New to planting!!! Help on substrate decision!!!
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New to planting!!! Help on substrate decision!!!

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New to planting!!! Help on substrate decision!!!
Old 11-15-2008, 01:09 AM   #1
 
New to planting!!! Help on substrate decision!!!

Hi, I got another 55 gallon tank and wanted this tank to be a planted tank but was unsure about the substrate. I was wondering what type of substrates are cheap and would be qualified for a planted tank. I read all around about eco-complete but that's really expensive. I was also wondering about adding sand because I heard that it's a real pain siphoning the tank and if it would eventually settle below the first layer of gravel. I was going to be adding 2 bichirs to be in the tank. Plants I was going to be adding is:

Peacock ferns
Kyoto grass
Wisteria
Camboba
Wornhort
Amazon sword

Thanks for any suggestions and help!
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:48 AM   #2
 
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I have a heavily planted tank and use black sand as a substrate. I love it! Cleaning it is not a big deal. You just carefully hover the vacuum directly above the sand. During weekly water changes I also stir the sand around with my fingers (you can also use a stick, fork, etc) to prevent gas pockets from forming. When I do this finger stirring I avoid getting to close to the roots of the plants.

I did have to use some ecocomplete along the back of my tank. It's about an inch wide and runs half the length of tank. I had to add the ecocomplete because there are a row of "holes" along the back of the tank that expel water from the built in wet/dry filter. The water pressure was "blowing" the sand away. The pressure wasn't enough to move the ecocomplete and that's the only reason I used it.

I highly recommend sand!
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:57 PM   #3
 
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i use regular old gravel. to be honest its the couple dollar bag of pebbles from home depot rinsed real well. i use root tabs and liquid fertilzer. it doesnt look bad i just wish i went with a black sand or gravel and painted the background black. this will def. make your plants pop out, and even your fish esp. neon tetras.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:25 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
i use regular old gravel. to be honest its the couple dollar bag of pebbles from home depot rinsed real well. i use root tabs and liquid fertilzer. it doesnt look bad i just wish i went with a black sand or gravel and painted the background black. this will def. make your plants pop out, and even your fish esp. neon tetras.
Agree 100%. I went with the black background, black sand and the entire tank (fish & plants) pops. I'm really happy with it.
onefish2fish- You could always swap out the gravel for sand. I did that in my 6gal and it wasn't that bad of a "chore".
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
Kim
 
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I just have to add that if you do go with sand or pebbles from a non-fish (home depot, etc.) store, you will need to check to make sure that they are inert. I have play sand in my soon to be planted 29 gallon (rinse well if you choose to do this) and it was inert. Later I tried to use some gravel from home depot and when I tested it I found that it was not inert :( So, always test just to make sure. The price is definitely worth it though!

The best way to test is to put a drop of your nitrate test solution #1 bottle on the substrate in question. Vinegar is not really strong enough to be affective, and the nitrate test is made from hydrochloric acid so it is MUCH stronger.

I also have one tank with eco-complete which is doing well. As of now I have nothing to compare it to however.

Hope this helps. :)
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:59 AM   #6
 
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Small river run gravel, large grain sand, and others will work just fine. I would just look for something on the dark side because as already said, the plants really pop out with it and the fish seem happier with darker substrate.

Root tabs will do the work for and I HC is the only plant I have tried that would stay put and grow in gravel. And I have tried a lot of plants!
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:40 AM   #7
 
Just a note, the name kyoto grass is usually given to mondo grass and tahts a terrarium plant. It will dissolve in about 6 months and pollute ur tank.
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