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Substrate Help!

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Grimreaperz, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    Okay I'm sure this has been asked a million times and forgive my newbieness...i live in Canada and have been having a hard time finding Black or Dark substrate for my plants to be planted on... (then use white sand for my decrotive portion) this will be my first tank and I have been doing Saltwater for over a year now and figure it shouldn't be far off. I want to let my inner artist fly and really want to do it how I am envisioning it...also if I chose an inert substrate what type of fertilizers should I be looking to place in the Substrate?

    My vision includes plants on dark substrate and then flourish original as the underlay to create hill's etc.

    Any advice on soil or sand I could use instead of this 40$ a bag stuff would be awesome and in BC we don't have access to a lot of the top name brands Europe does like Scapers sand or ADA. And if we can get it it's ridiculously priced.
     

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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    Welcome to ASW
    Here is a list of ADA suppliers in Canada there might be a supplier in your area.
    http://www.adana.co.jp/en/contents/distributors/country/id_137.html
    Contact them to see what they have and the costs.

    White sand can be a problem in Aquariums as its extremely difficult to keep clean and white.

    My suggestion would be can you do a few sketches of what you are thinking about for the Aquascape, then work from there.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  3. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    Yeah I have done my sketches and have my vision but it does involve a sandfall/path with a planted forest scene. Possible Asian inspired. I am making a small 3d background to hide the sand fall compentents and then hoping to go from cliff leading into a forest edge...with the sand paths mimicking water i have saltwater right now so I am not lazy when it comes to maintenance and I will be dry starting and using the waste water from my RODI (essentially RO) that I use to top off my SW reef tank. So I shouldn't have any water peramter issues from tap water or anything.

    Thanks for the ADA Supplier link! And the welcome I haven't been this excited since I started saltwater
     
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  4. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    Are you referring to an artificial water fall of actual sand falling?

    Any chances of posting photos of your marine tank and the sketches you have done.
    Are you going to make up a Mock tank first to see how every thing looks and get it perfect before you start working in the actual tank?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  5. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi and welcome. :D

    So I see your starting of with something easy, also your choosing an inert substrate to make it easier still. Also you plan to use RO water so if you do plan to use CO2 it will make it easier again. :whistle:

    The first one is doable OFC but using a good substrate irrelevant of its cost will make it a massively easier and cheaper in the long term, also using RO water if you plan to use CO2 means you will have to remineralise the RO water otherwise getting the CO2 levels will be hard. If you plan to have certain fish or shrimp then to use RO water then remineralize it is the only way to go. If not planning any of these inmates better to use water straight from the tap if its suitable.

    What size tank you planning and which route as high/hybrid/low tech, this will help users/moderators of the forum
     
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  6. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    There's a pic of my reef tank and Sump/Fuge....not the best setup. But as money is running a bit tighter these days figured I would let things grow out while I distract myself with the setup I just got.

    Yes my goals are to have a underwater waterfall aka Sandfall. Which will be in a 3D background.

    I have chosen HC as my Foreground plant as i love the looks of it once it's grown out I will be dry starting it so whole I'm doing that I will be deciding on my background plants and plants to make my underwater Trees with....still in the research phase. The place I buy my salt is actually one of the ADA retailers so that excites me!!!

    I have included a very rough sketch of my vision (be nice)

    My setup will be as follows.

    29g Standard
    AC70
    Heater
    LED hood or I can use the 4 24inch T5HO ballasts
    C02 will probably be a DIY thing while I save up for a real one.

    I can most definilty use my tap water o figure conditioner is less expensive then mineral dosing. And my TDS from my tap water is about 55-60 so I'm not to worried we have some of the cleanest water in the world minus the chlorine they just added last year :(

    I'm thinking of using Monte Carlo to make the foliage of the trees but I am definitely up to suggestions on which plants to use for this and background! Would love a splash of red but not necessary![​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  7. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Not an easy plant would benefit from CO2, AS, good light, decent filter

    Either as long as its output is good enough, the T5 route would be cheaper but some good LED hoods available

    DIY route is tricky and not reliable. Money better spent on a decent CO2 cylinder system long term - second hand will do - I picked up a whole 10G tank lights plants CO2 cylinder 6.5Kg and duel stage regulator for £100

    has decent flow max of 300G/H so good for x10 rule for tank size to filter turnover rate. But HOB not ideal for CO2 injected tanks as more CO2 loss, would be better off with a canister filter then the inlet /outlets you have more freedom in chioces lily pipes, spray bars, skimmers etc
     
