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About Me

  1. So I’ve been researching sand. If I have the time I will post some other info I’ve collected on the way about various black sands, etc. For right now though I’d like to focus on the Lapis Lustre/Red Flint sands and any other PFS type sand that may be darker than most of the cheaper options. Also, a few general sand questions. The answers might help others as well. Maybe someday I’ll make one giant post as I know myself and a lot of others are on a constant hunt for options and want to know what they’re getting exactly. I know some here are familiar with the Lapis Lustre as Cory has used it in a tank and people wanted to know what it was. Any good footage of that tank? I’d like to see it being used in an aquarium. The SDS seems to indicate is has all kinds of things we don’t want, so surprised to see it used, but figured since Cory definitely knows what he’s doing most of the time, that I’m wrong. SDS/MSDS sheets can be hard for us laymen to read. I’ll provide pics of the two SDS/MSDS I have. Seems it also has limestone in it in potentially large quantities? Being from Monterey Bay perhaps shell as well. It seems this stuff comes branded as: Cemex, Kleen Blast, Cemex Kleen Blast, Cemex Neogem, RMC Pacific Materials, and Basalite In the first pic and link it says: Kleen Blast CEMEX Lapis Lustre Sand #60 100 lb./Bag So what is the #60 for? It’s not for mesh or pounds. Mesh is listed as 30 in the description, but the bag says mesh of #2-/16? In the mesh chart it says #2-/16 is 16x30 and that 30 mesh is 30x70, so I don’t think they are the same….and how does one read the chart overall? I think I have a general idea from googling it, but am not positive. To make it even more confusing, Cory says he used .8. I assume mm, but I don’t see any that are listed that way and from the charts it looks like there is always a range of granule size per mesh category. https://www.whitecap.com/p/Kleen-Blast-CEMEX-Lapis-Lustre-Sand-60-100-lbBag-55289/195907/433LL60/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6IGeyaHN-AIVhofICh3oDwXwEAAYASAAEgIJrvD_BwE Home Depot (different package and weight) https://www.homedepot.com/p/Cemex-50-lb-30-Mesh-Sand-200000278/100321932#overlay The Red Flint sand by Red Flint seems to also be a good PFS type of sand that isn’t stark white. https://www.redflint.com/sand-filtration-media/ They have what appears to be the exact same thing in their aquarium section as well. Estes has what looks like almost the same thing?: Scroll down and it’s called Red Flint Sand https://estesco.com/natural-aquarium-gravel/ They also have Ceramaquartz T&S grades in black, which is supposed to be the replacement for the 3M Colorquartz They also have a line called Permaquartz. I believe Cermaquartz is the ceramic coated variety and the Permaquartz is impregnated with the color somehow. My guess is the Ceramaquartz is what Estes sells as Stoney River in pet shops. If so, I’m really surprised that isn’t more popular as the 3M stuff was very popular. There’s also Covia Personally I’m not sure I trust the coloring. I’ve seen enough reports of it coming off.
  2. I have a stable shrimp tank which has been running for a couple of weeks now. I'd like to add corys, but I want to remove the gravel before I do so. The tank has neocaridinas, a pleco, some ramhorn snails, live plants, moss, driftwood, and a layer of substrate (dennerle nutrisoil 6in1) that's covered by gravel. Only, the substrate was never washed as I added it before I knew I had to wash it.. Will removing the gravel and freeing up the substrate cause problems? I added a picture of the layers. I also have two new sponge filters running alongside a juwel bioflow filter which will be removed in the future (the juwel) in case it's relevant to my question. Thanks in advance!
  3. Hey everyone! I have and aquariums my entire life and decided to try something new. I purchased Fluval Stratum Substrate and aquarium seed and sprinkled the seed on the dampened substrate and have kept it wet and was told after it sprouts, to add water. I have tons of sprouts but now it’s covered in what looks like white mold. What do I do? Can I save it? Did I just waste time and money, something intend to do a lot lol.
