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Substrate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:12 am
by Studman0143
A few questions concerning Substrate

1. I have 3 bags of a flourite substrate from PetSmart. I read on the forums of people rinsing out their substrate before adding it. How do you do that without loosing a lot of it? I can't put it in a spaghetti strainer cuz I know most of it would fall through the holes. Maybe if I found one with really small holes. But maybe you rput the bag upright and run water through it? Either way, I have no idea. So how do you rinse your substrate?

2. My tank is a 29G and as I said I have those 3 bags for my plants. Obviously that isn't enough for the tank and I'll need more sub to fill it. Also, my latest plan is to build up a pile of substrate behind some decoration. My question is, Is there something else I can use that is cost friendly that will be a good filler and safe. I know I've heard of people using potting soil or something similar. I could go buy basic everyday gravel, but I still think that wouldn't be the cheapest route. I have some money saved up, but what I have left will mostly be fore fish and plants (which is all I really have left to spend money on). What would you suggest?

Thanks guys and gals

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:39 pm
by freshfish
1. I take mine outside in a bucket (fill the bucket about 1/2 at a time) and blast it with the garden hose till the water runs clear. Works pretty well, with minimal loss as long once you figure out the right water pressure.

2. You could use Pool Filter Sand or find a bag of Miracle Gro Organic potting soil. I'd personally go with the MG (that's what JB and I are using with really good results), though it's slightly more work to set up since you need to lay it down, get it nice and wet/watterlogged to help prevent floating, and then cap it with the Flourite. Just a small bag would be enough- you don't want more than about 1" of the MG.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:56 pm
by Studman0143
So lay down the MG in my tank first, and cover it in water, then put down my substrate after a day or so? I'd be ok with that.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:30 pm
by freshfish
No, you don't have to wait that long to cap it. I just used a plastic container to pour water over the MG and pressed it down with my hands till it seemed wet all the way through. Then I used that same plastic container and scooped my Flourite mix over top of it to get an even and thorough cap.

Afterwards I carefully filled with water (use a broad bowl or plate and keep the water flow somewhat gentle going in). I used a big fishnet to scoop off floaters. Probably did that a few times during the first 24 hours, but I rarely had much float up after that. It does tend to throw off tannins, though- so some activated carbon or Purigen in your filter can be handy unless you're going for the blackwater look.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:13 pm
by Studman0143
freshfish wrote:No, you don't have to wait that long to cap it. I just used a plastic container to pour water over the MG and pressed it down with my hands till it seemed wet all the way through. Then I used that same plastic container and scooped my Flourite mix over top of it to get an even and thorough cap.

Afterwards I carefully filled with water (use a broad bowl or plate and keep the water flow somewhat gentle going in). I used a big fishnet to scoop off floaters. Probably did that a few times during the first 24 hours, but I rarely had much float up after that. It does tend to throw off tannins, though- so some activated carbon or Purigen in your filter can be handy unless you're going for the blackwater look.


Awesome, thank you very much

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:55 am
by kb46
I used a kitchen seive to rinse mine - still clouded when I put it in the tank though.

I have read to put a layer of glad wrap (cling film) over the substrate after placing it in the tank and before filling it with water. I put a layer of al-foil down instead of glad wrap when I refilled my 8G and got no significant clouding, but the fluorite had already been used once too, so there would have been less dust I would imagine. I found the al-foil to be better at preventing the substrate being disturbed than the upside-down plate trick, so plan to use it again when I fill my 75G in just a couple of weeks time.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:07 pm
by Studman0143
kb46 wrote:I used a kitchen seive to rinse mine - still clouded when I put it in the tank though.

I have read to put a layer of glad wrap (cling film) over the substrate after placing it in the tank and before filling it with water. I put a layer of al-foil down instead of glad wrap when I refilled my 8G and got no significant clouding, but the fluorite had already been used once too, so there would have been less dust I would imagine. I found the al-foil to be better at preventing the substrate being disturbed than the upside-down plate trick, so plan to use it again when I fill my 75G in just a couple of weeks time.

Not a bad idea for the future. I don't' mind if there is clouding for now as I won't be added fish for awhile. I want to get my wood and rocks in first and then order the plants. After I feel and see it is ready, I'll add the fish, and by then there shouldn't be any cloudiness problems, I hope.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:58 am
by Studman0143
Let me ask this as well since we're on the topic of substrate. I don't seem to have great success planting my plants. I see people creating these setups where they bunch together a good amounts of plants in one area. And the way I put plants in my sub, I don't see how it would work out well. I'm basically just grabbing the plant with my thumb and index finder, push aside substrate with them and try to get the plant into the ground and shove substrate around the stem before it comes loose. Is there an easier way to do this? Some of my A. reinickii uproot after a little while and I feel it's because of poor planting (and the dumb fish swimming too fast around them, ah).

Also, root tabs, I've seen most people put them directly below the plant, but could I just them below several plants and they'll all benefit? Kind of seems like a stupid question to ask, but I see people makes holes for one and then put 1 plant in it.

Thanks for the help.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:40 am
by freshfish
Tweezers are your friend with planted tanks. Just regular sized tweezers can work, but I personally bought some 11 and 13" ones just for working in my tanks (so I don't have to get QUITE so wet... lol). You can use them both for planting and for inserting root tabs under plants.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:01 pm
by Studman0143
freshfish wrote:Tweezers are your friend with planted tanks. Just regular sized tweezers can work, but I personally bought some 11 and 13" ones just for working in my tanks (so I don't have to get QUITE so wet... lol). You can use them both for planting and for inserting root tabs under plants.


Do I hold the plant with the tweezers, I'm assuming? Just push them down into the sub?

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:47 pm
by freshfish
Gently grab the roots or base of the stem (if planting a stem without roots) with the tweezers (try not to squish them), then pull them under the substrate an inch or so. Gently release and sort of wiggle the tweezers to get the substrate to fill in around the roots/stem. Then carefully remove tweezers.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:40 pm
by kb46
Tweezers definitely make the job easier. There is a bit of a knack to it but you get the hang of it soon enough. Just be sure to protect the roots with the tweezers as you lush the plant into the gravel.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:28 pm
by ScottFish
kb46 wrote: ...as you lush the plant into the gravel.


Alright, I've checked my Australian slang dictionary for "lush"; no such luck.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:41 pm
by J.B.
In this case, Scott, I don't believe Kylie was using Aussie slang, instead she pressed "L" instead of "P" resulting in "lush" instead of "push" :D

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:44 pm
by ScottFish
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

My bad!