Substrate question. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-26-2010, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate question.

Ok so I finished all the piping for the sump and we are leak free and water added and pumps are going. Time for substrate, just wanted to see what people liked most.

FYI, Petco has a %20 sale right now on all their items and eco-complete is $14. and change. With free shipping on $50 or more. I'm going to need I take it 10 bags or so.

With that said, I have a few fish tanks with flourite right now in them and I wanted something different for this display tank. It's going to be planted and just have discus and juliee cory with rummy nose. It's 155 gallon custom.

Basically, I want to put either Flourite Black, Flourite Black Sand, or Eco-complete. I'm not worried about ph rising or cleaning mud out of substrate.

My main concerns are gas pockets, root holding correctly, plants that shoot out runners, foreground plant root holding.

I got till tomorrow for that sale at petco.


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post #2 of 4 Old 05-26-2010, 10:51 PM
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Any of those substrates are options, but personally, I prefer just plain natural gravel. In discus tanks and the plants that tend to thrive in those conditions, I have found that fine grade gravel works very well, provided it is vac'd regularly. Sands tend to trap the gas pockets you are worried about, and it can also be difficult to keep it out of the filter, which will quickly ruin any type of filter or power head. Because of the density of sand, some plants struggle with root systems, both in feeding and in shooting runners. The more dense the substrate the more likely you are to have an issue for that and the gas pockets.

Fine grade gravel is a lot less dense than sand but offers a similar appearance.

Hope that helps.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-27-2010, 12:24 PM
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Anyone who has read my vasrious comments on substrate in other threads will know that I agree that gravel is the best choice. I have used regular aquarium gravel, the smallest grain size (about 1-2 mm) for 20 years and have what I consider to be healthy planted aquaria; you can check out my photos for proof.

With the exception of authorities like Diana Walstad who use soil under a layer of gravel, the planted tank writers I have read all recommend small-grain gravel as the best substrate in a planted tank, and their reasons are as Dawn mentioned. There is a very complex process going on in the substrate, and good water circulation through the substrate is critical to ensure the various aerobic bacteria that break down organics into nutrients can function and provide the essential nutrients to the plant's roots.


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 05-27-2010, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Ok well I went with the eco-complete that was on sale. I'll let you know how everything goes, and thanks for the replies.
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