  4. Hi I have a flu Al flex 15 g tank (I neglected it for a while but I’m getting back into the hobby) with 2 white skirt tetras , 1 neon tetra, and a 2-2.5 in green fish with red fins (not sure what it is) I would like to get 4 more white skirt tetras, 5 more neon tetras, a cleanup crew, 6 white cloud minnows, and lots of plants. I am currently using a mixture of sand and fluval stratum for substrate. Will I be able to fit the white cloud minnows? Any substrate suggestions? Any recommendations for cleanup crew? Any plant suggestions? Thanks, Jack
  5. What does everyone use as a substrate for outdoor mini ponds? Gravel, sand, dirt? I am planning on getting a 100 gallon tub from a big box store to use as a tub. I'll be planting and adding some fish to it to enjoy outside. I am thinking gravel as a base with some areas with larger pebbles / stones for egg scattering fishes. I would like 1 or 2 water lilies and maybe an iris and some floatering plants. I have water wisteria and pogostemon octopus in my current tanks, so some trimmings from those may end up out there, and may get some crypts to plant in the lower light areas, depends on how everything else fills in. Thanks!
  6. I’m sure there’s as many opinions on this as there are on plants and fish but what is everyone’s favorite substrate? I’m using large gravel with fluval stratum. My next tanks going to be a mix of fine gravel, sand, and something like fluval but with out the balls. My Kuhlis love digging to much.
  7. I normally don't order lots of root tabs. I should; I have tons of plants that can use them. But they are more buoyant than anything I've ever seen in a aquarium, and it's really difficult to get them deep under the root of my plants (even with forceps) so that they'll stay there before the tablet casing begins to degrade! It sometimes takes me several minutes to deposit one tablet, and it's a task I really don't look forward to. When folks on this forum a couple weeks ago mentioned a very expensive, unavailable-to-the-US mechanism made just for this purpose, I hit the internets. But there was no way I could have something like this shipped to the US for less than $60! So I started researching the DIY route, and after some trial and error and lots of research, I've come up with this one-handed solution. It can be made for less than $10 in parts from your local Home Depot. In fact, you can make two for about the same cost! It is sized for Aquarium Co-Op Easy Root Tabs. PARTS: So let's dive in. These are the parts I collected together (non-affiliate links) : 1. Straight PEX Pipe: 1/4" ID, 5' length: $1.76 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Apollo-1-4-in-x-5-ft-White-PEX-Pipe-APPW514/301541226 2. Wood dowel: 3/16" diameter, 4' length: $0.70 https://www.homedepot.com/p/3-16-in-x-48-in-Wood-Round-Dowel-HDDH31648/204354369 3. Drawer pull: 1-1/14" birch cabinet knob: $0.98 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Liberty-Rowland-1-1-4-in-32-mm-Birch-Wood-Round-Cabinet-Knob-P10512H-BIR-C/204143998 4. Drawer pull: 1-13/16" birch cabinet knob: $1.88 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Liberty-Classic-1-13-16-in-46-mm-Unfinished-Birch-Wood-Round-Cabinet-Knob-P10515C-BIR-C5/100156480 5. Springs: 6-pack zinc-plated compression springs (used the 3/8" x 1-1/8" x 0.041" spring): $4.22 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-Zinc-Plated-Compression-Spring-6-Pack-16087/202045468 TOTAL: $9.54 TOOLS: 1. Drill and assorted bits 2. Wood glue (or white glue) 3. 5-minute epoxy PREP: The 1/4" PEX pipe does not fit the Easy Root tabs. I made it fit by enlarging the first inch or so of one end of the pipe using a 5/16" drill bit. Now, the smaller end of the Easy Root Tab fits very snugly. If I don't push it in too far, it's a perfect grip! Next, I cut a 12" length of the PEX pipe and a 13" length of the dowel. I don't have very deep tanks, so this is fine for me. But this can be cut to any length you need; just make sure the dowel is always one inch longer than the tube. The wooden knobs already have holes drilled in them, which made it very easy to enlarge them to exactly the diameters I needed. For the smaller knob, I enlarged the hole to 3/16", making sure not to drill all the way through. I glued in my wood dowel with a drop of wood glue to hold it permanently: For the larger knob, I enlarged the hole to 3/8" diameter, this time going all the way through. I made sure to start with a 3/16" bit, and repeatedly went larger and larger until I reached 3/8". This ensured my hole stayed centered and I had a nice clean cut all the way through. I glued in the length of PEX pipe with 5-minute epoxy. This should hold well enough for my purposes. I'm using the shorter, wider spring for this project (3/8" x 1-1/8" x 0.41"). For good measure, I used some 5-minute epoxy to glue the spring to my plunger. This is totally optional, but gives me one less piece I can lose. That's pretty much all there is to do. I just inserted the plunger in the tube and I'm ready to try it out! I placed an Easy Root Tab in the end, just far enough for it to grip, but not so far that it won't push out easily. I inserted the tool with one hand into the tank, pushed the plunger, and voila! A deposited tablet in 5 seconds! But I am over the moon about how this tool turned out. I just placed about 20 tabs in two minutes. Even with coarse gravel, forcing the pill in was no problem. The two pieces come apart for drying, as that wood dowel won't last forever. Now I understand why the professional ones are so expensive. This makes things so much easier. I'm definitely making a longer one for deeper tanks. Hope you find this useful. Thanks for reading! Bill
  8. Hi All! For my next tank (20 gallon long), I'd love to have a sand beach for my cories surrounded by another substrate. Thinking eco complete and maybe some gravel. What kinds of dividers have you used to keep the sand separate from the other substrate as best you can? Pictures of your setups would help too!
