Substrate for planted tank

utahfish

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Ahh okay well I might just go the play sand then if the live plants are fine just with that then why not. Thank you!
No worries, I prefer black diamond blasting sand and I've used play sand in the past with success as well. Play sand tends to compact so keep it no more than 2 inches deep.
 
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Snoyo1

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The beneficial bacteria (BB) in your current tank live in the filter media and substrate mostly and not the water itself. I'd swap out some media from your cycled filter into the un-cycled one to seed it with BB and get a head start with the cycle.
Okay thank you I’ll do that for sure!
 
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Snoyo1

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No worries, I prefer black diamond blasting sand and I've used play sand in the past with success as well. Play sand tends to compact so keep it no more than 2 inches deep.
Is this the diamond black stuff you’re talking about?? It says quartz tho so maybe not
B1985650-84C8-49C2-BA9D-FA548D0F7411.png
 

utahfish

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Is this the diamond black stuff you’re talking about?? It says quartz tho so maybe not View attachment 121312
No that's just over priced crushed quartz.
Black diamond blasting sand is about 10 $ for 50 pounds, which is about the same price as play sand and pool filter sand.
I don't ifyen use quartz sand mostly because most packaged" aquarium" sands are over priced.
I'm going to guess the above product is much like tahitian moon sand which is expensive and over priced, and in my experience quite messy. Here's black diamond blasting sand
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/black-diamond-medium-blasting-abrasives-3905403?store=325&cm_mmc=feed-_-GoogleShopping-_-Product-_-3905403&gclid=CjwKCAjw8-78BRA0EiwAFUw8LDCjY_TRRZyNKcdhkQw06ru_MtoIQVcHoFGFI-jDRmStjSQZE64JHBoC-T8QAvD_BwE
And if price isn't an issue then black quartz is ok, if one is going to spend that much I'd search for natural river sand. I can't remember the name of the company but there is a company that bags different kinds of river sand and it's nice an natural but pricier than say play sand or black diamond blasting sand
 

WhistlingBadger

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I use an inch of organic potting soil under an inch of sand. I've used blasting sand and play sand and they both work, just look different. Obviously the other substrates people have mentioned work too, as the pics speak for themselves. :)
 

utahfish

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I use an inch of organic potting soil under an inch of sand. I've used blasting sand and play sand and they both work, just look different. Obviously the other substrates people have mentioned work too, as the pics speak for themselves. :)
I've dirted a tank before, I wouldn't recommend for beginners, the soil leeches a lot of organics Into the water and once plants are in don't even thinking about moving them as it creates a mess and again Lee he's all those organics into water column causing nitrate spikes which can lead to algae and after about 2 years the soil goes dead and anaerobic as it breaks down and becomes nutrient deficienct and needs to be replaced.

I've found it much simpler to use just sand and root tabs and when the plants use those root tabs just replace root tabs. No need to replace substrate just recharge.
 

WhistlingBadger

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I've dirted a tank before, I wouldn't recommend for beginners, the soil leeches a lot of organics Into the water and once plants are in don't even thinking about moving them as it creates a mess and again Lee he's all those organics into water column causing nitrate spikes which can lead to algae and after about 2 years the soil goes dead and anaerobic as it breaks down and becomes nutrient deficienct and needs to be replaced.

I've found it much simpler to use just sand and root tabs and when the plants use those root tabs just replace root tabs. No need to replace substrate just recharge.
I keep hearing that stuff, and it seems to be the accepted wisdom on this forum. Sand and root tabs obviously work, so I'm not disagreeing with you there, but my experience with dirted tanks is a lot different than yours.

The soil does leach organics for a while, but it generally stabilizes by the time the tank is cycled. Plants can be moved if one is careful, but you're right that it can make a mess, and once they're growing well it's better to leave them alone anyway. As for the soil going dead, it hasn't happened in any of my tanks. Never had to replace a substrate; the fish waste seems to find its way down and take care of that, and plant roots keep it from going too anaerobic. I've done at least four very successful dirted tanks, all of which lasted several years and were extremely stable. My 150g and the Badgerling's 7g are both well into year three and going strong.

Dirted tanks do require a bit more work on the front end, and a good choice and density of plants, so you might be right about not recommending them for absolute beginners. If you set them up correctly, they're very stable and easy to maintain once they settle down. Just for heaven's sake don't get any digging fish or inverts in a dirted tank. Found that one out the hard way with a couple of big hoplos. What a mess--took me a couple months to clean up that disaster. :lol:
 

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