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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a substrate under $100 for a 55gal tank. The tank will be hi-tech with EI fertilizing. The tank houses two adult 20" rubber eels which makes layers kinda pointless. So I'm thinking either a single type of substrate or a mix. Any suggestions on what would work the best?

Also I found this substrate anyone know if its any good?

Thanks,
Mikaila31
 

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That substrate is very much like Soilmaster, so it is a good substrate. It is lightweight, so you might have trouble keeping some plants from floating out when you plant them. And, some people reported that Soilmaster caused a KH change - I didn't have that condition with mine. Mine has been in use for about 3 years now. (as I recall).
 

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I've used it and hoppycalif is correct in that it's lightweight. I've had to anchor a couple of sword plants with a small rock until the roots got a good hold, I haven't had problems with other plants. I didn't wash or rinse it before putting it in the tank so I had rather cloudy water for a few days and had to do a couple water changes to get it cleaned up. Everything is growing fine and I've had no water quality problems other than the initial cloudiness due to my laziness.
 

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I too have used Soilmaster Select and had no issues with water parameters like some seem to have. I did not rinse mine prior to adding it to the tank and had very minimal clouding unlike Catherine. Seems the majority of people who have issues with Soilmaster altering their water chemistry are the ones who rinse it. Out of curiosity, Hoppy, did you risne your Soilmaster?

If you can't find Soilmaster Select you may want to try and locate Turface Pro League. I believe this is the same stuff, just a different manufacturer.
 

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I too have used Soilmaster Select and had no issues with water parameters like some seem to have. I did not rinse mine prior to adding it to the tank and had very minimal clouding unlike Catherine. Seems the majority of people who have issues with Soilmaster altering their water chemistry are the ones who rinse it. Out of curiosity, Hoppy, did you risne your Soilmaster?

If you can't find Soilmaster Select you may want to try and locate Turface Pro League. I believe this is the same stuff, just a different manufacturer.
Yes, I rinsed my Soilmaster, and I rinsed it very well. I have set up one tank just rinsing the top layer before adding it to the tank. That also worked very well.

Another cheap black substrate is 3M Color Quartz. It is heavier, so planting would be easier. But, it is both inert and with no CEC ability, so using it means the plants get all of their nutrients from the water and/or substrate fertilizer tablets. I haven't used it yet, but those who use it seem to be pleased.
 

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Yes, I rinsed my Soilmaster, and I rinsed it very well. I have set up one tank just rinsing the top layer before adding it to the tank. That also worked very well.
There goes my theory that maybe the rinsing has something to do with it altering the water parameters :)

Another cheap black substrate is 3M Color Quartz. It is heavier, so planting would be easier. But, it is both inert and with no CEC ability, so using it means the plants get all of their nutrients from the water and/or substrate fertilizer tablets. I haven't used it yet, but those who use it seem to be pleased.
Yes, I am very pleased with the 3m Color Quartz, now if were only a little bit easier to get I would be extremely pleased with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll see if I can find soilmaster select, my KH is about 8 a change in either direction wouldn't bother me too much. Being light weight might be a problem the rubber eels behave a lot like snakes and will probably knock most the plants loose until I can get them established. I was thinking of trying to put a heavier substrate on top of it? Something that looks really similar just to hold it down until things get established. Would that work at all?
 

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I just finished setting up a 50 gallon tank with this substrate and rinsed it just a bit.
Really got cloudy as soon as I added water and planted the tank. Just ran an emporer 280 overnight and was clear in the morning. Sags were very hard to get to stay in substrate, but other than that it seems to be great.
 
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