Planted tank questions

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AquaMan3640

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Hello

Getting prepared to set up a 55 gallon planted tank and I had a few questions.
Substrate? I was originally going to do black sand and use oscomote tabs in under the root feeders. But I can't seem to find black sand around me other than the $20 bags from petco/smart. So at Petsmart, looking for other options, I saw seachem fluorite, and caribsea flora max for planted aquarium. Both cheaper than just plain old black sand, but I didn't want to buy one without researching and getting some opinions on them. Has anyone tried either of these out? Any thoughts on them?
Bulb plant? also while at PetSmart, I saw a 4 pack for bulb plants. I have already tried one pack of them and had success with only one of the 4 bulbs, but did not really know what I was doing planting them. Are these packs hit or miss? Is there a specific way to plant them, like sprouting them in water then planting them?
Reliable plants? I am planning on having to order some plants online because my only lfs are the petco/smart chains, and they aren't the best. Does anyone know a reliable plant store online? Planning on buying Amazon swords, a floating variety, Anubis, moss of some kind, and possibly some more jungle val. I'd be happy to buy from someone from this forum, but not sure who has plants for sale.

Thanks
 
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BluMan1914

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Zach72202

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Here is my 'Work in progress 40b'
I buy 'Black Diamond' Sand blasting sand from Tractor Supply with a grit of 4016 or like a medium/coarse grit
I didn't even have to rinse it and its 9.99 a 50 Lb bag. This is a whole bag in this tank and its about 1.5"-2" deep all over.
 

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AquaMan3640

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Zach72202 said:
Here is my 'Work in progress 40b'
I buy 'Black Diamond' Sand blasting sand from Tractor Supply with a grit of 4016 or like a medium/coarse grit
I didn't even have to rinse it and its 9.99 a 50 Lb bag. This is a whole bag in this tank and its about 1.5"-2" deep all over.
BluMan1914 said:
Go to Tractor Supply Company. They have Black Diamond Blasting Sand. 10 bones for a 50lb bag.
Thanks. Just found a store near me that has it. Went into the one closest to me and they looked at me crazy so figured no one here carried it. Zach72202 , did the sand make a mess when you filled the tank up?
 
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Travisb1297

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If you're after the black sand, then just do what was stated above. As for commercials available substrates, I've heard differing opinions on all. I would not recommend bulbs. I can't help you with ordering plants. I've always mine mine from an lfs

If you're trying to put the sand in, it depends on whether there's water in the tank. If so, use a measuring cup to put the sand near the bottom of the tank, if not then put the sand in, cover it with plates(or something else). The pour water in slowly. It will still cloud up the water a little but these are the two strategies I've used.
 
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Zach72202

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I did not even have to rinse it because I bought a coarser kind. Avoid fine sand because it will never settle and will always be a mess. Some of it will float for a while, but put an air stone or sponge filter to it for surface agitation and it'll all settle within a few days. Good luck!
 
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AquaMan3640

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Zach72202 said:
I did not even have to rinse it because I bought a coarser kind. Avoid fine sand because it will never settle and will always be a mess. Some of it will float for a while, but put an air stone or sponge filter to it for surface agitation and it'll all settle within a few days. Good luck!
Thanks think I am about to go pick some up. Ill make sure to get the more coarse kind. Do you think it would hurt corydoras mouths?

Travisb1297 said:
I can't help you with ordering plants. I've always mine mine from an lfs
Lucky haha ! Wish there was a good lfs near me. Chain stores don't do the trick.
 
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CTYankee79

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I highly recommend contacting Vishaquatics for buying plants and giving guidance on a planted tank. He helped me set mine up and sells superb plants.
 
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BluMan1914

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Ive used the extra fine blasting sand, and loved it. There is a small learning curve when it comes to cleaning it, and I definitely recommend putting a prefilter on your intake, or a panty hose to keep the sand out of your filter.
When I redid my tank, I went with a little coarser black sand, and like it just as much as the extra fine. But have to admit, I like the extra fine better. It feels just like sand from the beach.
I have a 20 long that I will set up with Shellies for my wife, and will use the extra fine for them.
With the extra fine, you will spend a couple of hours cleaning it, and you will mot get it completely clean, but your filter will do the rest.
With the coarser sand, I still pre washed it, but it wasnt no where as dirty as the extra fine. I believe that I could have put it in without pre washing, but I feel better pre washing instead of just dumping it in without washing it.
 
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mimo91088

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CTYankee79 said:
I highly recommend contacting Vishaquatics for buying plants and giving guidance on a planted tank. He helped me set mine up and sells superb plants.
Agreed. Vishaquatics won't steer you wrong.
 
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Vishaquatics

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Thank you CTYankee79 mimo91088 for the recommendations, I truly appreciate it.

As far as substrate goes, black diamond blasting sand is a good option. Get the largest grit size possible (the larger the grain, the less risk of compaction). Another great option is a large grit size of pure silica sand. The stuff that is graded correctly for industrial use is really good to use. I wouldn't go any smaller than size #20. If you can find sizes below #20 like #8 or #12, that would be even better. Sand grains that are approx 2mm in diameter are probably perfect to use. Normal silica sand is fairly inexpensive, around $10 for 100lbs.

