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Re: cheap substrates?
Michael Gerhardt asked: >Where can I get a cheap substrate for planted
If you like gravel and are near any sand and gravel pits or landscape
outfits that deal with sand and gravel, then you might ask them about
"squeegee". This is the small gravel that is too large to be classified as
sand and too small to be called pea gravel. It is a mix of variable size
grains between the two. Different vendors may have somewhat different colors
of this material and you may have to shop around. It's not very expensive
though; I paid $2.71 for 300 lbs.
Another alternative is a product called Turface made by Profile. This is the
stuff they use on ball fields. I have been using it for several years. It is
available in the original color and, I think, in a gray color. Some good
-It has good cation exchange capacity (CEC)
_It is a uniform size and although the grains are angular and appear
sharp, they do not harm the barbels of Corydoras catfish or other bottom
-It is very light and allows good root penetration.
-It may cloud the water a bit (I don't rinse it) but I find that this
clears easily within a few hours.
-It's relatively inexpensive. I paid $7.39 for a 50 lb. bag. This is
enough for a 18" x 48" base.
Some bad points:
-Because it is very light it is easy to mistakenly uproot small plants
with shallow roots.
-It leeches a fair amount of phosphate into the water according to my
tests. Probably a good idea to use some fast growing plants.
-The color is uniform; a matter of taste.
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