Plants and gravel
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Plants and gravel

This is a discussion on Plants and gravel within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Do aquarium plants grow okay in just regular gravel like this: Dorset Pea Shingle, Online Aquarium Store I currently have Eco-complete and I really ...

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Old 06-04-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
 
Plants and gravel

Do aquarium plants grow okay in just regular gravel like this:

Dorset Pea Shingle, Online Aquarium Store

I currently have Eco-complete and I really don't like it. I am thinking ahead for when I get my 20 gallon.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:30 PM   #2
 
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yes regular gravel should be fine as long as you let them root before adding fish
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:32 PM   #3
 
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It's possible but not recommended. Pea gravel is larger-grain gravel and plants have more trouble rooting in it. Of course, this depends upon what plants you have/want; non-root plants won't care (Java Fern, moss, Annubias...). But the other problem is that the larger the grain the more likely food will get caught and not eaten or removed. There is also the question of fish--bottom dwellers that like to root in sand (corys, loaches, some other catfish) will not do as well in larger gravel--aside from the sharpness (if any) of the grains it is the size. All of this should be considered before choosing any substrate.

I use, and have for 15+ years used, regular aquarium gravel, the smallest size available; I have "natural" in my 70g and darker in my 90g [you can check the photos of my Aquariums to see what it looks like]. All plant authorities I have so far read recommend this grain size for planted tanks. The grain size is about the same as Eco-complete, at least the Eco-complete I saw in one lfs (never used this myself). Sand is another alternative, but there are some things to watch out for with sand that I won't go into.

Why would you want to get rid of Eco-complete? Although I've never used it, I've seen it and it looks nice for a substrate, and others on here highly recommend it for planted tanks, as do many aquatic plant specialists. Is it just the dark colour you don't like? Most plant enthusiasts think that is a benefit of Eco-complete, along with the nutrient value.
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #4
 
I do like the color of it, it just kicks up a lot of material everytime I do something with the tank. And the gravel you have in your tanks is exactly what I want to use for my next tank. (Sorry if my link wasn't exactly what I had in mind). Anyway, your tanks are beautiful; I still haven't got the "hang" of planted aquariums yet!
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by AmyK View Post
I do like the color of it, it just kicks up a lot of material everytime I do something with the tank. And the gravel you have in your tanks is exactly what I want to use for my next tank. (Sorry if my link wasn't exactly what I had in mind). Anyway, your tanks are beautiful; I still haven't got the "hang" of planted aquariums yet!
Thanks Amy. You should be able to find the natural gravel (brown/buff coloured one) at most fish stores; the darker gravel in the 90g I found at one store years ago but have not seen anywhere since. I buy gravel in bulk as it is always cheaper than the commercial plastic bags, and the larger aquarium stores usually carry bulk gravel. Just make sure it is the smallest-grain size and it will be the one. Back in the 1980's my lfs got in some "sand" gravel that was real gravel but the grains were very small to the point of being sand; it was great stuff, I set up a 25g SE Asian tank with loaches and chocolate gouramis, and it looked terrific. Ubnfortunately I haven't seen it since.

I think I got two 50-pound bags of natural gravel when I last set up a tank, my 70g. Some people suggest keeping a thin layer of Eco under the gravel. One caution on this though, they will (I assume) mix over time, but with enough gravel it may not make much of a mess. I like to have at least 3-4 inches minimum (at the front), and deeper towards the back and for terraces, etc.

Planted tanks are not difficult. You need full spectrum light and liquid fertilizer (amount depends upon the plants and conditions, I currently dose twice a week). I have never used CO2, and I have minimum light at 1 watt per gallon (two 40w full spectrum tubes over each tank). That's it. Rooted plants (swords, crypts) do well in this setup, stem (bunch) plants not so good [insufficient light, and more light would mean CO2 to balance] except for the Brazilian Pennywort in the 90g that grows like a weed.

Good luck, and keep us posted on progress.

Byron.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:13 AM   #6
 
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My plants are holding there own in a little bit bigger gravel. (pics under my aquarium)

They have only been in there about a week, but they don't seem to be dieing etc. And long ago, I had plants in the same tank as well. I'm just waiting to see some growth out of mine.. thinking of doing a CO2 injection
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:48 AM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Arkamaic View Post
My plants are holding there own in a little bit bigger gravel. (pics under my aquarium)

They have only been in there about a week, but they don't seem to be dieing etc. And long ago, I had plants in the same tank as well. I'm just waiting to see some growth out of mine.. thinking of doing a CO2 injection
Nice setup, those plants should do OK and fill the tank in (esp the stem plants whose name I've forgotten). As I mentioned preivously, it depends upon the plants. Swords and crypts have very extensive root systems and would do better in smaller-grain gravel; at least that is what the experts all say, even prefering it to sand--and we all know that many grow nice plants in sand. I've had excellent success with the gravel. There are many options...

Personally I wouldn't waste the money and effort on CO2 unless the stem plant deteriorates; that would probably be due to not enough light, and more light sometimes means CO2 is necessary to balance. But I would let it go a while and experiment. I can't grow cabomba in my aquaria as the light is too little (1 watt per gallon) and I would need CO2 to balance if I increased it to 4 watts. But my swords, crypts and even Brizilian Pennywort (a stem plant) grow fine.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:08 PM   #8
 
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I like black sand. Black sand has Iron in it and is good for the plants. Here is a web site that has all colors of sand. AquariumSands.com and the shipping is free and the prices are good. Black sand with a black back ground looks nice in the tank because the plants show up nice and certain fish like neons, glow-light tetras show up well.
I have a planted tank and I just have the basic lighting and no C02, or ferilizers. So my tank is a low light . These are the plants that I have that do well in low light:
Westeria
Hornwort
Willow Leaf Hygro
Guppy grass
Any Java fern
Java moss
Cryptocoryne Wendi Red
Anubias do really well in low light
I got some on these from someone selling under( Plants Galore) in Aquarium Classifields in this Forum. You can try AquaBid.com - Sell or buy aquarium related equipment and fish in an auction format! under plants

Last edited by eileen; 06-06-2009 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:54 PM   #9
 
planted aquarium

I am wanting to start a planted aquairuim for my freshwater angelfish to be happy in. Alot of places I have looked say the only thing that works for the substrate is things such as eco complete or shultz aquatic soil. With these product i hear alot about the water parameters fluctuating and i am worried about that issue. This is the first set up ive seen using basic aquarium gravel and looks just as wonderful as the expesive planted substrates.

How long do you have the full spectrum lights on for each day?
Is it alright to use the basic colored gravels( i have green)?
I also have two small tanks with one being larger gravel size and the other being small. it seems you need the smaller to be successful so would it work if i did half large and half small gravel?
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:42 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by abunari View Post
I am wanting to start a planted aquairuim for my freshwater angelfish to be happy in. Alot of places I have looked say the only thing that works for the substrate is things such as eco complete or shultz aquatic soil. With these product i hear alot about the water parameters fluctuating and i am worried about that issue. This is the first set up ive seen using basic aquarium gravel and looks just as wonderful as the expesive planted substrates.

How long do you have the full spectrum lights on for each day?
Is it alright to use the basic colored gravels( i have green)?
I also have two small tanks with one being larger gravel size and the other being small. it seems you need the smaller to be successful so would it work if i did half large and half small gravel?
Hi abunari,

Before I respond, were you addressing these questions to me about my aquaria? Don't want to jump in ahead of someone. Byron.
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