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Old 30-08-2003, 09:13 AM
Michael
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Following the advice of my neighbor, one month ago I set up a 15 gallon
planted tank with 1" potting soil and then 1" of black quartz. This turned
out to be a big disaster. The fertilizer fueled massive algae growth. The
potting soil turned the water brown/green. Finally, two shrimp started to
die (I saved them by putting them in my neighbor's tank) and a bristlenose
died. Now I follow the advice of this group instead of my neighbor!

I want to rebuild my tank without the potting soil. I bought a special
substrate for plants that is similar to potting soil but is safe for
aquariums. It's called JBL AquaBasis Plus
(http://www.jbl.de/uk/aqua/uk_20212.html). Here's what it says for this
substrate:

"Contains all essential nutrients such as iron, minerals and trace elements.
The clay particles act as a nutrient store, binding excess nutrients and
releasing as required.
Does not require mixing with gravel.
Does not contain nitrates and phosphates which promote the growth of algae.

JBL Aquabasis plus contains the full range of vital nutrients as well as
iron and trace elements which aquarium plants need for healthy and strong
growth. These nutrients are provided in depot form and are fully accessible
and available to the root of the plants. JBL AquaBasis plus promotes rapid
rooting and results in healthy and strong root development."

The directions say to cover it with gravel or sand. One person told me to
skip the special substrate and just use sand only. I'd like to get some
feedback on using sand only. The advantages are that it's easier and the
layers won't mix. The disadvantage is that I do not believe the plants will
do as well. This probably isn't a big issue because I just want a few
plants (it's a small tank and the light is only 15 watts so I'm very limited
in the plants I can have) and I don't need them to grow like crazy. I just
need them to not die. I know I can add iron tablets to the sand if needed,
and some Malaysian Trumpet Snails would keep the sand stirred up and
aerated.

So should I return the special substrate and go with sand only?

Thanks a lot for your advice,
Michael



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Old 30-08-2003, 02:02 PM
LeighMo
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

I would use Flourite. It's just easier all around. No layers to worry about,
and it lasts forever. Eventually, laterite, clay, and peat substrates must be
replaced.

It's especially good for beginners, because you can plant and replant your
plants without making a big mess.






Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/
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Old 30-08-2003, 06:02 PM
Djay
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

I used plain old "Play Sand" from a hardware store (ensuring first that it
was Ph neutral). Put down about 3 inches and used Jobes fert spikes to fert
the heavy root feeders. Aquarium is a jungle... The sand is nice too,
because the mulm accumulates on the surface and is easily removed with a
gravel vac.
Although I have no direct experience with Flourite, it seems to be a popular
choice.

DJay


"Michael" wrote in message
...
Following the advice of my neighbor, one month ago I set up a 15 gallon
planted tank with 1" potting soil and then 1" of black quartz. This

turned
out to be a big disaster. The fertilizer fueled massive algae growth.

The
potting soil turned the water brown/green. Finally, two shrimp started to
die (I saved them by putting them in my neighbor's tank) and a bristlenose
died. Now I follow the advice of this group instead of my neighbor!

I want to rebuild my tank without the potting soil. I bought a special
substrate for plants that is similar to potting soil but is safe for
aquariums. It's called JBL AquaBasis Plus
(http://www.jbl.de/uk/aqua/uk_20212.html). Here's what it says for this
substrate:

"Contains all essential nutrients such as iron, minerals and trace

elements.
The clay particles act as a nutrient store, binding excess nutrients and
releasing as required.
Does not require mixing with gravel.
Does not contain nitrates and phosphates which promote the growth of

algae.

JBL Aquabasis plus contains the full range of vital nutrients as well as
iron and trace elements which aquarium plants need for healthy and strong
growth. These nutrients are provided in depot form and are fully

accessible
and available to the root of the plants. JBL AquaBasis plus promotes rapid
rooting and results in healthy and strong root development."

The directions say to cover it with gravel or sand. One person told me to
skip the special substrate and just use sand only. I'd like to get some
feedback on using sand only. The advantages are that it's easier and the
layers won't mix. The disadvantage is that I do not believe the plants

will
do as well. This probably isn't a big issue because I just want a few
plants (it's a small tank and the light is only 15 watts so I'm very

limited
in the plants I can have) and I don't need them to grow like crazy. I

just
need them to not die. I know I can add iron tablets to the sand if

needed,
and some Malaysian Trumpet Snails would keep the sand stirred up and
aerated.

So should I return the special substrate and go with sand only?

Thanks a lot for your advice,
Michael




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Old 30-08-2003, 09:42 PM
 
Posts: n/a
Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

"Michael" wrote in message ...
Following the advice of my neighbor, one month ago I set up a 15 gallon
planted tank with 1" potting soil and then 1" of black quartz. This turned
out to be a big disaster. The fertilizer fueled massive algae growth. The
potting soil turned the water brown/green. Finally, two shrimp started to
die (I saved them by putting them in my neighbor's tank) and a bristlenose
died. Now I follow the advice of this group instead of my neighbor!

