Substrate? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-23-2013, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate?

I am getting a 55 gallon tank soon and I want it to be ligtly planted. I am confused about the substrate stuff. Does my entire bottom have to have substrate or can I have mostly gravel and just have substrate where I will put the plants to grow?
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-23-2013, 08:41 PM
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It will spread out if you try to pile it. I'd suggest sand over gravel as it is easier to keep clean and looks more natural.

Jeff


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 11:48 AM
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Sounds from post #1 like there may be a confusion over terms. Substrate is the material on the floor of the tank, be it sand, gravel, dirt, mixes of peat, etc. The plants grow in the substrate, and a host of important bacteria colonize it.

To grow plants you do not need any special substrate. Particle size can make a difference, if it is too large. But otherwise, almost any substrate will work.

I have used various gravels over the years, and sand, and an enriched substrate (one specially made for plants). The latter was not worth the money in my view. Sand works fine, I use play sand as it replicates the sand in Amazon streams. I have fine gravel in one tank, but the rest are now play sand.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truman View Post
I am getting a 55 gallon tank soon and I want it to be ligtly planted. I am confused about the substrate stuff. Does my entire bottom have to have substrate or can I have mostly gravel and just have substrate where I will put the plants to grow?
I guess that's what happens when I use my phone to read and respond...

Byron is right, substrate is just the sand/gravel etc that is on the bottom no matter what it may consist of. If you mean some sort of enriched dirt, it is not needed. If you try to put one type in one area and another elsewhere, it will end up mostly mixed up anyway so it's easier to just use one type for everything, and sand does a great job overall. Gravel works but it requires more work to keep clean.

Jeff.
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Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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