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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    To clear the water fall details up is this what you are referring to by using sand to imitate water or is it one without the use of sand but looks like a water fall?

    upload_2017-7-31_11-6-15.jpeg

    If that is the case I would certainly go low tech and learn as much as you can about the High Tech system which can be expensive when you start buying the quality equipment which is lot easier to maintain and far less concerns.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  9. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    Exactly what I am referring too!
    What would you choose for LT plant for foreground? That looks similar to HC, Monte Carlo?
     
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    Plants first which way are you going High Tech or Low Tech and, your choice of substrate.

    Its your tank in your home and as long as you are happy that is the main thing. Many Aquascapers consider sand water falls as gimmicky and not actually Aquascaping. There are other ways of making a water fall which look very effective I have seen a few done at a very high level of Aquascaping over the years.

    Some thing for you to think about.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    monte carlo is your best bet. Be sure to have enough light to grow it in a low tech. Most people make the mistake of having too little light when trying to grow it without CO2. It is tricky to find the sweet spot
     
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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  13. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    Awesome thanks so much guys....as far as the Sandfalls being gimmicky I can definitely see the elitists thinking that for sure as it's not "Natural" but I have spent probably 14 hours over the past 3 days perfecting my 3D background to house my Sandfall so it's definitely not easy by anymeans. (Here are some pics of the progression lol.)

    I'm going to stick to low tech plants for now as I play around as I am so new to the "Planted Aquascaping" but the background has to cure for 4-5 weeks before I can use it so I have time to research some plants while that's happening. I really appreciate all the help and advice. I most definitely have sufficient lighting just need to know which to use. I got the 29g topfin setup that came with AN LED hood or I have 4x 24inch T5HO ballasts with 6400k's but will probably be switching the bulbs if I go the t5 route.

    (Pics below are first attempt at Background = fail as I didn't fit my pipe first lmao!!)[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  14. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    These are the final try and results so far...need some tweaks but overall I'm happy with it. Can't wait to test.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    As you have 4-5 weeks to play with lets put it to a very good use. First by making a mock tank. For the background make another one but this time not much detail and certainly not coloured.
    Here are a few Mock tanks put to a very good use.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once you have the Mock Tank then worked out the hardscape its a lot easier to plan your planting.

    The substrate can be common sand its cheap and easy to work with.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  16. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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  17. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    @keithgh I love this idea. I am a bit strapped for space though to place a mock tank up at the moment I was thinking of drawing most of my work before hitting the hardscape and giving it a week or so to perfect it before filling or planting....wishing I kept the box it came in now. That would have been a good mock tank. I'm definitely in no rush this is jist a fun project to distract me from saltwater for a while. And I am having lots of fun so far learning and going through the ropes.

    Thanks for the list i will take a look right now!
     
  18. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    The major problem with sketching its in one dimension. You have a good idea of what you are thinking but we cannot see that. This is just another learning process. With a Mock Tank we can see the depth (front to back) the over all shape of the Substrate. Even with the basic Photo Shop the hardscape can be moved around its a big help when planting as you can see the actual spaces you have for the plants. Even with a Mock Tank it is not done over night.

    Please think about it.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  19. Grimreaperz

    Grimreaperz New Member

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    So I have done all my hard scape the substrate may be moves around a bit but the rocks are staying and my background is siliconed in place. I may add 2-3 branches to the right side to make some trees but only if I find the right pieces while my background is curing. Hope this helps a bit more. I will be using Monte Carlo for the ground and want some type of fuzzy moss for the background and rocks. And some decent looking background plants that are tall and low tech but still beautiful reds would be a bonus

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Grimreaperz

    We all know having Aquariums are not cheap but "money Carlo" plants. (I have edited it for you)

    I like the over all rock placement, there are only two minor moves I would make. First the long front rock I would move it more to the left. The second being the small rock front RH end as it is not required in that grouping.

    Am I missing something is this the sand water fall as it looks totally different to the earlier photo posts.

    With the substrate the front levels are very distracting. Can you either make it level or a slope from one end to the other. If you try both you will see which looks the best.

    Are you going to have a backing to hide all the bits and pieces at the back of the tank?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     

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