I'd steer clear of the fine sand grains because it can cause compaction over time, which makes it hard for plants to grow and increases the risk of cyanobacteria blooms.

Bulb plants are a hit or miss from chain pet stores. The bulbs often sit packaged for months in various conditions, so they are likely to be rotten in the inside or moldy. As far as plants go, please send me a PM if you're interested in purchasing any. Though I'm running a bit low on variety right now, I'd be happy to create a custom plant package for you.
 
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AquaMan3640

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I think I might just go for an organic potting soil as my base substrate and cap it with black sand, probably from petco.
 
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Nickguy5467

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i used organic potting soil with black sand on top , its what was left of my old tanks sand that was using(discontinued) black Tahitian Moon Sand cap
 
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MrBryan723

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I agree with Vishaquatics for the plants. He started growing them immersed so you don't have the melt issues most places have.
 
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AquaMan3640

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Anyone have any recommendations for which potting soil to use? I hear they'll loose their nutritional qualities after about 6 months... would using oscomote tabs after that help? Still not set to use potting soil if its not a good option, but I have already purchased black sand to cap whatever substrate I use. Would putting gravel in the substrate help the plants roots? Thanks
 
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Nickguy5467

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AquaMan3640 said:
Anyone have any recommendations for which potting soil to use? I hear they'll loose their nutritional qualities after about 6 months... would using oscomote tabs after that help? Still not set to use potting soil if its not a good option, but I have already purchased black sand to cap whatever substrate I use. Would putting gravel in the substrate help the plants roots? Thanks
my sword is rooted very strongly in the soil below my sand. i heard from someone on here that root tabs can replenish the soil?
 
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AquaMan3640

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Nickguy5467 said:
my sword is rooted very strongly in the soil below my sand. i heard from someone on here that root tabs can replenish the soil?
what soil did you use?
 
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Nickguy5467

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AquaMan3640 said:
what soil did you use?
i picked it up at homedepot. i beleive it was mirical grow organic potting soil.. as least i think so. i dont have the bag anymore. i do have a a bag of non organic that is useless because i bought it on accident :p
 
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AquaMan3640

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Nickguy5467 said:
i picked it up at homedepot. i beleive it was mirical grow organic potting soil.. as least i think so. i dont have the bag anymore. i do have a a bag of non organic that is useless because i bought it on accident :p

How long ago did you put it in? Are your rooted plants still growing? Would you recommend it?
 
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Nickguy5467

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AquaMan3640 said:
How long ago did you put it in? Are your rooted plants still growing? Would you recommend it?
im definitely knew to plants. my sword sure grew alot. my dwarf sag started sprouting runners everything else ive kind of sucked at as i probably planted them wrong. monte carlo. java moss?(how the heck do you screw up java moss?) i dunno but i did it. as far as a time frame? i dont know couple weeks?
 
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Nickguy5467

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AquaMan3640 said:
How long ago did you put it in? Are your rooted plants still growing? Would you recommend it?
yellow is supposed to be brown but my camera makes things wierd. lots of algae im dealing with. but my sword got huge. the moss i cant really tell. dwarf sag might be growing better if i didnt move it from the center to try putting monte carlo there.(that failed) just been semi green patches but i did move those too. i dont know how to deal with tiny plants
 

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AquaMan3640

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Nickguy5467 said:
yellow is supposed to be brown but my camera makes things wierd. lots of algae im dealing with. but my sword got huge. the moss i cant really tell. dwarf sag might be growing better if i didnt move it from the center to try putting monte carlo there.(that failed) just been semi green patches but i did move those too. i dont know how to deal with tiny plants
Thanks for your input. I just can't decide if the eco complete is worth buying. If I end up using miracle grow I will cap it with black sand. But I want this tank to look really good, (its going in the living room of my college apartment), so if the ecocomplete/flourite is gonna help the plants grow more and be healthy. Im just torn on which way to go. I have darted tanks before and capped with pool sand, but nothing really grew super well in those conditions, except for a bulb plant. I want to plant Val, Swords, and dwarf sag in the new set up.
 
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Nickguy5467

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AquaMan3640 said:
Thanks for your input. I just can't decide if the eco complete is worth buying. If I end up using miracle grow I will cap it with black sand. But I want this tank to look really good, (its going in the living room of my college apartment), so if the ecocomplete/flourite is gonna help the plants grow more and be healthy. Im just torn on which way to go. I have darted tanks before and capped with pool sand, but nothing really grew super well in those conditions, except for a bulb plant. I want to plant Val, Swords, and dwarf sag in the new set up.
i almost went with eco complete but from what i can tell provides no nutrients and is inert. but beyond that i know nothing about it, and organic potting soil was reccommended t me the most
 
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AquaMan3640

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Think Im gonna return the sand and get two bags of eco complete. Then put gravel in the tank first, put oscomote tabs in the gravel where Im planning on planting things, and top with eco complete.
 
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