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Old 04-29-2010, 11:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY plant substrate

Hey everyone, I've recently become very interested in doing a nano aquascape, and possibly my 29 gal tank. I found a great 2.5 tank and I have everything else I need, besides the substrate. I was wondering if anyone knew a good, cheap way to make a substrate. The cheapest bag I've seen was 20 bones, for a 15 LB bag, and I feel like they're sort of ripping me off...
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

Hi, Kingken...
depending on the type of tank, you can use a variety of common topsoils, (or plain/no additives kitty litter) capped with standard gravel, pool filter sand, etc.
also check the Substrates forum.... (and the sticky's there too)
there are LOTS of ways to make/obtain inexpensive substrates for your planted tank.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

Thanks a lot man, I appreciate it =D
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

You can just dig the soil from your garden, but I would try a small amount (the 2 gallon tank) before getting into the 29 gallon. Some soil works really well, others (like mine) are not worth the effort.
Read more in the El Natural forum, as well as in the substrate forum.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

Working recipe 200L tank (all you can buy in flower shop):

1. vermiculite on the bottom of the tank 2Liters
2. Ph neutral peat 1-2 cm
3. Soil for cactuses 2.5 Liters
4. Blue clay* mixed with any aqua (micro-elements) fertilizer, shaped a ball and dried. Ball should be placed in zones where you gona have your plants. (Also you can do it as for fertilizing needs, as clay prevent fertilizer to dissolve quickly and give it away slower) *- Blue clay we buy in a beauty shop.
5. Quartz sand of 2-3 mm on top to make 3-5 cm

It works well

Last edited by peskar; 01-03-2011 at 01:21 PM..
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

I tried vermiculite once in an aquarium.
Worst mess I have ever seen. Skip it.

I have tried peat moss in an aquarium. Useful as long as the water is not disturbed. Set up a slow filter that does not blast the bottom, then never move the plants or decor.

Try the mineralized soil option. It is almost free, just labor, if you have reasonable soil available.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY plant substrate

I've heard bad things about kitty litter. Seattle Aquarist uses this and I've seen a pic of his tank and looks amazing!
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The substrate is Turface Pro League Grey. Turface no longer makes this color; but does make other colors of Turface Pro League, I may try the Heritage Red next time. From what I understand the Aquariumplants.com substrate in the "Black Diamond" color is very similar.
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