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Old 02-12-2010, 07:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

You'll hear a lot of folks saying you need massive $$$$ for a planted tank. You CAN take it one step at a time; I started with inert (no real value to the plants) substrate that I bought at a bulk landscape place - $5 per bag of gravel; as much as you could fit in the bag. Needless to say, I got two bags which weighed AT LEAST 50 pounds each. It was inert; but you can always use plant tabs later on if needed. Plus; I had a HORRIBLE time with "mineralized substrate" seeping through the cap of substrate and it's a headache with a larger tank. Shoot me a PM and we'll chat if you'd like...
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

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Old 02-13-2010, 05:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

Crushed coral is an inappropriate freshwater planted substrate. It might grow some hard water loving plants well, but your selection will be severely limited. You'd do well to get a plant specific substrate or even just an inert gravel to start with. Why start with a handicap from the beginning?
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

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Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
Crushed coral is an inappropriate freshwater planted substrate. It might grow some hard water loving plants well, but your selection will be severely limited. You'd do well to get a plant specific substrate or even just an inert gravel to start with. Why start with a handicap from the beginning?
Hey Aaron, since he wanted to keep his africans and at the same time have plants maybe we can suggest some hard water-high ph resistan plants? i don't know much on that subject, but i think anubias and ferns will do well, that if attached to rocks and/or wood, right?
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:13 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

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Originally Posted by ddavila06 View Post
Hey Aaron, since he wanted to keep his africans and at the same time have plants maybe we can suggest some hard water-high ph resistan plants? i don't know much on that subject, but i think anubias and ferns will do well, that if attached to rocks and/or wood, right?
Right, but I got the impression the original intent to keep African cichlids was no longer the case?
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

thanks damian and aaront for the advice. let me 1st qualify myself as a beginner and novelist compared to the knowledge and experience of many of the members here. having said this, my original intent was to keep african cichlids hence the crushed coral. actually, this tank has been cycling for over a month now having only 3 goldfish in it. it wasn't until recently (about 3 weeks or less) that i developed an interest in live aquatic plants. i normally use artificial plants. of course i immediately thought i could use several plants that the members use here to beautify my tank but now i know this is not the case. aquatic plants like fish have their own requirements and perameters. however, certainly there are some aquatic plants that will co-exist in a african cichlid biotope. i've done a litle checking around and found that many of the plants used by members here can live in the perameters i have in my tank providing i do some modifications. the pH found in my crushed coral tank is only slightly above the top end of many aquatic plants. i'm guessing the main limiting factor is hardness and alkalinity. fortunately, this is not the only aquarium i have running. i do have 2 10gal.'s with bio-substrates in them. i hope to find a bigger tank (such as a 30gal or 40gal. breeder) so that i can combine the 2 ten gallon tanks. seriously, i really didn't mean to cause such a stir with the usage of crushed coral substrate but that was what i had and i wanted some live aquatic plants. i will be sure to start my next tank properly if i'm going to have the beautiful and flourishing aquariums many of you have now and use the plants primarily found on this site. BTW, not only do i find the aquariums here beautiful but i also find the creativity in the usage of oddball items (such as using a candy bin) to create biotopes and the imagination to build structures (such as a waterfalls).

thanks again for the tips and advice,
rapidsixguns (aka michael)
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:11 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

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Originally Posted by AaronT View Post
Crushed coral is an inappropriate freshwater planted substrate. It might grow some hard water loving plants well, but your selection will be severely limited. You'd do well to get a plant specific substrate or even just an inert gravel to start with. Why start with a handicap from the beginning?
I think it's important to realize that this guy is a beginner for live plants; and now understands what is optimal versus what is acceptable. Not everyone wants to spend $150 on substrate. Maybe the guy doesn't want a heavily planted tank with red colors abounding, maybe he doesn't want to dump $2k into developing a 100 gallon planted tank, maybe the tank isn't going to be the main focal point of the house. Folks here need to realize that maybe not everyone have their planted tank as their top financial priorities; and for some folks, it's a HOBBY and not a life-changing event.

I think he gets it - increased $$ = increased proliferation (better filters, higher WPG, super substrate, Co2, etc...). Although at this point; guy wants simple advice. How about passing plant-specific recommendations on what is acceptable for what he has?
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

Go ahead and start with the crushed coral. It has worked for me in a couple of tanks. Simply go with the more adaptable of plants, and plants that thrive in hard water.
Sure, you may want to add some fertilizer tablets, but you are getting started!
In fact, the fine material of the crushed coral may be a good one to allow the mulm to accumulate, yet is coarse enough to allow water movement to bring oxygen to the lower areas of the substrate.

Plant that thrive in hard water:
Several of these are from Diana Walstad's book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, pp 114-117 and 133
Most species of Valisneria
Hornwort
Myriophyllum spicatum and others
Elodea canadensis
Bacopa caroliniana (from a soft water in nature, but thrives in hard water, too)
B. monnieri
Saggitaria graminea
Ludwigia repens
Potemogeton pectoralis

This is by no means an exhaustive list, simply a comment that there are plenty of plants, whether originally from hard or soft water, that will do just fine in hard water.
There are a few specialty plants that will not adapt, but these are not usually commonly available. At our local aquarium plant club a few members grow these plants, and are very specific when trading them that they are for soft water only.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

I have to agree with AaronT and Geeks15. It just doesnt work well for a planted tank. Its your tank and if you like the looks of crushed coral and shells for substrate by all means try it. Just remember, you will not have control over what and how much leaches into your water column.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is crushed coral ok for substrate?

Actually you will have some control over how much CaCO3 goes into solution. It is pH dependant. If you plan to use it, just pick from the list of plants that Diana suggested and do not use CO2. CaCO3 will be pretty stable at a pH of 8 and higher. Below 7, you will get significant amounts disolving. If you use pressurized CO2, you will see a steady increase in TDS.

Plants like Vals, are able to utilize bicarbonates as a carbon source for photo synthesis and will not need to supplement.
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