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Old 01-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #1
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DIY FW plant substrate

Hey everyone! Anybody want to help me out? I want to learn how to make my own substrate for a planted tank. I am going to gauge the cost versus ecocomplete.
Now I am very strict on my stipulations. If I make it I wanna like it. Otherwise Ill buy ecocomplete.
*Must be dark-black, brown, or maybe red (preferably a very natural soil color)
*No layering! I do not want to hassle with all that!
*No ammonia spike
*Must be safe for shrimp and sensitive bottom dwellers
*Must not ever need to be replaced
*Must not change water parameters too much. (remember it has to be ok for Red Cherry Shrimp)
*Must be very good at transferring and storing nutrients. Preferably it should have some nutrients in it.
*Must not make water cloudy or stained (the initial cloudiness that clears up is obviously unavoidable)

So can anybody help? Thanks and God bless!
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
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I use kitty litter in mine its cheap and easy.and my plants grow very well. However it will make a mess in the tank if it gets stirred up during water changes. I have to put a top layer of sand or gravel above it
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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I use kitty litter in mine its cheap and easy.and my plants grow very well. However it will make a mess in the tank if it gets stirred up during water changes. I have to put a top layer of sand or gravel above it
Ok thanks. I really dont want to have to cap itvthough...
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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Google black blasting sand. The stuff's dark, cheap, comes in different size granules and works well. You can mix in some laterite or leave it as is. Available at Tractor Supply and online. OliDri is another good option.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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Google black blasting sand. The stuff's dark, cheap, comes in different size granules and works well. You can mix in some laterite or leave it as is. Available at Tractor Supply and online. OliDri is another good option.
I would imagine that root tabs would be used to supplement? Also a good idea to dose with something like Flourish?
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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Google black blasting sand. The stuff's dark, cheap, comes in different size granules and works well. You can mix in some laterite or leave it as is. Available at Tractor Supply and online. OliDri is another good option.
Thats what I now have. What something specifically tailored for plants.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GodFan

Thats what I now have. What something specifically tailored for plants.
Eco Complete or dark Flourite. They're made for plants and won't cause any spikes. Just about anything you use will need root tabs added to it. I've used both of these substrates, among others, and I just add tabs under each group of plants that are heavy root feeders.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:38 PM   #8
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Eco Complete or dark Flourite. They're made for plants and won't cause any spikes. Just about anything you use will need root tabs added to it. I've used both of these substrates, among others, and I just add tabs under each group of plants that are heavy root feeders.
Ok thanks!
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:12 PM   #9
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Safe T sorb may work. It can soak up nutrients for the plants roots to use and theres people using it with no problem. A quick google search should help answer any questions
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