  9. I'm starting a fun experiment today and thought I'd share. I'm setting up six pods of dwarf hairgrass using three common plant substrates either with or without root tabs. All of the pods will share the same column-fertilized water, the same (hopefully even) lighting, and I will be infusing CO2. At intervals I will rotate the outer pods to the inside to try to remove disparate lighting as a variable. My goals are to find out how much DHG benefits from root fertilization, which of these substrates it grows best in, and also how quickly a carpet can fill out when given optimal conditions. I'm excited to see how this goes.
  10. https://www.ebay.com/itm/185181577315 So i was looking for some substrate for a small tank, and came across these things. They are twice as expensive as normal gravel substrate... and take forever to ship, but I think I am going to get some and do the vinegar test and stuff on them to see if they are safe for the fish. Maybe i can get some really sparkly ones for a few bucks more... Do does anyone have any suggestions as to what to try to prove their safety in the water long term? This obviously isn't practical for larger tanks, but a small 5-10 gallon tank might be neat.
  11. Hello, so I'm attempting my first planted tank and I'd like to do a combination of dirt with a coarse silica sand or maybe a bonsai lava grit cap over it. The tank I'm using is a 36-gal Topfin bowfront 30.7 in L x 15.7 in W x 22.2 in H (77.9 x 39.8 x 56.3 cm). My question is how much of each substrate should I use? I know the 1 Lb to 1 gal rule, as well as adding an extra inch for planted tanks but because I'm mixing 2 substrates, I was hoping to get a more precise ratio. Any advice from someone who has done something similar or just has more knowledge in general about this would be greatly appreciated.
  12. I've used the Fluval Stratum for Plants & Fish but it's so messy, it breaks down quickly into a fine powder that coats every thing. I'm wondering if there is a good planted tank substrate that is a bit more solid?
  13. Hi Folks, So moving forward to the next step in my tank setup.... I really liked the look of Caribsea in Daniel's experimental nerm tank so I went that direction. Today, I put in 20lbs of Rio Grande gravel & 40lbs of Peace River gravel. My layer is about 1.5". I feel like I need a little more substrate. There are root tabs under the gravel. What depth do others put in their gravel based tanks? Will
  14. Hey folks! So as some of you know I am setting up a 75 and and had planned on moving the sponge filter to speed up the cycle, (which is overrun with green hair algae) and reusing the substrate from the smaller tank (and adding more new eco complete) to increase the beneficial bacteria in the new 75 However, I read somewhere that disturbing substrate will kill the beneficial bacteria colony and cause serious problems. Finally just discovered a hydra outbreak. I don’t know if anything in the old tank can be used, except the plants which I can dip. So my questions are: 1) pros and cons of reusing the substrate? 2] should I use the seeded sponge filter with algae in it? —I will of course remove as much algae as possible. I don’t know if there are hydra in the sponge. If anyone has ideas or has done this, I would love to hear from you!
