Lets talk substrate

Discussion in 'Plant Problems' started by GDJ, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Yes they are quite clean cut ;-)

    If you put your own substrate together I think you can do it for a lot less money and get the same; if not better results. (Just look at Richards tank.)
    So far if you add it all up it looks like I am putting together a substrate for a 1.2m tank for less than R100!!!
     
  2. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Well OK that's if you exclude the 4t of laterite ;-)

    Anybody know where I can sell 3.99tons of Laterite?
     
  3. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    I will take about 20kg's of your 3.99tons, the rest we can sell to the next 10 generations of APSA members...
     
  4. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    How much is the 4 tons of laterite? :icon_bigsmurf:
     
  5. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Dunno, nobody's answering the phone at this time of day, will find out tomorrow.
    Hope they can deliver before Friday.
     
  6. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    no prices on their site, thats the smallest truck size they have for deliveries, you could probably take a bakkie or trailer and get it in smaller loads...
     
  7. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm guessing more than what Santa earns....

    Definitely worth investigating...
     
  8. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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  9. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    What would be a good substrate if you don't want to spend R800 on laterite? I've put normal compost under my gravel with a sand layer in between in a small tank,and the plants seem to be going nuts.. Just have a lot of tanins staining the water, which is not always desirable... Anything not that expensive to mix with the compost with the same effect on plants as laterite/flourite?
     
  10. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Hotdog83: I can vouch for the volcanic rock dust. Works a treat and on the packaging they recomend you use it with compost. I am not sure about the iron content so you might want stick iron nail or two into your current substrate.
    I am hoping that in time we will have a thread where anybody can learn how to mix their own substrate using components thats readily available. So far it looks like the substrate for my 1.2m tank will be coming in below R100.
    Lets face it the biggest problem with most commercial substrates is finding a place that sells it.

    Edit: Oh yes the Volcanic rock dust, a little bit goes a very long way. I used about a quarter cup of it as an additive to the substrate in my 90cm tank.
     
  11. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Hotdog: one more question do you have problems with nitrate spikes?
     
  12. vic+andrea
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    vic+andrea Algae harvester

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    If you could find a red clay tipe of soil that has almost no roots or plant matter in it... Would that be a good thing to add under the substrait? I am asking because up here is red clay country and I can get loads of it! Just wondering!
     
  13. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    i tried using little balls of red clay soil around the bottom of some stems to stop some green foxtail from floating, it didnt stop the foxtail floating, and now whenever i disturb those areas, i have pink milky water for a day :(

    so i would be careful using it, it probably has a very high iron content though...

    nice concise article about different substrates:

    http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_substrate.htm
     
  14. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    V&A if you use it as a bottom layer to your substrate it could just work, I used red clay I found next the road on the way to Darling in my previous setup, just cap it off with a layer of sand and all should be well.
    Thing is you would have to drain your tank and redo the substrate.
     
  15. hotdog83
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    hotdog83 Algae harvester

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    Thanks GDJ... And you can get the volcanic dust at a nursery? Don't know about the nitrates, don't test it, but the 2 mollies in there seem really happy.. Also no algae in the 3 weeks it has been running. It's a small 25l hexagonal tank with a 11w cfl lighting it..
     
  16. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Hotdog83: there's picture of it on the previous page I think. I got Mine from Stodels but most places should be able to get it for you. Works a treat for just about any plant.
     
  17. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    I got some Laterite yipeeeeeee

    [​IMG]

    So tomorrow is D-Day, will post more pics then.
     
  18. Silikube
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    Silikube Moderator Staff Member

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    Lucky $@#!&, please do take pics of the setup process! :thumb:
     
  19. dougbb
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    dougbb Algae harvester

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    Where on earth did u find the laterite? i spoke to some geology people when i coudnt find any in jhb stores and they told me i can find it on some mountain/hill peak caps near pietermaritzburg.....hence i still dont have any and used normal gravel instead...alas i dont have a planted tank....yet!
     
  20. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Dougbb: I got some from a friend of mine. It seems I was very lucky to get hold of some.

    There's a description of the ingredients used on the first page. This is how I put it together:

    First I removed all the fish and most of the plants.
    Then drained the tank:

    [​IMG]

    Once drained I scooped the old substrate out and gave the tank a good clean on the inside.
    Then I put down a 2 to 2.5cm layer of the Rose and Shrub mix slightly sloped towards the back. (about half a 30dm bag)
    I decided on using this particular kind of Rose & Shrub mix because it contains very little organic material. I did however find a couple of pieces of wood etc. and I removed it.

    [​IMG]

    Next came the laterite.
    I covered the rose and shrub mix with a half cm layer of laterite.

    [​IMG]

    Then last but not the least the volcanic rock dust, again just about half a cm thick. I then used my fingers as a "rake" and lightly mixed the two top layers with the top paert of the rose and shrub mix. the results in the pic below.

    [​IMG]

    I then capped the whole lot off with a 2 to 3cm layer of white river sand. (Used about 3/4 of a 30dm bag.)
    And started the planting process. Now everybody has their own way of planting a tank, this is mine.
    I start off by planting the onion plants in the back and the big swords I also add the wood once the initial planting is done to get a "Dry Scape" and also to see if what I planned on paper works in the tank. (I added small nails with the swords and under all the crypts I planted.)

    [​IMG]

    Then it's time to fill up the tank and as the tank fills up I add the smaller and more sensitive plants and tie the Java fren to some wood etc.
    The end result:

    [​IMG]

    edit: Better Pic of the end result
     

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