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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting ready to start makeing my fb,I will be putting down weed barrier,then some pea gravel maybe about 1.5''.Would peat moss be good to place on top/or potting soil then peat.
 

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There have been alot of these substrate questions asked just in the last week or so, so doing a quick search will get you several threads worth of info. However, in short, neither. I like using a layer of screening over the drainage layer, then a layer of long fiber sphagnum, then my substrate. I use either an ABG mix, or a clay/ABG hybrid. Again, for more info either search 'ABG mix' or 'clay substrate' and you'll have a good night's worth of reading.

Pat
 

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I wouldn't do either of those things. (Not directed at you Pat - you beat me to the post) :D

FB, screen, substrate, leaf litter (if you're going to keep PDFs).

A standard that seems to be very successful is ABG mix (Atlanta Botanical Gardens).

You can make your own fairly easily - but may have to source a few things online (i.e., tree fern). Or you can contact one of the sponsors of this board and purchase it premade.

Read the following thread about ABG mix and after you get a handle on what is going on with the ABG then do a search for posts (titles only) using the word 'substrate'. Tons and tons of info and options - but it seems that most folks use ABG or some variant of it.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63915-truth-about-abg-mix.html

- ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I looked at the ABG,only problem is it will cost quiet abit to cover my fb with 2'' or 3''.The area I am covering is 8' long x 2' wide tank with a small shallow pool.I am planning on keeping pdf's.
 

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you could search clay substrate in the search function. it may be less expensive. otherwise, your only choice is ABG whether you make it yourself or buy it premade.
 

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What are you planning on putting in the tank?

Keep in mind using a higher quality substrate will prevent problems down the road and will ultimately be less expensive than other 'cheap and quick' methods. I found the substrate to be the most expensive part of the build.

- ryan
 

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I compost my Own

Dry Leaves, Green Leaves, Grass Clippings, Plant trimmings, Raw Vegetables..

100% Natural..Loaded with Isopods, Springtails

Cost to Make...Time
 

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I compost my Own

Dry Leaves, Green Leaves, Grass Clippings, Plant trimmings, Raw Vegetables..

100% Natural..Loaded with Isopods, Springtails

Cost to Make...Time
I'm just curious, what keeps this from compacting? I always make sure I have some sort of charcoal/tree fern/clay or something mixed in that won't break down as to keep the substrate porous and drainable. Back on my first builds, years ago, when I used only peats, wood chips, and other organics, I found after a year or two everything compacted down, making the substrate stay constantly wet due to poor drainage.

Pat
 

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If you have a false bottom, I don't think you need the pea gravel...
 

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Another good, cheap substrate is Turface. You want the All Sport Pro grade, which gives you a particle the size of kitty litter. You can get it from a John Deere Landscape Supply. It is used as a baseball infield conditioner.
You can use it as a stand alone substrate, or to stretch your homemade, calcium based clay substrate or you ABG mix. Put down about an inch or so of Turface and then top it with an inch of Calcium based clay or ABG mix.
Ryan already posted my son's ABG link, thanks Ryan. Here is my clay substrate recipe. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html
We are currently running vivs with the following substrates.
1) My favorite. Our Calcium based Clay substrate on top of Turface.
2) Our second choice. ABG mix on top of Turface.
3) Third choice. Straight Turface.
4) Fourth. An experimental substrate that has been working pretty well so far. It is a 50/50 combination of charcoal (about 1/2" chunks) and coco chunks (about 1/2" chunks). We use a handful of ABG mix at each spot we put a plant.
With all of these substrate remember to cover them with 2" of leaf litter. You leave a bare spot for the Clay substrate but you will see the details of that when you read the thread.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have 100 lbs of turface that I used in my planted tank.I have it in a 120 that I am useing to grow out some emmersed plants to put in the viv.How thick would the ABG need to be for plants.
 

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About one inch of Turface topped by about one inch of ABG has always served me well.
 

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I'm just curious, what keeps this from compacting? I always make sure I have some sort of charcoal/tree fern/clay or something mixed in that won't break down as to keep the substrate porous and drainable. Back on my first builds, years ago, when I used only peats, wood chips, and other organics, I found after a year or two everything compacted down, making the substrate stay constantly wet due to poor drainage.

Pat
I have not had a problem with compaction in any of my Tanks..
I lightly Mist daily..
Plants root and Grow Good..
The Isopods, Springtails and Even earthworms help break down the Leaf litter and poop into new nutrients for the plant absorb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks rsain The biggest listed at joshsfrogs is 8 qt/ 2 gallon bag.Now to figure out how many bags.I am thinking atleast 15 2 gallon bags.
 

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You might think about an email to Josh - explaining your needs. Maybe he can put a big order together for you some how. I've had great experiences with them.

- ryan
 

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I use Turface completely in my tanks. I would avoid putting ABG on top simply because at some point that is going to become compacted and pretty nasty, and you're going to have to scrape it all out when it turns to sludge. I use Turface on a false bottom, covered with some shredded leaves and then a layer of whole leaves. Nutrients, organics, etc. follow water flow down through the substrate, and because of the high CEC of the Turface, it's going to bind some of those organics to later become available to the plants (if you keep planted aquatic tanks, you're familiar with this concept). This way you just have to keep adding to the leaf litter as it gets broken down by microfauna, and the substrate system will last pretty much indefinitely.

And $13-15 for a 50 lb. bag? Hard to beat the price.
 
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