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Thread: Fighting with the substrate

  1. #1
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    Default Fighting with the substrate

    Hi, total newbie here. I have a 2nd hand 4ft tank I would like to set up as a low-tech beginners community tank with easy to care for fish like guppies and a few low-needs plants. I've given it a good clean with diluted vinegar and a thorough rinse. I have an Aquael 1000 filter ready to go (canister filter wasn't a great option because I have a toddler).

    After doing some research on here and driving to half a dozen stores around town, I could only get 2 bags of Brunnings propagating sand to use as substrate. I've started washing one bag of it in a bucket and after several dozen rinses it is still clouding up the water. Do I need to get it completely clear before I put it in?

    Any other advice for substrate? Going for a natural look. The only Clarke Rubber up here doesn't stock regular pool filter sand, only zeolite so I am going to try some pool shops later in the week to top off the propagating sand.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2018
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    adelaide south australia
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    Default

    Was going suggest unicorn brand pool filter sand but looks like you have checked

  3. #3
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    Qld
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    Default

    I would love to find some unicorn brand.

    I washed the propagating sand as best I could and filled the tank, it did go quite murky though. Hoping it settles down or is filtered out.

  4. #4

    Default

    don't use swimming pool filter sand because it compacts and the plants don't do well.

    Something we did in the fish room was use 1 litre plastic ice cream containers. Put an inch of brown aquarium gravel in the container. Add a thin layer of plant fertiliser (the same stuff you use on garden plants). Put a thin layer (2-3mm) of red/ orange clay over the fertiliser. Then fill the rest up with brown gravel. Put your plant in the container and put the container in the tank. The clay stops the fertiliser leaching into the water and when the plant's roots hit the clay and fertiliser they go nuts.

    If you want the container to look more natural you can smear a thin layer of silicon around the outside of the container and sprinkle gravel or brown sand over it. Allow to dry before using. Then have a thin layer of gravel on the bottom of the tank and you can have pots of plants throughout.

    Pretty sure zeolite absorbs ammonia too. If so, you don't want to use that because sometimes it can release ammonia if there is a sudden change in water chemistry. Then the fish die from ammonia poisoning.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin_T View Post
    don't use swimming pool filter sand because it compacts and the plants don't do well.
    Pool filter sand does not compact because it is rounded and not angular. It is also graded to all be roughly the same size.
    If it was angular, and going to the extreme, in a triangular shape the flat sides will eventually move together creating no space between and be compacted. Balls cannot do this.
    Pool filter sand is used because it allows fluid, water, movement through it without getting compacted in any way.
    On a personal level I have 5 planted tanks with pool filter sand caps and they are doing great. I did my research before using it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madmerv View Post
    Pool filter sand does not compact because it is rounded and not angular. It is also graded to all be roughly the same size.
    If it was angular, and going to the extreme, in a triangular shape the flat sides will eventually move together creating no space between and be compacted. Balls cannot do this.
    Pool filter sand is used because it allows fluid, water, movement through it without getting compacted in any way.
    On a personal level I have 5 planted tanks with pool filter sand caps and they are doing great. I did my research before using it.
    Affirmative.
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  7. #7

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    what brand of pool filter sand did you use, because the stuff I used settled like concrete?

  8. #8
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    Dunno about merv, but i think i got mine from Swimart.

    The very purpose of pool filter sand makes it perfect for our application. My only problem with it is the colour.
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    We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
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  9. #9
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    Jul 2017
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    South Australia, Adelaide
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madmerv View Post
    Pool filter sand does not compact because it is rounded and not angular. It is also graded to all be roughly the same size.
    If it was angular, and going to the extreme, in a triangular shape the flat sides will eventually move together creating no space between and be compacted. Balls cannot do this.
    Pool filter sand is used because it allows fluid, water, movement through it without getting compacted in any way.
    On a personal level I have 5 planted tanks with pool filter sand caps and they are doing great. I did my research before using it.
    sorry to the OP for hijaking this thread

    merv from your experience can you please tell me what you are capping with the pool filter sand. I assumed it would sink to the bottom if used as capping (on 2tonned's diy substrate)? i ask because i had heard that the nz iron sand used on top of this substrate would sink to the bottom.

    if this is not the case i will be using it as a capping layer.

  10. #10
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    Perth WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrKrabs View Post
    sorry to the OP for hijaking this thread

    merv from your experience can you please tell me what you are capping with the pool filter sand. I assumed it would sink to the bottom if used as capping (on 2tonned's diy substrate)? i ask because i had heard that the nz iron sand used on top of this substrate would sink to the bottom.

    if this is not the case i will be using it as a capping layer.
    Yes Mate i use it to cap the 2Tone sub. You are basically capping on propergating sand that is roughly the same size grains but has clay in it so there is no movement down by the pool sand. Iron sand is a larger grain and heavier so with time and fish moving it around it will eventually migrate down. The other problem with using iron sand it when you pull a rooted plant out some of the bottom layer will come with it and there is a big colour difference. With the pool sand there is a colour difference but with a bit of a swish over the top you almost cant see it.
    Just had a look in the shed to find the brand but i must have used it all.. Sorry.

  11. #11
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    ACT
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrKrabs View Post
    sorry to the OP for hijaking this thread

    merv from your experience can you please tell me what you are capping with the pool filter sand. I assumed it would sink to the bottom if used as capping (on 2tonned's diy substrate)? i ask because i had heard that the nz iron sand used on top of this substrate would sink to the bottom.

    if this is not the case i will be using it as a capping layer.
    Whichever is heavier will sink to the bottom. Iron sand is very heavy indeed so will probably sink given smaller particle size also.

  12. #12
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    Perth WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Dunno about merv, but i think i got mine from Swimart.

    The very purpose of pool filter sand makes it perfect for our application. My only problem with it is the colour.
    I got some from Clark Rubber and some from 2 different pool shops here in WA. In the 6 footer i had to use 3 bags from 2 suppliers and there was a distinct colour difference. One was the almost white/grey that i have got before and one was almost pure white.
    I should have checked and mixed them but i figured once i had a good carpet of BGA it would not matter..Lol

  13. #13
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    To answer the original question, yes the cloudiness settles down in a day or two.

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