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Old 02-04-2011, 12:31 AM   #1
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DIY substrate for planted tank

hi everyone..
i have bought 30lb of aqua fin gravel (white pea-sized) from my lfs for 30G tank...

now I am thinking i have spent too much on buying gravel from the lfs ..but still the gravel layer on my tank does not look to be sufficient...and also i need li'l finer substrate for my plants..

I live in Ashburn and there are lots of lakes and potomac river flowing through it..
Shall I go ahead and get some lake/river sand from the river and lake?Are there anythings that I shud keep in mind? i am also planning to check for drift wood on river..
i have read on internet, that people have successfully used normal sand from city outskirts for the aquarium..
what do you guys think abt it and if anyone has similar experience to share that will be great..
thanks
param
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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I would not suggest getting anything from a lake or river to place in your tank, especially dirt. There could be many paracites or bacteria living in that stuff you do not want in your tank. not to mention it will discolor your water more than likely and possibly harm your filter with small rock particles should they get sucked in.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:24 AM   #3
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Pea gravel is fine for your plants. I wouldn't buy it from the LFS though. Look at your local home improvement store or landscaping supply. I have sand in my tanks and I spent $3 for 50lb of white or tan and $8 for 50lb of black at Home Depot and Menards. The benefit is you know there's no nasty critters that will eat your fish.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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I guess i spent way too much on buying 30lb gravel .I bought it for 28 bucks and still the tank does not have that natural feel to it..
I will try buying 20-25lbs bag of sand from walmart (hopefully they have it in their outdoor garden section..)..will go this weekend..
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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Live and learn. Some people prefer the peace of mind and convenience of buying stuff from the LFS. Others, like myself, prefer to try to stretch our budgets by doing a little research and repurposing materials from other sources.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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hey I saw this 40lb soil on homedepot website. Is this the one you got from home depot? "40 lb. Top Soil" They have mentioned this under their Garden section and people have mentioned that its really great for plants..

Correction: Lots of people mentioned its more of pine chips than sand..

There's another type of sand avlbl that's Ash Grove 50 lb. Play Sand. Is it good for aquarium?
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:51 PM   #7
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You can mineralize top soil and make good aquarium substrate, but that's a long messy process. I haven't tried it.

I've used Quickrete Play Sand (tan), Quickrete Medium Sand (white), and Black Blast blasting compound (black).
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:22 PM   #8
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I went to home depot today..but they don't have Quickrete Play Sand ..they just have ashgrove play sand...
I tried for pool filter sand as well..but no luck with tht too..i guess its coz of off season..
So my tank is empty for almost 3 weeks nw and i really wanted to start planting now...
I checked online but shipping prices for sand bags are huge..
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:30 PM   #9
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Have you considered Turface? I'm a big fan of it for planted tanks. Very cheap and relatively easy to work with. Just another option...
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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Almost all of my tanks have had gravel picked up at the local sand and gravel for next to nothing, I just do the basic wash to removed the big organics and a boil to kill the things you can't see.

Dragging my feet on resetting up my 125 because I want to do a "cut/overhanging bank" stream look and haven't quite got it all figured out yet.
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