Originally Posted by TrashmanNYC
this tank will be for a pair of Kribensis and a school of cherry barbs........i wont be doing any live plants as of yet.......and i will just be using some rocks for caves...........
Barbs do not need any substrate and nothing specific in the tank except maybe a fake plant or two.
Kribs if I remember right don't need much specific either accept for a cave but I would not know for sure. I would have to research their specific needs.
All you need to do is make a tnak they can be happy in. For me that means to provide for them and what they will feel comfortable with. I am currently setting up a 10 gallon for Kuhlii loaches and Rasboras/Danios.
The Kuhliis need smallish gravel or sand to burrow into. I wanted to get large gravel so I would have a better chance that the rasboras eggs and fry would survive. So I got small gravel and will likely figure out some way to set up a small seciton with sand so the Kuhliis can play in it. I will also be putting a large number of plants in the tank to try and protect the fry and eggs instead of large gravel.
If the kribs don't need a substrate but needs caves, then give them caves. If they need sandy substrate and caves, then give them sandy sections with a cave. BN plecos only need caves so when I set up for them again I will likely not even put in a substrate as they uproot any plant anyway.
Make a home for your fish, if this means using some enginuity to create small areas for each type of fish then go for it. There is nothing that is set in stone saying you have to have a certain amount of substrate short of what your fish need and what your plants need. Other than that we can do anything we want.