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Old 01-05-2017, 06:20 PM   #1
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What substrate you using?

Wanted to ask the community what substrate are you using for your tank?

Changing my substrate soon after buying into Dustin's Fishtanks recommendation on Brightwells FlorinVolcanit for my 75 gallon build. My plants are struggling big time, with dosing, and red clay seeded. Thank goodness I got a hell of a deal on it from a holiday sale on Foster & Smith. It looks really nice, but is WAY TOO LIGHT of a substrate. Plants pop out all the time from my pleco bumping into them, and everytime I do a water change, its flying all over the place. Sooooo, what are you all using that has been successful? My brother in law is using a mixture of Flourite and black sand, and it seems to be working wonders. May be doing the same..
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:41 PM   #2
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Play sand, because I'm cheap

In all seriousness I do like how it looks and have had success with it, even with plants. It definitely holds them pretty well, have never really had issues with plants popping up I also use black gravel and aragonite sand (for shelldwelling cichlids)
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:50 PM   #3
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I've heard great things about that particular Brightwell substrate.
I'm using EcoComplete. Regular grain, black. It's worked out well for me. I use AquaFertz root pellets occasionally (maybe 3-4 a year).
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:01 PM   #4
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Play sand, because I'm cheap
Lol yep, been there done that. My Jungle Val grew like weeds in that! However I did not get good growth with other species though. My swords melted down, and my lace plants died off. I also got some anaerobic gas pockets frequently, but nothing serious.. Crypts did decent though. I really want something rich and hearty with nutrients that will feed the plants very well at their roots. Im seeing that Flourite vs Eco-Complete is a popular subject.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:14 PM   #5
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I've heard great things about that particular Brightwell substrate.
I'm using EcoComplete. Regular grain, black. It's worked out well for me. I use AquaFertz root pellets occasionally (maybe 3-4 a year).
Me too! So you can imagine my disappointment after almost a year. It is beautiful looking, and very soft to the touch. I had really high hopes for it, but am losing faith after watching my plants fail... Plus its really poopy at the bottom every time I do my weekly water change. So much gunk!

I have eco-complete in my 38g BF, and its been decent for me. I have it in a low tech set up though, so havent really put alot in it except Anubias, Val, and sagittaria.

My goal is to have swords, lace plants, aponogeton, and some beautiful red Ludwigia.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:15 PM   #6
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I think Flourite and EC are pretty similar. I heard of nightmares regarding insufficient rinsing of Flourite.
I got the EC (several years back) because the local Petco was selling it for $9 a bag.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:23 PM   #7
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Using black eco. But next tank with be BDBS.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:39 PM   #8
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Using black eco. But next tank with be BDBS.
Black Diamond Blasting Sand?
I picked up a 50# bag from Tractor Supply Co for about $8. Cannot remember the grit #. I used very little, rinsed it well, but saw oily spots on the surface of my shrimp tank. Another AA member recalled the same thing and used Dawn dishwashing detergent to remove it. I ended up going with the Petco black sand (which resemble painted plastic sand).
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:42 PM   #9
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Ya it can leave a slick. Believe it or not Ive had luck before getting it up with a paper towel on the surface. I think some bags just worse than others. I dont have petco petsmart none of it near by. I got it from tractor supply. Im building a 40b to replace my 10.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:43 AM   #10
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Floramax and Pool Filter Sand. My plants thrive in both. My swords in the Floramax substrate have grown out of the water in a month. My baby crypts are no longer babies. They're lush and have great color.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:42 AM   #11
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I have CaribSea Super Natural sand in one tank and just set up the second with Eco Complete. I'm happy with both.
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:02 PM   #12
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Floramax and Pool Filter Sand. My plants thrive in both. My swords in the Floramax substrate have grown out of the water in a month. My baby crypts are no longer babies. They're lush and have great color.
Now were talking! Do you use c02 and ferts? If so, what ferts are you using and how often? What is the appearance of the substrate? (Got a pic?)
Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-06-2017, 05:14 PM   #13
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Liquid co2 and flourish is all I use. I try to keep it as low tech as possible.

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Old 01-06-2017, 05:22 PM   #14
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Liquid co2 and flourish is all I use. I try to keep it as low tech as possible.

Beautiful, I love my bowfront as well. Do you have a shot of your tank with the Floramax? Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:29 AM   #15
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I used to use sand which worked great, but I had issues with sucking things off the ground with it. I switched over to 3/4 olive sized Quartz stones and they're beautiful and much easier to clean. But then again, I had inch think carpets of green hair algae, so that could have been it. That's in my ten gallon, but in my 30 bowfront that I plan on getting in the future will have sand. I personally like black better, as waste and algae don't show up as much on it. Good luck with choosing your substrate!
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:13 AM   #16
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Beautiful, I love my bowfront as well. Do you have a shot of your tank with the Floramax? Thanks!
This is what it looked like before I added everything from my old tank
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Old 01-07-2017, 01:13 AM   #17
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Better one here
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:09 AM   #18
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Good topic, as I am looking right now too.

Garnet sand is my most unique substrate, it is a great color and also works good, clean and needs little rinsing. As a sandblasting sand it is widely available and also in different grit sizes.

CaribSea Naturals lovely material but it was basically white, though they have many different colors and types of substrate. Their products are really nice.

They have one which is called Instant Aquarium which you put in with no rinsing at all!

There are other sands available at the sandblasting sand distributors. Should all be pretty clean becasue of the use of them.

Petco sand as Fresh mentioned it was good but the color of the black eventually wears off a little and there are some grains that are a little light. The one color was like orange bronze & also the blue held up well too

Used Quikrete construction sand and it was pretty nice but kinda dirty. It was nearly white and it drove me crazy when I started in planted tanks because even plants let off bit and particles which litter the substrate and I used the same vacuum for the white sand tank and the black sand tank, and it would drop little black grains on to it which was too much trouble to try and get out.

Eco complete - kinda sharp but holds plants in place pretty well.

The one you mentioned in your first post popped up on my radar and it was available at a far away lfs.

Amazonia is supposed to be great, but I haven't used it personally though a neighboring hobbyist said that it took about 6 weeks to finish the ammonia leeching from it. Which I have read the same experiences echoed across the reports ~5 weeks seems to be pretty common.
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:04 PM   #19
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currently using EcoComplete black.. this is my first time using it. So far so good.
In prior tanks I had used Flourite, which is great but definitely needs more rinsing than a 2 year old after eating a chocolate cake.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:42 PM   #20
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In prior tanks I had used Flourite, which is great but definitely needs more rinsing than a 2 year old after eating a chocolate cake.
This most definitely should be the warning label.
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