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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! I am looking to set up my tank and have finished the stand and light setup and have my idea for a hard-scape. Now I am on the substrate issue. I have done some research for a couple of days and decided on Eco-Complete (Unless someone changes my mind). It seems aqua soil grows plants better but needs a few extra water changes and may leave a tint in the water for a month or 2, so I decided against that. I also got some sand I'm going to use in the tank so my bottom feeders can play in.

About 6-months ago I did some research on the topic as well and recall that you could use a clay kitty litter in addition to you substrate as a "Filler". I hear since its clay and porous that it holds minerals and is not harmful to the plants or the appearance of the water. Can anyone back up that info first hand?

Questions:

-Would it be alright to use aquarium sand as the top layer of substrate or will this not allow any air to get into the substrate? I will prob mess with it to airate the Ss

-Is clay kitty litter alright to bulk up your substrate?

-Any tips on setting it all up, planting, etc...?


Thanks in advance!
Mike_E_P
 

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Don't do it. Kitty litter varies in makeup, even within a brand. Usually it's bagged from a local(ish) source. It may or may not be 100% natural, and it might have any number of additives. It will likely break down in your tank and make your substrate disgusting. If you need to fill with something cheaper, consider sand or tahitian moon sand.

Sand can cause issues with compaction, either by itself or as a cap. This is bad. Use a course grade of sand to help avoid these issues, and perhaps some malaysian trumpet snails (MTS). They burrow in the substrate and help avoid compaction.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info confuted! That snail idea is a great one! Do you know of anything else as a filler that will also be beneficial toward the plants? As I understand it sand doesn't do much as far as nutrients go.
 

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Thanks for the info confuted! That snail idea is a great one! Do you know of anything else as a filler that will also be beneficial toward the plants? As I understand it sand doesn't do much as far as nutrients go.
Some people use laterite, which contains iron. It will take you a few days to get it to sink though; use it as a bottom layer (and don't use much). I guess it isn't much of a filler.

You could also try 3m colorquartz, shultz aquasoil, or soilmaster select. Each has pros and cons, but they're all cheap. Do a search on each to get an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again!

did a search on the shultz aquasoil and cant find it for sale, only forum topics about it... Ill keepa lookin
 

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I'm sorry, I meant shultz aquatic soil. It's different from aquasoil (aquasoil is expensive!).

It's sold at Lowes and Home Depot in the pond section.
 

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I would agree with Chadly. In my experience, it is always best to use one type of substrate in a tank due to settling. Sand will usually settle to the bottom of the tank leaving any larger/lighter substrate at the top. About the only time I would suggest anyone use two different types of substrates is when using a soil substrate which needs to be capped with sand or gravel.

If you are looking for an inexpensive substrate, Turface Pro League, Soilmaster Select (SMS), or Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil (SAPS) are probably the cheapest ones you will find and all three will work well. SAPS can be difficult to find this time of year since it us mainly used in containers for planting pond plants. SMS and Turface products can be difficult to find if you don't have a distributor in your area but they can be found with some searching.
 
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