Cheap Planted Substrate

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by EffaMoulton, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. EffaMoultonValued MemberMember

    Hi, I’m looking for a cheap substrate that would be good for basic plants. I can’t find anything that looks good and is cheap. Thanks.
  2. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

  3. EffaMoultonValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the suggestions. I heard that pool filter sand is not good for plants long-term since it can become compacted and kill the roots off. And the BDBS seems kind of expensive for what you’re getting.

  4. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    I only use sand. Never had a problem. I only use the natural stuff we mine from streams, but you can get a 60lb bag of paver sand at HD for $4.50.

  5. Sergeant PepperWell Known MemberMember

    I swear by Black Diamond Blasting Sand. It's super cheap. 7 bucks for a 50 pound bag. It stays beautifully black and I've had great success growing plants in it. Very easy to clean if you get the medium grit. Takes a lot of rinsing for prep before adding to the tank, but I feel it's worth it.

  6. LA58Valued MemberMember

    Pool sand remains loose. It makes moving plants around very easy if you plan to sell them. Corkscrew val comes out with ease. I also use black diamond and enjoy the deep black substrate, although it can be messy when stirred up. Amen to the rinsing! Those are the two most inexpensive types of substrate. It's nice to have a few smooth rocks to hold larger plants down in the sand until their roots grow longer.
  7. FahnFishlore VIPMember

  8. EffaMoultonValued MemberMember

    Do you guys have any recommendations for what pool sand to use?
  9. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Honestly, sand is sand. Get the cheapest you can find (Paver sand at HD, 60lbs for $4.50). It needs no rinsing either. I just set up a new tank last month with it as I was all out of stream sand. And it looks natural, which I love.
  10. Sheena-PhxValued MemberMember

    @Sergeant Pepper, where do you get the Black Diamond Blasting Sand? I get my pool filter sand at Home Depot, would they have it there? I really want some for my 125 and 80 that I am about to take all of the river rock out of. Thanks in advance!!
  11. The_fishyValued MemberMember

    Black Diamond Blasting sand is sold in bags at Tractor Supply. If you don’t see it in a aisle, check the middle of the store area because sometimes they leave it out there on pallets.
  12. Sheena-PhxValued MemberMember

    Root tabs are very inexpensive if you make or get the osmocote ones online. If you look it up it's a very easy straightforward process that is so much cheaper than buying the "root tabs" for plants from Seachem and others. I have been using the Osmocote ones for a year now and they are amazing. Never had a problem and plants do great in my pool filter sand. Here is my little 10 gallon using root tabs in pool filter sand. This is awhile back though, it has tons more plants now, all doing great.


    Thanks @The_fishy! Need to see if we have one around here, I hear about the place all the time, but have never been. Thank you!

    Totally hijacking this thread, I'm so sorry @EffaMoulton ! One more question, for @The_fishy or @Sergeant Pepper - Is this what it looks like? I think I found it, but they have fine and medium. This is a picture of the fine. Just want to make sure I get the right stuff. It says "Product must stay dry" lol. Not using for it's intended purpose, so maybe that doesn't apply here. Just want a confirmation before I convince my husband we need to drive to another town to get this. : ) Thanks!

    Black diamond blasting abrasives, fine.PNG
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2019 at 10:13 PM
  13. The_fishyValued MemberMember

    No problem! And that is the stuff.
  14. Sheena-PhxValued MemberMember

    Perfect, Thank you!
  15. LA58Valued MemberMember

    They only want it dry if you are using it for the intent of sand blasting.

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