I want to rebuild my tank without the potting soil. I bought a special
substrate for plants that is similar to potting soil but is safe for
aquariums. It's called JBL AquaBasis Plus
(http://www.jbl.de/uk/aqua/uk_20212.html). Here's what it says for this
substrate:

"Contains all essential nutrients such as iron, minerals and trace elements.
The clay particles act as a nutrient store, binding excess nutrients and
releasing as required.
Does not require mixing with gravel.
Does not contain nitrates and phosphates which promote the growth of algae.

JBL Aquabasis plus contains the full range of vital nutrients as well as
iron and trace elements which aquarium plants need for healthy and strong
growth. These nutrients are provided in depot form and are fully accessible
and available to the root of the plants. JBL AquaBasis plus promotes rapid
rooting and results in healthy and strong root development."

The directions say to cover it with gravel or sand. One person told me to
skip the special substrate and just use sand only. I'd like to get some
feedback on using sand only. The advantages are that it's easier and the
layers won't mix. The disadvantage is that I do not believe the plants will
do as well. This probably isn't a big issue because I just want a few
plants (it's a small tank and the light is only 15 watts so I'm very limited
in the plants I can have) and I don't need them to grow like crazy. I just
need them to not die. I know I can add iron tablets to the sand if needed,
and some Malaysian Trumpet Snails would keep the sand stirred up and
aerated.

So should I return the special substrate and go with sand only?

Thanks a lot for your advice,
Michael



It's likely fine, quite a number of folks in the UK use JBL stuff,
this sounds like most of the specialized substrates that are sold in
Europe/Asia, NA etc.

Sand + laterite is good also.
Snails are not going to do much regarding aerating the substrate but
do well eating algae.

The main things folks need to concern themselves with substrates are
the grain sizing/porosity and does it have iron. Adding CO2, eg DIY
would help the plants a great deal to grow better/faster. More so than
the special substrate etc.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 30-08-2003, 11:42 PM
Cris
 
Posts: n/a
Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Your clay substrate sounds a lot like Florite. I have a tank that is
sand with laterite and tanks that are florite with a thin layer of
sand on top. Why the sand on top? I had trouble getting some plants
to stay down in the florite when I first planted it and the sand
helped make them stay down. I only used only about 1/2 inch sand.

The sand only approach has it's positives and negatives. I think it
is much easier to vacuum and plant in. However, since you have to add
laterite and/or root tabs, things become more difficult in the long
run. Laterite is messy when (not if) it gets uncovered from the sand
like when you're replanting or aerating it (you can't completely rely
on snails for aerating). I can never remember where I've put the root
tabs and I seem to need more and more all the time. It can get
expensive in the long run.

In the end I prefer the florite to sand. You should definitely plan
for the long term. If you enjoy keeping a planted aquarium you will
regret not getting the best from the start. It is a *lot* of trouble
to change your mind.

Cris



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Old 31-08-2003, 03:32 AM
Dan Norgard
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

I can vouch for that last part!
Dan


In the end I prefer the florite to sand. You should definitely plan
for the long term. If you enjoy keeping a planted aquarium you will
regret not getting the best from the start. It is a *lot* of trouble
to change your mind.

Cris


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Old 31-08-2003, 07:13 AM
Racf
 
Posts: n/a
Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate


"Michael" wrote in message
...
Following the advice of my neighbor, one month ago I set up a 15

gallon
planted tank with 1" potting soil and then 1" of black quartz. This

turned
out to be a big disaster. The fertilizer fueled massive algae growth.

The
potting soil turned the water brown/green. Finally, two shrimp

started to
die (I saved them by putting them in my neighbor's tank) and a

bristlenose
died. Now I follow the advice of this group instead of my neighbor!



I want to rebuild my tank without the potting soil. I bought a

special
substrate for plants that is similar to potting soil but is safe for
aquariums. It's called JBL AquaBasis Plus
(http://www.jbl.de/uk/aqua/uk_20212.html). Here's what it says for

this
substrate:

"Contains all essential nutrients such as iron, minerals and trace

elements.
The clay particles act as a nutrient store, binding excess nutrients

and
releasing as required.
Does not require mixing with gravel.
Does not contain nitrates and phosphates which promote the growth of

algae.

JBL Aquabasis plus contains the full range of vital nutrients as well

as
iron and trace elements which aquarium plants need for healthy and

strong
growth. These nutrients are provided in depot form and are fully

accessible
and available to the root of the plants. JBL AquaBasis plus promotes

rapid
rooting and results in healthy and strong root development."

