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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What substrate would you recommend for a planted tank that may have to be decommissioned and set back up every now and again?

At the moment it will be a place for me to grow out a few CPD fry, but eventually, my plan is to make it into an apisto breeding tank. I'd like the substrate to have the following properties:

1) fine particle size
2) dark color
3) will survive reasonably intact if I need to bag it, store it, and set it back up later a few times
4) facilitates plant rooting / nutrition

Should I just go for CaribSea Tahitian Moon Sand for durability reasons, or would something like Flourite Black Sand work well? I'd like one of the stable, fracted-clay substrates for CEC (I'll dose dry ferts, so not overly concerned with starting nutrients in the soil), but not if they'll break down over time. I have a tank with old Aquasoil in it, and much of the substrate has become silt, so I'd like to stay clear of Aquasoil-like substrates in this tank. Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I saw that at Aquariums West the other day--looks great, but I'm concerned that it'll suffer the same sort of break-down as Aquasoil if I need to pull it out of the tank, store it, and set it up again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gotcha. Thanks. That does have the advantage of being much cheaper than the other options, but does it come in dark colors? My understanding is that it's mostly quartz-based and light in color. I'd like to help my fish feel they have a dim, safe environment while still providing enough light for my plants, and figured dark substrate was a good way to achieve that.
 

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My PFS is off white, almost beige in colour but I have seen them in a darker brown in the bag. Probably even darker once wet. It was sold at the pool and patio place in the same plaza as J&L Aquatics. I can't remember the name of that store...
 

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Go to Lordco or Napa and pick up some oil absorbing clay. Super cheap. Comes in different colours depending in which brand. I've had it in my planted tanks for several years and it holds up great. Can check out the pics in my profile. Much better than the ripoff gouging of the "official" stuff. Put some earthworm castings as a thin layer at the very bottom for slow release fertilizer for the plant roots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great idea! If your A. Ortegai are happy, and your plants are happy, that's good enough for me (nice apistos by the way). Do you remember offhand which brand was darker colored?
 

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So this brand (I think it was from Lordco) is a light beige-sand color. The tank pictures are when I first set them up. They look much better now. But it gives you an idea what the media looks like when it's wet.
IMG_20131230_072909.jpg
tank1_20140201.jpg

The NAPA brand is more or a light-brown, reddish color.
IMG_20131230_072822.jpg
tank3_20140201.jpg
 
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