Soilmaster Pro Select - Charcoal - Substrates - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 11-15-2005, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Soilmaster Pro Select - Charcoal

I have always preferred a black, or near black substrate, and have used black blasting grit for that reason. But, grit for blasting is sharp edged, and tends to injure Corys mouths, let alone what it does to your hands as you wash it and plant in it. A few months ago I heard of Soilmaster, which is a material made for baseball diamonds etc. They make a Charcoal color version, have a website that allows you to order it online, for pickup at your local dealer, with no freight charge. So, I ordered a 50 pound bag of the Charcoal color, for about $17, which includes California sales tax.

My Soilmaster Charcoal arrived at the dealer today and I picked it up a couple of hours ago. To show off a bit, I took some pictures of a sample of the stuff. They are:




The first photo, obviously, is the bag.
The second is a big handfull of the stuff as it comes out of the bag, dry.
The third is with a couple of cups of water added and sloshed around to clean it. Notice it is dirty, without question.
The fourth is after three washings, and with more water added to show the color. Three washings was enough to get it clean, about what I am used to with blasting grit.
The last shows the particle size and uniformity. Notice that there is some red colored material mixed in, less than 1% I would guess.

The actual color, wet, is pretty black, with sparkles of red. I think I am in love!!

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Old 11-16-2005, 12:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I just set up a 58g with Soilmaster Select capped with 3M colorquartz. It looks great and seems to be doing fine. The tank has only been set up a week so only time will tell.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Does it contain any nutrients or is it simply for looks?
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brad
Does it contain any nutrients or is it simply for looks?
The Soilmaster is very similar to Turface Black or Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil. If you do a search on either of those, you should find quite a bit of info on them

It does not come with nutrients but has a very high CEC and good iron content (both better than Flourite) making it a good candidate for a planted aquarium substrate.

It also seems to be hydroscopic so if you add some water with nutrients in it when first wetting it down I would imagine it would soak them up along with the water. At a price of $13 - $16 for a 50lb bag it is hard to beat. A 50lb bag will do fine for a 75g substrate also.
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I love the stuff. Not as dark as it could have been in a perfect world but how can you beat it?
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Well, glad you folks found it there locally.

I've been saying the merits of this stuff, Grey Turface basically for many years.
I never liked the red stuff personally.

Many folks do not seem to mind the lighter weight subs these days, so I'm not sure why they would ever turn their noses up at this product.

10-15$ for 50lbs is a great deal.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Do you need to mix this with anything or does it work well straight, maybe a little peat on the bottom and then this?
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No matter what substrate I use, I always add a dusting of peat and some mulm from an estlablished tank. Here is how I did my setup:

https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...ad.php?t=10563

rwoehr also used Soilmaster and he and I did his tank a couple of nights before mine. He used 3M's "T" grade Black Color Quartz sand on top of the Soilmaster. We also used peat and mulm on his tank.
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Do you have to special order it? In what type of places can it be found?
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Old 11-17-2005, 04:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's a link for Soilmaster Select Charcoal on the Lesco site: http://www.lesco.com/?PageID=27&ItemNumber=083365

Lesco is the distributor for Soilmaster products. Most larger cities in the US have a Lesco. If you go to the Home Page you can put in your Zip Code and find the closest Lesco. Items are delivered free of charge to the Lesco you placed the order from so make sure to order from the closest one. You will either have to go pick it up or pay for delivery to your house.

I don't think most of them carry it, but they will get it in from another Lesco if need be. I think that is how some of the others have ordered it. If you belong to a Club, see about placing a larger order. We received a discount of over $3 per 50lb bag by ordering a large quantity (1,000lbs) of Soilmaster.
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