand then I use a proper substrate underneath. But if it's just sand then keep it simple.
 

JBFUK

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You don't need the lava, just the sand. If I'm planting into the sand then I use a proper substrate underneath. But if it's just sand then keep it simple.

Thanks, hunting down some old food packaging to cut up as a barrier. Then I suppose I should post a question about cycling the Amazonia substrate as I've read a few different things about it.
 

JBFUK

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I found this webpage a while ago:

https://www.theshrimpfarm.com/articles/cycling-aquasoil-amazonia.php


When setting up a new aquarium with Aquasoil Amazonia you should follow these steps:

  • Add Substrate to the aquarium.
  • Fill the aquarium with water.
  • Activate filter.
  • Perform a 95-100% water change in 24 hours.
  • Perform another 95-100% water change 24 hours later.
  • Perform a 50% water change 24 hours later.
  • Add any live plants you plan on adding.
  • If you have filter media from an established aquarium add the media to the filter.
  • Watch Ammonia levels and Nitrite levels.
  • The aquarium should be fully cycled in 1.5-2 weeks. 0ppm Ammonia and nitrite indicate a fully cycled aquarium and it is ready for inhabitants.

So I had planned on following that procedure. Does it look reasonable? I plan on using 2/3 RO 1/3 Tap water for the tank but figure for this initial cycling of the substrate I could just use declorinated tap water.
 

sparkyweasel

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I see. So it won't be a problem having 3cm of sand? I only considered having the lava rock under there because I'd read that a thick layer of sand can become anaerobic.
3cm won't be a problem, that's hardly a deep layer. :)
 

zozo

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I found this webpage a while ago:

https://www.theshrimpfarm.com/articles/cycling-aquasoil-amazonia.php


When setting up a new aquarium with Aquasoil Amazonia you should follow these steps:

  • Add Substrate to the aquarium.
  • Fill the aquarium with water.
  • Activate filter.
  • Perform a 95-100% water change in 24 hours.
  • Perform another 95-100% water change 24 hours later.
  • Perform a 50% water change 24 hours later.
  • Add any live plants you plan on adding.
  • If you have filter media from an established aquarium add the media to the filter.
  • Watch Ammonia levels and Nitrite levels.
  • The aquarium should be fully cycled in 1.5-2 weeks. 0ppm Ammonia and nitrite indicate a fully cycled aquarium and it is ready for inhabitants.

So I had planned on following that procedure. Does it look reasonable? I plan on using 2/3 RO 1/3 Tap water for the tank but figure for this initial cycling of the substrate I could just use declorinated tap water.

This screams for a dry start.. :) Instead of flushing all out with massive water changes, add plants instead of water, let them grow for at least 8 weeks using and depleting all the goodies from the substrate. Than flood it it will likely deplete very little ammonia after that,
 

JBFUK

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This screams for a dry start.. :) Instead of flushing all out with massive water changes, add plants instead of water, let them grow for at least 8 weeks using and depleting all the goodies from the substrate. Than flood it it will likely deplete very little ammonia after that,

But oh man, 8 weeks.. I'd rather just fill and drain a few times over 3-4 days.
 

JBFUK

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That looks great, but won't a lot of the plants growth die back as they transition to their aquatic state? Also I'd like to have some livestock within a month. I can see the appeal for the full aquascape but I'm going more for the fully planted jungle style fish-tank.
 

zozo

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That looks great, but won't a lot of the plants growth die back as they transition to their aquatic state? Also I'd like to have some livestock within a month. I can see the appeal for the full aquascape but I'm going more for the fully planted jungle style fish-tank.

You can read Tim's entire journal to see how his plants did the transition.. :)
 

SRP3006

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My 12 week dry start was so easy to maintain. No constant water changes, no algae, develop great root structure. It worked for me as I simply did not have the time to perform water changes as much as required in the beginning. I wouldn't hesitate doing another.
 
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