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Old 09-10-2003, 12:03 PM   #1
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sustrate planted aquarium

Hello everyone,

As many suggestions of experts, I've been reading magazines, websites, articles, books, etc for the past 4 month before set-up my 75 freshwater aquarium tank (48"x18"x20"). The problem I found is "Nobody is agree with nobody", and I mean it. The results depends on how much money you want to expend, the place you live and the resources that you have on hand.

Knowing this I decide do this for my sustrate :

Bottom. 1 1/2 inches of sand. This will cover the undergravel heater, and because is small and compact the temperature will be uniform all around the bottom of the tank. I guess....
Middle. 0.5 inches of Schultz Aquarium gravel soil. id cheap.
Top. 0.5 to 1 inches of Fluorite red and black. (mixed)

Do you think that is going to work ??? Any advise ??? Do I need fertilizer in between ??? if the answer is yes, what kind ???

Thanks in advise for your help. By the way, I'm sorry my English is improving.

Seranko
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Old 09-10-2003, 09:54 PM   #2
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I think your substrate plans are great. Fluorite is an excellent choice, because it does not need to be changed out like laterite (which loses it's effectiveness over time). I don't know how the undergravel heater fits into your planting plans, so I am going to move this over to the plant forum and you will certainly get some answers there. There are many factors at work here, including tank size and lighting. You may need liquid fertilizers as supplements.

You are right about the differing opinions! That is why this kind of forum is so great, because you can get many opinions and try the ones you like. There is a lot of trial and error in this hobby, so you will find that some things will work for you that do not work for others, and the opposite is true. It is good that you are posting your ideas here and getting some opinions first, because (in spite of my previous statement) you can avoid a lot of hardship and frustration by getting feedback from those who have done what you plan to do. Welcome!
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hiya and Welcome seranko

As TankGirl stated so eloquently, there are a LOT of options out there.

I have a planted 10g with a zillion diff plants. I used a layer of Tahitian Moon sand, ranging from ~2 inches on one side to ~ 1/2 inch on the other. I put a layer of laterite over that, then about an inch layer of sand over that. I'm finding different plants are responding differently to the level of substrate: cyperus helferi is loving the 3 or so inches of substrate, the crypts are loving the inch and a half, but the sags are not liking the inch and a half (least I think thats what the prob is) and not doing well. I'm running about 4.8 watts per gallon on that tank, no fertilizer and will probably start with CO2 this weekend.

I'm unsure about this, so someone else will need to address it, but I *think* you want the flourite in the middle/bottom of the substrate as thats where the roots will be.

UGFs are not generally recommended for planted tanks, especially with sand. It tends to fall into the UGF, and cleaning under there is a PITA with plants.

Btw, your english is pretty good
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:17 PM   #4
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Do you think that is going to work ??? Any advise ??? Do I need fertilizer in between ??? if the answer is yes, what kind ???
Yes, this should work, but why the sand on the bottom? I'm not familiar with folks using that.

I have tanks with many different substrates, or combinations also. My 90 is pure fluorite, works great, but was costly. Since I later learned of Schultz, I prefer it, but only because of cost.

I think it does come down to personal preference, there is no one "right way" do do the substrate.

Now, heating cables. I had them in my 90, they were the type that attach to the bottom glass by suction cups. Even with very many suction cups, I ended up with a problem. About 10 months after initial set up, I went for a major redo of my aquascape. Trying to pull up a good sized bunch of crypts, the roots had become entangled in the cables, and they came up out of the gravel. I decided to remove them entirely, because putting them back properly would have meant removing all the gravel and redoing the cables! Yikes! Since that time, my tank is still doing great, I see no difference in my plants. I'll never use substrate heating again.

Fertilizer, You can use Root tabs, or other similar products, but they can go in at any time, just push them into the substrate near the roots of the plants, at least 2 inches deep.

Oh yeah, your English is just fine, you were very easy to understand.
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:40 PM   #5
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I'm running about 4.8 watts per gallon on that tank, no fertilizer and will probably start with CO2 this weekend.
Once you get over about 2.5 wpg you have to use CO2. For the 10 gal you will be amazed if you pick up one of those Hagen CO2 kits. Use 1/2 tps yeast, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 cup of sugar and you will see some real improvement in your plant growth. SeaChem Flourish ferts and you are set!
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:54 PM   #6
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I picked up a Nutrafin CO2 thingie just to try it out. Just have been too **** tired after work to set it up LOL I figure once the "premade" packets run out, I'll make my own with the sugar/yeast/water (baking soda?? splain!!) combo. I actually bought it cause it comes with a diffuser and making one myself looked too confusing for my lil brain

Strangely enough, only some plants seem to be affected by the lack of CO2; that cyperus helferi? Is sending out runners so quickly I think its going to take over the tank...
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Old 09-11-2003, 01:48 AM   #7
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Yeah, my Nutrafin (Hagen) unit works great. I used DIY's recipe which is the same as Tank Girls and in no time it was cranking out 2 bubbles every 10 seconds like clockwork. I accidentally used 1 teaspoon of baking soda and it didn't show any adverse effect. The homemade recipe worked stronger and came on faster than the store bought packets (though I have to admit mine were approching the printed 18 month shelf life date).

Another thought though, aren't these Hagen units way under the needs for a 75 gallon tank? Seranko would need about 3 or 4 of them to saturate that size of tank. I'm thinking a tank of pressurized Co2 with regulators etc, or the Carbo Plus are probably Seranko's realsitic Co2 options. Betowess
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Old 09-11-2003, 09:52 AM   #8
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(baking soda?? splain!!)
It buffers the actual "brew" that is producing co2, allowing the yeast to live longer before the alcohol eventually kills it.
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:03 AM   #9
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Yes, the baking soda is the same as the "stabilizer" packet that comes with the unit. They work for up to 20 gallons, so you would need several, or make a DIY CO2 reactor that is larger and just use the diffuser, which is a great thing to have.
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