Best All Around Substrate For Monte Carlo Low Tech Tank?

DoubleD80

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Hi everyone! I was thinking about doing a carpet of Monte Carlo or similar looking carpet plant and was wondering what was the best complete substrate that would last years. I know aquasoil would be the best but would rather not have to change it all out after a year or two. Is there a aquasoil that last longer than that? I was hoping not to dose co2 either. Don’t think I’m ready for that yet haha. Would it even be possible with the substrate I have now? I dose Nilocg thrive 3 times a week and have a Chihiros rgb 60 set at 50% now but am slowly raising it. Thank you for any suggestions and help!
 

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midnightwhale

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Have you heard of walstad tanks? Naturally provides co2, trace elements and replenishes somewhat naturally. I think you would have to start your tank over though so it might not be a good option for you.
 
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DoubleD80

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Have you heard of walstad tanks? Naturally provides co2, trace elements and replenishes somewhat naturally. I think you would have to start your tank over though so it might not be a good option for you.
Never heard of it but I’ll research it. I plan on moving in the near future and would have to restart the tank anyway!


Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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For what it's worth I'm doing a varient of the Walstad tank, basically using organic soil with a black sand cap and dry starting it. I have found that the Monte Carlo trims need to be guided to the soil, but they're still trying to grow "up" instead of sideways so I can carpet it. May need a better light than the beamsworks.
 
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DoubleD80

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For what it's worth I'm doing a varient of the Walstad tank, basically using organic soil with a black sand cap and dry starting it. I have found that the Monte Carlo trims need to be guided to the soil, but they're still trying to grow "up" instead of sideways so I can carpet it. May need a better light than the beamsworks.
Thanks for the info! What brand of soil and what brand or type of sand? I have a Chihiros rgb 60 so I think it’ll be enough light to carpet it!
 

Prag

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I heard good things about the chihiros, so I think you're good there. I used Kelloggs organic soil, found at home depot and then the topfin black sand for an inch of cap. A bit of caution, I had to painstainkly remove all the wood chips so a large portion of the soil was removed. But this saved future cleaning of the wood as well as the discoloration it would've created so I'm happy.
 
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DoubleD80

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I heard good things about the chihiros, so I think you're good there. I used Kelloggs organic soil, found at home depot and then the topfin black sand for an inch of cap. A bit of caution, I had to painstainkly remove all the wood chips so a large portion of the soil was removed. But this saved future cleaning of the wood as well as the discoloration it would've created so I'm happy.
Yeah I love the light. It looks really nice and when using the command 1 Bluetooth controller it has a nice sunrise/sunset feature that works pretty flawlessly for me so far. I’ve had it about 4 months and it turns on and off like clock work! Thank you for the tip and suggestions. You said you did the dry start method? Was that a pain? And did you grow the Monte Carlo like that first before flooding? Also how long did you grow the plants dry start before flooding? Any problems with mold when doing the dry start? Thanks for the info!
 

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Dry starting requires patience, since most folks want to keep plants AND fish. I mean, who wouldn't right? From what I read it takes anywhere from a month to 60 days to get your plants properly rooted. I'm on day 34,still havent flooded the tank yet. I believe the longer you wait the better for the plants so you can get them exactly where you need them with no issues of displacement. MC is prone to float if it isn't rooted properly, or isn't receiving enough sunlight.

I have no mold issues, because none of my plants are dying and theres no fish food to be concerned with. I do have algae growing on the sides where I wasn't able to cap properly and soil is sticking out but that's more of a workmanship issue
 

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I use aquasolum in all of my tanks!

E16-DDDF0-BBAC-4-AC2-9-E37-263-EAEA6-F03-C.jpg

I got a Monte Carlo carpet like seen in the back in a few weeks with low light and minimal care. This picture was taken after the carpet had gone without light for a week or two because dwarf water lettuce had overgrown.

I definitely recommend this substrate!
 
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DoubleD80

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Dry starting requires patience, since most folks want to keep plants AND fish. I mean, who wouldn't right? From what I read it takes anywhere from a month to 60 days to get your plants properly rooted. I'm on day 34,still havent flooded the tank yet. I believe the longer you wait the better for the plants so you can get them exactly where you need them with no issues of displacement. MC is prone to float if it isn't rooted properly, or isn't receiving enough sunlight.

I have no mold issues, because none of my plants are dying and theres no fish food to be concerned with. I do have algae growing on the sides where I wasn't able to cap properly and soil is sticking out but that's more of a workmanship issue
Thanks for the info! Yeah I read that if you leave a inch or so around the tank without soil it would help elevate algae on the glass where the soil touches! It’s good to here some first hand experience with the dirt method! Hope the algae isn’t an issue for you when you flood it.
 
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DoubleD80

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I use aquasolum in all of my tanks!

E16-DDDF0-BBAC-4-AC2-9-E37-263-EAEA6-F03-C.jpg

I got a Monte Carlo carpet like seen in the back in a few weeks with low light and minimal care. This picture was taken after the carpet had gone without light for a week or two because dwarf water lettuce had overgrown.

I definitely recommend this substrate!
That’s a beautiful carpet! Exactly what I want. What light do you have? And do you use co2? What about ferts and how often do you dose? Did you dry start the Monte Carlo? Thanks for any info!
 

VeiltailKing

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That’s a beautiful carpet! Exactly what I want. What light do you have? And do you use co2? What about ferts and how often do you dose? Did you dry start the Monte Carlo? Thanks for any info!
The light I use just came with the aquarium kit I got on sale ops: It’s an LED light of some sort. I don't use co2 in this tank. I occasionally dose Thrive but not nearly as often as I used to. I bought the Monte Carlo from my local fish store and pretty much just threw it in the tank
 
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DoubleD80

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The light I use just came with the aquarium kit I got on sale ops: It’s an LED light of some sort. I don't use co2 in this tank. I occasionally dose Thrive but not nearly as often as I used to. I bought the Monte Carlo from my local fish store and pretty much just threw it in the tank
That’s good news cause I keep getting told I can’t grow a nice carpet like that I’d have to use co2. I saw some Monte Carlo at my lfs and can’t wait to try it! Couple more questions haha how big is your tank? And how much did the aquasoil cost a bag and how much did you need? Thank again for the help!
 
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DoubleD80

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The light I use just came with the aquarium kit I got on sale ops: It’s an LED light of some sort. I don't use co2 in this tank. I occasionally dose Thrive but not nearly as often as I used to. I bought the Monte Carlo from my local fish store and pretty much just threw it in the tank
Can’t find aquasolum! Is that the name of the brand?
 

VeiltailKing

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That’s good news cause I keep getting told I can’t grow a nice carpet like that I’d have to use co2. I saw some Monte Carlo at my lfs and can’t wait to try it! Couple more questions haha how big is your tank? And how much did the aquasoil cost a bag and how much did you need? Thank again for the help!
Can’t find aquasolum! Is that the name of the brand?
This tank is only a 5g. I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it but I wouldn’t recommend it for a huge tank as it does cost a good bit.
5-C98-F7-A0-75-B2-4-FE2-9-F7-C-77143-BFEADAC.jpg

I found a picture of the bag on one of my old threads! I think it took two bags to fill my 10g for 2 inches worth of substrate.
 
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DoubleD80

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This tank is only a 5g. I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it but I wouldn’t recommend it for a huge tank as it does cost a good bit.
5-C98-F7-A0-75-B2-4-FE2-9-F7-C-77143-BFEADAC.jpg

I found a picture of the bag on one of my old threads! I think it took two bags to fill my 10g for 2 inches worth of substrate.
Thanks for the info!
 
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