View Full Version : Using old Flourite and adding substrate

07-01-2012, 06:18 PM
I posted a really too long "return to hobby" post on the general forums-- I repent!-- but now I have a specific (and hopefully more answerable!) question for you.

I am revamping an old 75 planted (details from previous post below). This weekend I did stage 1 of my overhaul: clean filter, replace impeller, gut the canopy and replace with 4x65 CF hood, do small water change, scrape front glass, and most importantly: remove gallons of pellia. Now that I can see in the tank, I am pleased to find all the mature crypts, anubias, and crinum still trucking along, not too the worse for wear after their neglect. But I can't get over or figure out how the substrate got so... thin. I need to add substrate (to a tank full of crypts, yes. :ohmy:)

So. I found a 5 gal bucket (sealed, with lid) about 1/2 to 2/3 full of Flourite substrate I must have rinsed for a project but not used back in the day. It must be 7-10 years old. Would you use it? I thought I could re-rinse it, carefully add it, and then cap with an inert smoother gravel. What do you think? I know this will be horribly cloudy, but I'm not sure if there's any other danger in it.

Also, if you have any tips for adding substrate to an established planted tank, I would love to hear them.

I love these forums and am so happy to have found them! I will really appreciate your advice!


I have recently returned to the area and am preparing to return to the hobby. I left the area (and basically the hobby too for want of decent options where I moved) in 2005, leaving my mother with a 75 planted that I had slowly converted from a high-tech, CO2, mod-high light tank to a lower maintenance, slow growth tank with mainly crypts, anubias, crinum, etc. Most of the fish are gone now, save for a lone mature SAE and two red-line rasboras... plus a bunch of japonica shrimp. Also, I made one big mistake before I left-- I left some pellia in there. (Remember pellia? I think it was a passing whim for the bored-of-java-moss-not-in-to-riccia crowd, but I'm not sure.)

So now the tank is in a state of overgrowth (the crypts are very happy under all the pellia though), under-change (as in, no water changes have been done on the tank in a long time), and fading light (hood, ballasts, etc dying slow death).

I would like to get this tank back in gear but still manageable for my mother. I would like to keep the existing lower-maintenance setup, eradicate the pellia, and keep all the existing plants... after all the crypts melt from water and light changes. I plan to keep the substrate and hardscaping, but I may need to add some substrate too.

I must replace the hood entirely. I was planning to get a 4x65 CF setup, but I am wondering if the tech and recommendations have changed in my absence and would love to hear about T5-- we weren't using those when I left. I'm a bit worried that 4x65 is too much for the present plan, too, but I need more than 2x65 and would really like one single clean-lined hood rather than a pile of striplights rounded up from the garage...

I am getting a new impeller and o-rings for the Eheim 2217 that is on it and hoping that's all I need. If not, I have a slew of other filters from other tanks that probably still run.

I would really love your advice on order of operations here. I have not yet tested the water but know it will still be soft and should be high in nitrate unless the prolific pellia and low fish load have outweighed the lack of water changes, clogged filter, and at least some plant die-off. I am worried that even moderate water changes with new lighting will melt the whole cryptscape, but I also want to get things habitable for new fish and plants in a timely fashion.

I was really a fan of planted biotopes and Amano-esque aquascapes when I was still up on my game. Now I am totally rusty and looking for a simple, plant-heavy, hardy fish return to the hobby. I tend toward a few species, large schools, mostly SE asia and tetras. I am open to ideas but am less concerned at this exact second about who the residents will be than getting the place ready for them again.

Also, what's a good but inexpensive test kit you recommend? I will be prowling the forums in the meantime!

What would you do, and how would you proceed?

07-01-2012, 09:47 PM
Flourite is inert, so 10 year old flourite should work just as well as new flourite. I would give it a quick rinse, soak it until it is waterlogged, and scoop it into a plastic cup. Slowly lower the cup into the water and pour the substrate slowly into place. There will still be some cloudiness, so you may want to proceed in stages. That's how I handled a similar situation, and it seemed to work okay (no fish deaths)