i got a question about my substrate. would it be harmful if i bought some flourite or something of the like to mix in with my existing substrate to promote healthy plant growth? i know there are many different types of plant substrate but it seems the flourite might be a good one. what do you think?
as long as it doesnt effect your ph should be fine pretty sure there are others on here that have mixied it with some sort of ratio.
May be easier for you to get root tablets sounds like your tank is already set up and going & stocked. Poring it in now will surly create a mess in your tank for a lil while and just seems to me adding root tablets that you can push down into the gravel may be a easier solution for you!?
In more than 20 years of planted aquaria I have never bothered with any of these, except once when I tried laterite (an iron clay additive) and frankly saw no difference between the tank with it and those without with respect to plant growth (similar plants in both tanks, swords and crypts, same lighting).
Substrate additives have some advantage with rooted plants like swords and crypts. But for me it is easier to insert a Plant-Gro stick between these plants, and having used these for almost a year I can confirm they really do increase plant growth.
Substrate additives have no value whatsoever with plants that are not substrate rooted; floating plants, most stem plants, and non-substrate rooted plants like Java Fern, Anubias, Moss all absorb nutrients solely from the water.
My thinking has always been that it is an unnecessary expense (these additives are quite expensive) in a low-tech natural setup. Once you have it, there are some issues with mixing it up and clouding the water everytime you plant or move a plant, gravel cleaning, etc., which seems pointless when there is no substantive benefit.
This is one area where I differ from Byron. But let me start by saying I have used only gravel in my tanks for the last 30 years.
I agree that plants in general come in two forms. Those that get all or most of their nutrients from the water through their leaves and those that absorb most of their nutrients through their roots. Stems plants seem to fall in the middle. And as Byron pointed out, those plants that get their nutrients from the water through their leaves don't care what the substrate is. The substrate is simply holding the plant down.
But for root feaders, the substrate can make a difference. Gravel offers no benefit to root feeding plants because gravel is unable to hold nutrients. To make up for that deficiency, root tabs are typically used.
Substrates such as Flourite and Eco Complete are designed to hold nutrients for the roots. Plus Flourite has the ability to replentish it's nutrients by absorbing them when ferts are added (I'm told). Some have claimed that the cost of Flourite justifies itself in reduced costs for root tabs. I know that after one year I've already gone through 3 packs of root tabs at $7 a pop. I already have the Flourite for my tank. I just have to find a time when I can tear the tank down.
If you do add Flourite, a mixture of at least 50/50 is recommended. And it really needs to be rinsed well before adding it.
To answer the OP's original question ,No it will not be harmful to mix Flourite with your aquarium gravel. I kept discus in an 80 gal with flourite gravel mix approx 4inches deep and the amazon swords,tiger lotus, micro sword,and crypts did very well.
There is an advantage in new tanks ,especially low tech, to having such a mixture to help plants get started IMHO.
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