Substrate reccomendations for newbie.

CptanPanic

Junior Poster
Oct 18, 2010
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I am planning on setting up a Low Tech 55 gallon planted tank, No CO2, weekly/bi-weekly ferts, and am looking for a recommendation for substrate. I don't want to spend a lot of money but I live in south florida, so we don't really have top soil outside only sand. I do live next to a pond, would that be good? I would also be willing to do the mineralized method, but don't know where I can get clay and potash. So ideally the recommendation would allow me to get everything at 1-2 stores. Thanks in advance.
CP
 

fjf888

Guru Class Expert
Oct 29, 2007
294
0
16
Northern Virginia
CptanPanic;56943 said:
I am planning on setting up a Low Tech 55 gallon planted tank, No CO2, weekly/bi-weekly ferts, and am looking for a recommendation for substrate. I don't want to spend a lot of money but I live in south florida, so we don't really have top soil outside only sand. I do live next to a pond, would that be good? I would also be willing to do the mineralized method, but don't know where I can get clay and potash. So ideally the recommendation would allow me to get everything at 1-2 stores. Thanks in advance.
CP

If you decide to do mineralized, clay is available anywhere pottery is done, maybe even Michaels. The potash would be available at your Garden Center/nursery, probably not at the Home Depot or Lowes. I think you can use K2SO4 instead, which is available at aquariumfertilizer.com

Fred
 

fjf888

Guru Class Expert
Oct 29, 2007
294
0
16
Northern Virginia
CptanPanic;56943 said:
I am planning on setting up a Low Tech 55 gallon planted tank, No CO2, weekly/bi-weekly ferts, and am looking for a recommendation for substrate. I don't want to spend a lot of money but I live in south florida, so we don't really have top soil outside only sand. I do live next to a pond, would that be good? I would also be willing to do the mineralized method, but don't know where I can get clay and potash. So ideally the recommendation would allow me to get everything at 1-2 stores. Thanks in advance.
CP

If this is a brand new tank and you are willing to spend some money, I would go with ADA aquasoil if I was starting from scratch with no fish in the tank initially, that is what I would do. A cheap option that can work is worm castings. See the worm castings thread for detailed instructions. That is what I did, b/c I didn't want to deal with the NH4 issues from Aquasoil with my fish. I also included a layer of osmocote with traces at the bottom, added some dolomite and K2SO4. I capped it all with Eco-Complete. You could use turface (in that case you can get everything from your garden supply store), play sand, fluorite, Eco, 3M black sand, small diameter gravel, etc. There are a bunch of options.

You can also look at the Non-CO2 thread Tom has here, which is full of good information and I think the ideal place for you to start. In that thread he recommends the use of leorardite, capped with onyx sand.
 

pat w

Member
Nov 4, 2009
462
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Daphne, AL (east Mobile Bay)
Turface is cheap but sometimes hard to find. It's primary use is in sports field construction and amendment. I found some at a local landscaper left over from a big project. High CEC ... but light in weight and easily disturbed. On the fast rooting stuff like my Ludwigia or Polygonum it works fine, but the slower growing stuff is easily disturbed and floats up and I find myself replanting now and then. Rinse well but don't expect to start out with no cloudiness at all.

Pat
 

BigFlusher

Prolific Poster
Dec 25, 2009
53
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6
Sun City West, AZ
2 inches of sand is about as cheap easy and low tech as it gets.

Biollante likes pool sand, it is what I use.

sand that you can pour vinegar or hydrochloric acid w/o reaction is good.

With care you do not need a filter

Joe