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My new substrate :)

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by nerbaneth, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Hi! I decided to change my substrate yesterday and a lot of good things came from it (including covering my room in sand )

    Here's my tank before the changes :
    [​IMG]

    I emptied it and put my fish and plants in a bucket:
    [​IMG]

    While it was emptied, my girlfriend and I painted the cinder blocks and the board that holds the tank:
    [​IMG]

    We made balls of the old gravel using a shower 'puff' and stacked them up for height:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    We filled in the weird spots with more gravel:
    [​IMG]

    Added a piece of drift wood I found by lake Mary(which is nothing more than a bog this time of year- some cool submerged plant like things there :
    [​IMG]

    We added the substrate we made which is half sandblasting sand and half miracle grow organic potting soil (this should be interesting) I just put the soil in another Rubbermaid bin and added sand until it looked right :
    [​IMG]
    The blue netting was going to kind of separate the substrates.. but we decided against it.

    added a layer of plain sandblasting sand and a rock :
    [​IMG]

    I filled it halfway and planted and then filled the rest of the way (Sorry for lack of a picture I was wet)
     
  3. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    and now I have a tank full of sand dust :
    [​IMG]

    This is the next day - still one more water change and another day of letting it settle:
    [​IMG]
    I shoved an extra filter that I made in there to help clear up the sand (that green thing on the right)


    tell me what you think :)

    -Nerb
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm fascinated by the extremely thin light fixture! What is it and how much wattage of what kind of bulbs is it?

    I hate to rain on the parade, but adding MiracleGro potting soil to the sand could end up being a problem if there are any fertilizers in the potting soil, which I strongly suspect there are. One of the ferts is probably urea, not good in an aquarium.

    I like the general layout though. You would have a much better chance of avoiding algae if you use a lot more plants, unless your light intensity is much lower than it looks like to me.
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Irregardless of ferts, soil will nearly always leach large quantities of ammonia and probably tannins too. This could lead to major algae blooms in the meantime. Doing regular large water changes for about a month and reducing the photoperiod should take care of it though. Might not take so long if you didn't add much soil.

    I really like the sand look. Next time I redo my tank that's what I'm going to do.
     
  6. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    Thanks for the input :)

    The lights are coralife aqualights made for F/W planted aquarium. I think they are either 54w x 4 or 54w x 2 (the package is really vague) it is 4 t5 bulbs, somewhere between 2wpg to 3wpg I believe.

    either way I saw my plants FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER pearl!!! I will post a picture once I get out of school.

    The organic soil from what I can tell is mineralized compost mixed with something - it says that almost all (98%) of the nutrients are insoluble.

    I already figured I would have to do a WC about every couple days because of using the soil - but I am prepared and enjoy a high-maintenance tank. From what I can tell is that I shouldn't fertilize for a month or so while doing these massive W/Cs

    Thanks again!
    -Nerb
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    The important thing is to choose the right kind of soil. Low organic topsoil will not leach significant organics, particularly if it is soaked for a few weeks.

    Fortified soils, like MiracleGrow potting soil, are not intended for aquatic environments and should be avoided unless one enjoys looking at algae.

    Bill
     
  8. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    I guess we will just have to see how it turns out :)

    So far I had a little brown algae from the previous setup, and it has disappeared (I think my otos ate it) I am at the very least happy that almost all my plants are pearling now. Hopefully with a lot of water changes and good co2 I can prevent algae.

    -Nerb

    Should I do 2 water changes a week or just one?
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I would base it on the ammonia reading and algae appearances.
     
  10. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

    so far the tank is turning out great! I figure i should send in an updated photo with the tank actually clear.

    Currently my only problem has been tannins from the wood (and probably the substrate) and green spot algae, which i can never seem to kill off (I increased CO2 and am adding extra phosphate)

    Here's a picture:
    [​IMG]

    hehe try to ignore the floating plants - i have a common pleco that i saved from a friends tank (he was feeding it cat food) Mr. Pleco likes to uproot plants :) I'm in the process of finding a good home for him.
     
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