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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I have been reading and reading and have changed my mind 3 times. I initially settled on Aquasoil, but it didn't seem great for all my pandas stirring it up and such. Then I decided on Ecocomplete - also maybe not great for pandas plus the recent QC issues, and then I settled on Flourite Black sand. All are costly though. Some info I have come across recommends Estes marine sand or 3M colorquartz. I am not sure of the cost of the colorquartz or even where to get it and don't have solid data on how bottom rummagers like either one.

What is your favorite substrate, why, and more importantly which substrate for a tight budget?

Thanks much, and cheeryo!
 

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I've always liked 30# mesh un washed sand. its about 1/3 dirt. Its cheap $15-20/ yd3 or about $ 3 for a 2 ft3 bag.

Then again I've been out of the game for
about 5 years, so I'm sure there has been alot better things come around since then...
 

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Hi kacourt,

I started with it in my 6 gallon Nano. About a month ago I set up my 10 gallon with it. My next tank to convert will be my 30 gallon. Previous to using Turface Pro League Grey, I used a smaller river gravel (50# for $16) which I also like. The darker color of the Grey Turface makes the plants, fish, and shrimp show up better and the plants seem to like the calcined clay. I did find that it lowered my PH and KH but after a few months the effect seems to be subsiding. Several of our GSAS members have used it for years with very good results.
 

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For my hospital tank I just bought a 50 lb bag of pool sand (sterile) for $5.00. I can add root tabs every few months for ferts if I use it for a long period of time. Some people put other substrates underneath the sand.
 

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I just set up a 10 gallon shrimp tank a few weeks ago. I used mulm from the filter on my 75 gallon and then just straight play sand from Home Depot. The play sand will not provide ferts for root feeders but if you were planning on doing water column ferts anyway it shouldn't be a problem. Play sand looks decent and costs about 5 bucks for a 40 lb. bag.
 

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I would recommend that you try the Mineralized Substrate Method, especially if you live in warm weather location. This is a great method and very inexpensive. It just takes some time to mineralize the substrate. If you're tryng this make sure that you get Top Soil and not Potting Soil.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi kacourt,

I started with it in my 6 gallon Nano. About a month ago I set up my 10 gallon with it. My next tank to convert will be my 30 gallon. Previous to using Turface Pro League Grey, I used a smaller river gravel (50# for $16) which I also like. The darker color of the Grey Turface makes the plants, fish, and shrimp show up better and the plants seem to like the calcined clay. I did find that it lowered my PH and KH but after a few months the effect seems to be subsiding. Several of our GSAS members have used it for years with very good results.
Great information. I think I am going to give the Turface a go! Providing I can find it, that is. No one locally seems to have heard of it, but I did find it on ebay. I think for a 30 gallon, I may need 20# - ish? Do you dose your plants? How does that work? I have read that it is a pain to vacuum because it is so light. Do you find that to be the case?

I appreciate all the information. Cheeryo!
Kacourt
 

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Hi kacourt,

Turface is made by Profile Products http://www.profileproducts.com/en/sports_fields/category/item/38 and is sold as a soil conditioner used on athletic fields. I like the Pro League Grey because of the grain size and the color, but it does come in a larger grain size (MVP) and other colors. The link above will take you to Profile Products Turface Pro League page and if you click on the "Where to Buy" button maybe you can find a local supplier.

A "standard" 30 gallon has a 3 square foot base. A "standard" 75 gallon has a 6 square foot base. You would probably need 25# to 30#. To the best of my knowledge in only comes in 50# bags.

It is lighter than gravel, but not as light as some of the expensive soil products. I don't "vacuum" my tanks but I do syphon the mulm off the bottom of my tanks; and I haven't had any more problems in my tanks with Turface than with gravel. Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sigh - John Deere will have it, but in a month....no Turface within 200 miles. I think I will go with plain sand and try to figure out a way to make it work and pick up some Turface when it come in for later - maybe another tank....wishful thinking...:D
 

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you could try a pond substrate and then cover it with a layer of pea gravel that will work and its like $13 bucks at Petsmart. was thinking about using it myself even called the company and they said it would work fine but needs the layer of gravel to keep it down. also with any substrate you must fert w/ tablets Aquariumplants sells a good line of ferts that will last a while in a 30 gal. i also have a guide based on their ferts that a local plant guy came up with for particular plants.
 

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Hi Roy. My name is Randy and I'm from Ontario , Canada. I like the idea of a dark colored substrate. In fact, I'm gonna go black. I've never attempted anything like these kinds of substrates. I've always crapped out and bought plastic plants. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's just much more of a dramatic effect from real plants not to mention the pride. I'm curious about the depth of these kinds of substrates. How deep do you go? My tank is dry right now. It's a 30 gallon breeder. 13" high x 18" deep x 36" long.(I don't know if it's a breeder for sure) Like you, I haven't touched it in quite a few years and am anxious to try an aquascape.
I started with it in my 6 gallon Nano. About a month ago I set up my 10 gallon with it. My next tank to convert will be my 30 gallon. Previous to using Turface Pro League Grey, I used a smaller river gravel (50# for $16) which I also like. The darker color of the Grey Turface makes the plants, fish, and shrimp show up better and the plants seem to like the calcined clay. I did find that it lowered my PH and KH but after a few months the effect seems to be subsiding. Several of our GSAS members have used it for years with very good results.
 

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Hi Randy,

I slope my tank substrate so the depth is about 2" in the front and 3" in the back. This gives me more depth in the area where I do most of my planting and the slope brings most of the heavier debris to the front where it is easy to see and remove.

I agree about the dark colors adding drama, and it makes the colors of the fish and plants stand out. I use a black background behind the tank, and the slightly lighter color (grey) Turface gives me some contrast and I think adds visual depth. Turface comes in 50# bags and one bag will do about a 75 gallon aquarium.

BTW, over the years I have had the opportunity to visit Toronto on a few occasions. Do you live in that area?
 

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Hey Roy. Thanks. Yeah, I live about 2 hours East of Toronto in the country. Not a city person really. I used to live in Oshawa and glad to be out of there.
Hi Randy,
I slope my tank substrate so the depth is about 2" in the front and 3" in the back. This gives me more depth in the area where I do most of my planting and the slope brings most of the heavier debris to the front where it is easy to see and remove.

I agree about the dark colors adding drama, and it makes the colors of the fish and plants stand out. I use a black background behind the tank, and the slightly lighter color (grey) Turface gives me some contrast and I think adds visual depth. Turface comes in 50# bags and one bag will do about a 75 gallon aquarium.

BTW, over the years I have had the opportunity to visit Toronto on a few occasions. Do you live in that area?
 

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Im from toronto well close enough,,
Im in the GTA...

Anyways,,
Sorry for the noobish question but how do u fert sand???!!!
I think a 20lbs bag cost like 10$

NOW THATS CHEAP,...
 

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Hi shiver905,

You can use any substrate that will allow the plants good root penetration. Sand can sometimes be a problem because it can compact causing problems with anaerobic bacteria.

That said their are various ways to fertilize your plants. Natural Planted Tanks incorporate nutrients into the substrate. Aquariums with inert or aquasoil substrates usually have fertilizers added through the water column.
 
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