The directions say to cover it with gravel or sand. One person told

me to
skip the special substrate and just use sand only. I'd like to get

some
feedback on using sand only. The advantages are that it's easier and

the
layers won't mix. The disadvantage is that I do not believe the

plants will
do as well. This probably isn't a big issue because I just want a few
plants (it's a small tank and the light is only 15 watts so I'm very

limited
in the plants I can have) and I don't need them to grow like crazy. I

just
need them to not die. I know I can add iron tablets to the sand if

needed,
and some Malaysian Trumpet Snails would keep the sand stirred up and
aerated.

So should I return the special substrate and go with sand only?

Thanks a lot for your advice,
Michael



I am a big fan of sand and plain gravel. It lasts forever and is inert.
I am a fan of Seachem's gravel conditioner and use them once per year.
Seachem recommends them even for their Flourite substrate. It seems a
fad to spend a ton of money on some fancy cat litter (they just use a
clay that contains the perceived nutrients of desire). Sand alone
really does not compact and is easily moved around. If you mix in some
gravel it compacts fairly well.... Its desirable for regions in the
substrate to be without O2. This allows for the release of many
nutrients that are oxidized.... If you use Flourite or whatever, this
O2 less zone if where its gonna be good.

I feed live Blackworms and have noticed that they thrive in substrate,
even in the deeper zones like 4 inches deep in gravel. Since I noticed
this, I add them to all my planted tanks so they can do what they do
best....dig and eat. Seems like a good thing for my substrate.

In addition to the gravel conditioner, I use the plant spikes....broken
into 1/3 size pieces for use around my heavy root feeders. Not sure who
made the ones I am using....probably Jobes......I bought them from some
Aquatic on-line place a few years ago.

I have tried various substrates and setups including UGF. These days I
am into sand only and in a couple sand/gravel mixes..... Maybe on my
next one I will try a sand and UGF.....I am curious if this would work
even better than gravel/UGF...

Good luck and try and not spend too much money..... )


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Old 31-08-2003, 01:32 PM
LeighMo
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Your clay substrate sounds a lot like Florite.

Reading the blurb, it sounded more like kitty litter to me than Flourite. The
instructions said to put it under a layer of sand.

I know people have had great success with kitty litter type clay substrates,
but I'd be really hesitant to recommend them to a beginner.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/
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Old 31-08-2003, 02:32 PM
Michael
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Your clay substrate sounds a lot like Florite.

Reading the blurb, it sounded more like kitty litter to me than Flourite.

The
instructions said to put it under a layer of sand.


I haven't opened the bag yet (in case I decide to return it) but the texture
felt through the bag seems to be exactly like potting soil. My guess is
it's something very similar to potting soil but without the fertilizers and
anything else that could be damaging to fish.

So far I've seen a couple people recommend sand only. Since I have lot
light (15 watts) my plant growth will be limited anyway. I just want a few
plants as a backdrop for the aquarium. I'm very seriously considering the
sand only method, along with some plant tablets to stick in the sand.

Michael


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Old 31-08-2003, 07:22 PM
Cris
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Oh, yeah. That sounds like it could be messy. It might be good for
plants, but my preference now is for less mess.
Cris


On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 15:27:41 +0200, "Michael"
wrote:

I haven't opened the bag yet (in case I decide to return it) but the texture
felt through the bag seems to be exactly like potting soil.




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Old 31-08-2003, 09:12 PM
Michael
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Actually I just checked and I want to revise, the texture seem to be like a
mixture of sand and other stuff. It definitely feels like little granules.

I'm still debating between that and sand on top or just sand.

Oh, yeah. That sounds like it could be messy. It might be good for
plants, but my preference now is for less mess.
Cris

I haven't opened the bag yet (in case I decide to return it) but the

texture
felt through the bag seems to be exactly like potting soil.




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Old 01-09-2003, 01:22 PM
LeighMo
 
Posts: n/a
Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

Actually I just checked and I want to revise, the texture seem to be like a
mixture of sand and other stuff. It definitely feels like little granules.


It's overpriced kitty litter, I tell ya! g

Being lazy, I prefer substrates with less mess. But even people with
relatively low lighting can use this type of clay or soil-based substrates.
You might want to check out Diana Walstad's "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium."



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/
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Old 01-09-2003, 01:22 PM
~Vicki ~
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

So far I've seen a couple people recommend sand only. Since I have lot
light (15 watts) my plant growth will be limited anyway. I just want a
few plants as a backdrop for the aquarium. I'm very seriously
considering the sand only method, along with some plant tablets to stick
in the sand.
Michael



Michael, If all you want is a few plants than use gravel instead of
sand. It is less messy to vacuum, is heaver and plant roots easy and is
cheap.

Vicki

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Old 01-09-2003, 02:02 PM
Paul
 
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Default Advice on setting up a new tank with a sand only substrate

I have set up many tanks as sand only and many plants grow fine. But to get
that jungle look I put an inch layer of Aquatic compost (the type used in
ponds) and the plants grow healthy and at a sensible rate and I haven't
suffered an algal bloom.

Paul




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