  15. Okay. So. My 55 gallon was originally supposed to be a Walstad setup. I got impatient when the pet store didn’t have the sand I wanted, so I capped the soil with a layer of imagitarium gravel. Fast forward a year and a half. The pH of my heavily planted, full-of-driftwood, barely-water-changed tank is 8.4, with 300ppm hardness and 300ppm buffer. (Max level on the aquarium coop test strips.) The water out of my tap is almost RO, it has so little in it. The black coating on the gravel is wearing off. So given that plants and driftwood are supposed to lower your pH over time, and the fact that I don’t have this problem in any of my other tanks, I’m 99.9% sure the gravel is sending my pH through the roof. The fish are doing fine—they’ve adjusted to this over a long period of time. I think they’d be happier in a lower pH environment but they’re doing okay. But I know if I ever want to add new fish, they’ll have a rough go of it in this very very hard, alkaline water. I’d also like to be able to grow stem plants in here. At the very beginning of this tank I had beautiful stem plants! But based on the fact that they all died and I’ve never gotten them to grow again, I don’t think they can handle the high pH. (The swords are also nitrate hogs. I fertilized yesterday and today the nitrate is 0.) Plus, the gravel does a terrible job keeping the dirt where it’s supposed to be. There’s always particulates floating everywhere, which I think contributes to my small-leafed plants growing tons of algae. The mulm collects in those plants and the algae love it. So the question is… do I dare change my substrate? I think I’d replace everything with a fine gravel, something on the darker side that still looks natural. Forget the Walstad. I love that method, but the Walstad ship sailed for this tank long ago. I really want to, but I have no idea how, given that this is a dirted tank. I could empty the whole thing and try to scoop the substrate out, but that seems really hard. Even if I get the tetras and gouramis out of there, I’ve got two plecos, two yo-yo loaches, and two otos that I highly doubt I could catch without tearing out the entire scape. And I know my sword plants will not be happy if I uproot them. I could try to replace the substrate one bit at a time, vacuuming out another section each time I do a water change. I had to do that when I replaced the rock in the front right corner. It kicked up a toooon of dirt but that cleared in time. Does that make the most sense, so I don’t have to move anyone? I’d never get all the gravel out, but maybe I could remove enough that the pH goes down. I’m just imagining that between the loaches and the Malaysian trumpet snails, the old and new gravel will get mixed together and then I’ll end up throwing out a lot of new gravel every time I try the next section. That or I’m stuck sorting gravel. 😛 Help!!
  16. Can anyone suggest a sand they like? I’m only going to give my aquariums a dusting of it, so a hobby related sand is fine since the price won’t be a huge issue. i originally was only going to put substrate in the 6 Cory tanks but now I think I want a little coverage
  17. Sup, I have a 100 liter fully planted but the substrate is manado, a neutral substrate and the plants do not feel that well after a year. I was thinking about changing the substrate but the thing is that I already have a established population of fish. So which substrate should I go for? I tried to dodge the nitrate rise of a nutrient rich substrate. Thanksss
  18. I have been thinking a lot about how substrate exists in nature, especially with gravel vs sand. My hobby context is with organic soil underneath, where I prefer gravel as a cap, but I don’t want to be too specific. I grew up on Lake Champlain, which has some of the oldest former reefs in the world, from when it was the Champlain Sea. However, there are very few sandy beaches on the lake. The two big ones are Sandbar State Park on the Vermont side, fed by the Lamoille River, and Ausable Point on the New York side, both cases where the rivers have been depositing sand for millennia. In the marine environment, we expect tons of flow, grinding down rocks and coral. Freshwater seems to have more conditions.
  19. I did a major clean and a 50% water change on my CPD tank yesterday, since I’m trying to fix up my nano tanks this week. I’m not sure what part of this process (which included splitting and replanting some portions of HC) caused my substrate to do this, but some of the balls on the top layer have gone a grey-white colour. What is this??? For reference, I am using Oliver Knott x Pisces ‘AquaEarth’. I’ve seen it do this once before after I moved the tank from my old house to this house, and I can’t remember how I got it to go away. I’d really like to make this go back to normal, so my tank can be beautiful again. Right now I don’t just have the substrate problem, but my tank is cloudy, and a bunch of detritus has settled on all my plants and rocks, which is infuriating! And I can’t do a water change to get rid of this because I just did a 50% one yesterday, and I hate messing with my water to this extent. Also, I think my CPDs are getting ready to breed (as I type this I’m seeing two fish dancing in circles around each other), so I want to make sure I don’t unsettle them by having the tank in such a state. Any advice on what is happening, why it’s happening, and how to fix it would be much appreciated! By me and my fish. Note: my phone has slightly over saturated the last picture. It makes the tank look kinda nice. I wish it looked like this, but just imagine that the water is a bit milky, the plants are covered in brown detritus, and the substrate on the right side looks positively grey.
