Substrate choices

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Ahmed1477, 30 Jun 2011.

  1. Ahmed1477

    Ahmed1477

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    Hi. I am in the process of setting up a new tank 1500x500x750 and wanted to know what you guys recommend as a substrate?

    At the moment I am considering either Aqua Medic aragonite or Carib Sea Special Grade, your thoughts?
     
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  3. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    yes if you can affrod it, otherwise playsand
     
  4. crispin

    crispin

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    i personally like aragonite and will ue it whenever i can. but more important realy is the grain ize (particle size) that you want. Try get something thats 'sugar fine' 1-2mm in size or thereabouts. With aragonite that size it tends to be heavey enough not to get blown around too much by powerheads and is a great environment for micro criitters to live in, or fish such as wrasses to sleep in.

    note also that you dont want things like crushed shells, or crushed coral as these tend to be large in diameter and sharp on the edges. this traps detrirus and makes having pristine water quality harder and the sharp edges are detrimental to a number of things that use the substrate to live in, sleep in or feed out of.

    also Id suggest trying to get a 5-7cm layer of substrate throughout (on average as some areas will form mounds, some will get blown away by currents and some cleared out by fish, shrimps or crabs) and add water first and substrate second. that way as the substrate falls through your water collumn it releases all the air, but if you add water to dry sand you will get lots of air trapped which is bad.

    hope that helps a little
     
  5. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Aqua Medic do not have aragonite. They have a high grade calcium carbonate. I have used it for many years with success. However it does clump with time if used as a DSD substrate.

    Carab Sea is aragonite and does not clump as easily. Only used in the last few years but also with good results.
     
  6. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Agreed, also it is quite big/coarse and I prefer a much finer sandier substrate especially for the worms and other micro-organisms that will inhabit the sand. The choice is ultimately yours, but in my opinion the grain size is a bit too big for my personal preference when used as a substrate.
    Agreed again, I've witnessed this first hand, like big solid clumps of concrete from Aquamedic "aragonite", I've got a couple of pics of it somewhere.
     
  7. pXius

    pXius

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    I'm using playsand. :D R120 for 60KG's of the stuff.

    Like the natural beach look, if you get it, even if the pack says washed, wash it again, its dirty as hell found out the hard way.
     
  8. Ahmed1477

    Ahmed1477 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for all the tips guys. So I guess it will either be the Carib Sea special grade aragonite or perhaps playsand. Is the grain size of the two the same?
     
  9. Ross

    Ross

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    I have been using playsand and I hate it, I mean really hate it. My water column is never perfectly clear as it always has fine sand particles in it. I know that is no scientific reason but just something to think about.

    Currently I have removed 2/3 of it and when my tank as settled will start to replace with arganite of some type but a slightly larger grain. I just hope it is heavier in the long run.
     
  10. DarrenT

    DarrenT

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    Aragonite is really good, but it actually starts to disolve in a way, and you will have to keep topping up with it every so often. You get some nice size crushed coral that im using in my tank it's close to sugar fine. The reason i like using crushed coral is because it is able to stabilize your pH unlike playsand where you will have to add triple buffer, playsand doesn't have the same benefits. But i guess it's what you prefer.
     
  11. williet

    williet Look at the shiny LEDs!!!

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    Go caribsea black aragonite. It brings out the colours of eveything!!!!!
     
  12. durleo

    durleo

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    It will only dissolve under a very low PH like in a deep sand bed - I find that if you get cyno bacteria then the little clumps float away into the overflow with some aragonite :blush: - The caribsea is a great aragonite - dont go with sugar fine if you gonna have strong pumps cause it will get blown around !
     
  13. Ahmed1477

    Ahmed1477 Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys. Did some more reading and think that I am going to go with the CaribSea aragonite. Don't think that I will go with black aragonite as the back of the tank is painted black, will just make everything look to dark I think if the base is black as well.
     
  14. rakabos

    rakabos

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    For the life of me i dont know why people use playsand as substrate, it just blows all over the place.

    I use the finer type of crushed coral. Half the price of aragonite and it looks awesome in pure white form. Sand sifting goby has no problem with it at all
     
  15. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    I say go for caribsea special grade. I have sugar fine and It does tend to blow around. Play sand is non the better, I added a little lump of play sand and it also got blown away. I have brought the flow pumps high up and now the aragonite stopped blowing everywhere but Im still going to get a big bag of special grade. The guys who used it said its really nice and doesnt blow around as much as sugar fine. The particle size is just a little bigger than sugar fine :)
     
  16. Johan van Aardt

    Johan van Aardt I love marines [R.I.P.]

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    I use crushed coral, there honestly is nothing to me that beats it. It stays white, and is fine, but heavy, but niot as heavy as aragonite.
     
  17. Ross

    Ross

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    Agree!!!!!
     
  18. SteveZi

    SteveZi

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    I was wondering if anybody has ever tried to use different substrates( particle size, etc) for different zones in the same tank ?
     
  19. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    Yes I tried. I had a patch of play sand to see if it would blow away.. and it did.. but what generally happens is that the finer substrate will be on the bottom and the courser one will end up on top
     
    Last edited: 1 Jul 2011
  20. SteveZi

    SteveZi

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    Yes, I also thought that would happen.
    I was thinking about dividing the bottom of the tank into 3 different sections ( maybe use some kind of plastic barrier) and filling each section with different substrate.
    The smallest particles, like sugarsand aragonite, should be placed in the area of least flow( think this will be tricky).
    But I don’t know if it would ever be possible to stop the different substrates from overlapping and mixing too much.

    If it was possible, it may create a better environment for more diverse life I think.

     
  21. Ahmed1477

    Ahmed1477 Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys, definitely going with the special grade. Also any of you guys know where I can get polystyrene for the tank, looking for 1500x500
     
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