Cheap substrate for planted tank

Planted tanks, fertiliser and lighting.

Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 15 Oct 2017 21:09

Hi, I am collecting materials to start my new freshwater tank 125L. I am planning to plant it, have no experience in planted aquarium. Have got 5L JBL aquabasis. Initially was planning to get JBL Monado but later got 15kg dennerle quartz. I am planning to slope the gravel but the material that I have won't be enough to get a decent height. To increase the thickness was hoping to get something in the middle layer between aqua basis and quartz. I want to go very cheap, have heard of Tesco low dust cat litter. Would it be a good cheap alternative or should I get monado. I have read that they both are light. Was wondering would the quartz sink down over time showing up the middle layer. Had even thought of putting stones in to raise the height but this my affect root growth, not sure.
Anyone has similar experience or choice of a cheap middle layer.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 15 Oct 2017 21:40

Good luck with the new setup
What are your plans ? Personally I would not bother with the JBL soil
If you want a good soil get the ADA.

You are better starting out right, things will be easier in the long run
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 15 Oct 2017 23:16

The DAWG wrote:Good luck with the new setup
What are your plans ? Personally I would not bother with the JBL soil
If you want a good soil get the ADA.

You are better starting out right, things will be easier in the long run

Now this will sound crazy, I hope to get it carpeted and have a few bigger plants at the back. No clue on the plants. Will start with DIY co2 initially and might upgrade later. Would you have any suggestion on the easy ones.
I did look at the ADA stuff, the materials that I have gathered cannot be returned at this stage. How much would I need on top of what I have?
Thanks for your help.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 16 Oct 2017 18:07

Depends on the scape how much you would need really.
Monti Carlo is a good easy plant for a carpet then depends what you like from there.
Have you taught about doing a dry start ? And what's the plans for fertiliser?

Were you based ? I have a good bit of the Ada soil I only used for about 6 months that would work for you
If you like.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 16 Oct 2017 22:26

@The DAWG, Thanks for the offer. I am based in Dublin. I had read about dry start. But will need to read up well before I start my tank. Does it work well. I have few fishes in my old tank but they can wait. The only problem is with the cold weather room temperature is never more than 20. Would it be enough for dry start?
Where can I get Monti carlo, that is a good suggestion. I was not aware of it. Don't know about fertilisers. Any suggestions for low maintenance background plants. That could go well with dry start. Thanks a mill.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 17 Oct 2017 13:35

No problem I am in Dublin also so PM me your number and we can arrange something
I will have a look later as I should have a CO2 kit you can have.

Dry start is the only way to go in my opinion especially if you want a carpet
Room temperature should be fine I have done it a few times with no issue

Have a google on EI dosing for planted tanks
It might sound complicated at first but is easy
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 17 Oct 2017 22:30

@The DAWG, Followed you suggestions and have ordered Monte Carlo and will get it a dry start. So I have time to get the other bits setup in the meantime. Reading up on EI, not very confusing.
I don't think I can send PM as I am very new here.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 18 Oct 2017 10:20

You need 5 posts to PM
I will send you my number now
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 20 Oct 2017 23:10

Is that any chance for monte carlo to grow on gravel?
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 04 Dec 2017 22:16

[img][url][img][/img][/url][/img]Dry start went very well and I had got a good coverage on the montecarlo. Trimmed up Hemianthus Micranthemoides. All the plants were growing fine. Then I introduced my barbs from my old tank. They get really stressed out when I switch on light and try to dig in the aqua soil. Now in 3 days I have lost more than 50% of montecarlo. All sucked up by the filter.
Don't know what to do. At this rate I won't have any left. Any suggestions


p.s.@The Dawg, many thanks for all the gear that you gave me. Really appreciate your help.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 05 Dec 2017 00:04

Keep an eye on things if the barbs keep up rooting the carpet I would get rid of them.

As for your Monte Carlo that grows like a weed so don't worry it will bounce back.
Are you adding the dry frets or did you go down a different route ?
And are you using CO2 if so reduce surface movement while the lights/CO2 is on as this will remove it from the water.
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby mexicanking on 05 Dec 2017 23:31

Yes I am using the dry frets that you gave. Got my hang around EI dosing. Plants did grow very fast. Co2 is on, got the cylinders filled up. Actually I had filled the tank up two weeks back as I wanted to test how the plants cope with water. They did very well, so got the fishes on. Yes I have a lot of surface movement at present, as I was thinking that the Co2 was distressing the barbs. Drop checker is dark green. Have reduced Co2 quite a bit. I have my old filter in the new tank, just to be on the safer side as it was not fully cycled. I will take the filter out when it is cycled. 50% water change is the most difficult part in planted tank, so used to just throwing the water in.
It will be a difficulty decision to let go of my 3+ yr old barbs. Today there is another bunch of plants stuck in the filter. And am barely able to keep the lights on for 3-4 hrs as the barbs get so stress that they stop moving.
Have to wait and watch. Thanks
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Re: Cheap substrate for planted tank

Postby The DAWG on 06 Dec 2017 23:25

I would Bring back up the co2 if it is too high the fish would be starved of oxygen and less active
And also increase the lighting time.
You want to get the plants growing or algae will take over.

You could try adding a temporary hiding place for the barbs
If they have somewhere to hide they might start to feel more comfortable and settle in
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