  20. Hello, I am looking to set up a 40 breeder for a river looking shrimp and goby tank. I went out and got some wild river rocks to make a rock wall hardscape and am trying to determine what to use for a matching substrate. I wanted to keep the substrate dark and kind or river looking. I have eco-complete in my work tank but am having some difficulty planting the tank with my amano shrimp playing gardener. I found this Caribsea Super Naturals- Blue Ridge that has good color, but it has a max particle size of 10mm which kind of seems big in my head. They do not have this product in my local stores to see directly, but in looking at what they do have it seems like standard gravel is around the 5mm mark. For planting purposes do you think this gravel would be too big for things like crypts and moneywort type plants to thrive? I was also going to try to look at the local gravel quarry to see if they have any coarse sand/ small gravel that would fit the bill, or just going to the river and sifting my own substrate which I am a little timid to do. The current plan is ~100 yellow cherry shrimp, 3 amano shrimp, 3 blue neon goby, 3 cobalt goby, 1 hillstream loach, some snails, and would be willing to take suggestions for the rest of what to put in for the top of the water. I was thinking possibly some CPD's or chili rasbora, otocinclus, or honey gourami. Thank you, Brad Caribsea Super Naturals- Blue Ridge
  21. Hello everyone, I have recently started acquiring more tanks for my fish rack that I am building. When looking for substrate for previous tanks I have used only ADA Amazonia (version 1) and CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate. I can't seem to find either anymore, I'm not sure if Eco-complete is not being produced anymore; I know that ADA has their version two of Amazonia, just wanted to know what people are using these days and what they have found to be successful/cost effective. I plan on getting some fancy goldfish, caridina shrimp (I've heard UNS controsoil is decent), neocaridina's, and mostly nano fish. So I believe I will probably need a plethora of different types of soil. What do you guys like and what to avoid? :)
  22. So I began to set up a dirted tank, but I don’t know if I have enough. In the pictures you can see there’s around an inch and a quarter (there’s some space beneath the black space) of organic seed starter- https://images.app.goo.gl/tD9k5GbNHix5uKM98 I assume it’s different from your standard miracle gro- and about the same amount made up in pool filter sand, pea pebbles (not pea gravel!) and a small bag of Caribsea gravel. I have a unsettling feeling that it won’t be enough though…so should I buy more substrate? I just don’t want it to be too expensive, and I ran out of all my sand and pebbles. Also I’ve heard sand isn’t great since it suffocates the dirt and everything. In the pictures included you can also see all the gravel pictures, measurements, a little diagram I drew and my ammonia (~.50) level after filling and draining my tank (once yesterday- the day I set it up) and again today. So…thoughts? Also I’m kinda nervous because the substrate seems to be mixing and pouring water on the substrate from a certain height seems to somehow bring out a little bit of dirt.
  23. I need to add real substrate to my new 20g long. Right now it has a thin layer of gravel brought over from my established betta setups, just for the bacteria, but I want to add enough for rooting plants to grow in and a darker color to show off the lighter colored fish in this tank. I'd like something with a mix of browns, ideally. My local stores are strangely out of natural color substrate other than larger pebbles than I want. I bought a bag of Flourite to try because the photo on the bag made it look brown, but it was wayyy too red. Looking online, Carib Sea Peace River seems like one option, and maybe Rio Grande but I can't really tell from the tiny photo what it would look like in a tank. If you have brown substrate you like for plants, I'd love to see it and have the name. Thanks!
  24. Hi, I'm setting up a planted tank. The volcanic soil based plant substrates are new since last time I did this (maybe 15 years ago). I have my hardscape done and an using shrimp king substrate. I'm starting to add plants now. I'm wondering, do I still need root tabs with this substrate? Or is it the point of these new substrates that they have enough nutrients for the plants to grow without the tabs? Thanks, Steve
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