What kind of substrate do i need???
Hey everyone, I'm starting out a 30G planted tank. I have the lights and good begginer plants already in mind but im having trouble finding a good substrate! I've done tons of research and keep gettin different answers!! Some say to stay with the basics and not go for the "enriched" kind, while others say if u dont get the nutrient rich kind it will be more work for me! I'm totally torn!!! I'm planing on keepin the plants very basic and hardy with a good set of community fish!!! Any help will awesome!!!!
I say if you can afford it and it is something you would like to try then go for it, but by no means is it a requirement, some plants are heavy root feeders which it will help but you can probably also get the same effect with root tabs. I was thinking about doing it to my new 20 gallon this past week but it came down to it was just to expensive for me.
I'm sure someone will come by and explain it better but in my short experience its not a necessity but a luxury.
assuming you're not going high tech with high lighting levels and C02, most plants will do fine in gravel or sand. heavy root feeders like swords and vallis will appreciate some root tabs which are placed in the substrate; i use the api brand. look at my tank by clicking on my 'aquarium' and you'll see my plants are doing well in pool filter sand, with very occasional root tabs. byron's tanks all use gravel and he has spectacular plants. if i could start again i'd get regular gravel too because it wouldn't show up the mess as much. at the end of the day it wouldn't hurt to have an enriched substrate like eco-complete but it will cost more
Plants will do fine in a number of subtrates. Alot of our fellow members have had success with each one. As you've read, and will continue to find out, everyone has their opinions on plain gravel vs. sand vs. enriched subtrate.
I recently overhauled my 55G tank, I did the same thing you did and researched all over the web and got the same mixed results. After some advice on here, and a [look at my bank statements :-) ] I decided to take the plain gravel approach. It wasn't for the money side of things either, I was more interested in the "basic approach". If you read Byron's four post articles explaining everything about the"simple planted aquaria", it goes into fantastic detail about this issue in of the parts.
The gravel in my aquarium in my has worked great for my set-up, it looks natural and is about as low maintenance as you can get.
So again, in my opinion(and probably several others) I think plain gravel works just fine and I think you'll be happy with it. By all means, if you want the enriched subtrate, it is your tank!!!!
Hope that inputs helps some, others will be along!
Just to add my two (or less) cents, to the good advice already given. Basically, anything will work, though some are more successful than others, depending upon the system (plants, fish, light, fertilizer additives). Most have some drawbacks, also worth noting, and some need more maintenance.
We so often design an aquarium, getting a filter, light, heater, substrate...then ask "what fish?" This is totally the opposite it should be for success. Know the fish (and in this case also plants, which should complement the fish's needs if any in plants), then decide on the substrate, filter, light. As for plants, the natural low-tech approach will work fine for 90% of them. And the fish will love it.
I've stated my recommended preference with reasons in the articles, so won't go into all that here.
Co2 and Lights??
Thanks everyone for the quick responses!!! I ended up getting Eco-Complete Plant Substrate. I got 2 bags or 40lbs so i think that will be plenty! So do i need to add a small layer of regular gravel under or just let it be? Also, I dont live anywhere close to a LPS so what would be the best way to for me to add co2 or do i even need to worry about that? Plus i'm looking at a new light fixture. The one i have right now is a sinlge bulb set up with a 18w marineland 24" bulb. I realize that this isnt near enough for the 2w per gallon basic. So any suggestions for a fix (cheaper the better)!!
I do not use CO2 as I prefer a natural low-tech approach to let nature do most of the work rather than gadgetry. CO2 means more light, more nutrients to balance.
A single tube is fine for this approach, though I can't comment on the type as I don't know what you've got. Can you give us the name of the marineland tube? This is usually printed on one end of the tube.
You should have a read of the 4-part series of articles "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the top of this section. They will provide a good background for what you are asking.
First of thanks for your articles! I re-read them and now i feel i'm starting to get a better picture! Anyways from what i can find on the light it is a marineland eclipse natural daylight bulb...sry if thats not what you need but it came with the hood and i cant find anywhere on the box or direction paper that says anything about the light other than plug it in!!! (It was a present so i can't complain!) So I used the code on the light that took me to another forum all about this particular hood set and it had posted that it is only a 18w bulb! Thats all i can find so if u have anymore input i really really appreciate it!!!! Plus I also needed another pointer...I also received a huge canister filter with the tank. It was made for a 30-60 gallon tank...so will that be too much water movemnet and disturb the plants?? Thanks again it been a huge help!
As you have a 30g tank the canister should do; does it have a control valve to adjusting the flow? Many canisters now do. The outflow and intake should be at opposite ends of the take if possible, or if not, the direction of the flow can be down the tank away from the intake to ensure adequate circulation of the tank. If it has a control, you can adjust it to suite the fish's needs.
You made good choice going for Eco-Complete.
I just finished setting up my 120g tank this week with 100% Eco-Complete for substrate. It really does well. On Tuesday, I loaded the substrate with the water Clarity that came with the substrate, the water was cloudy but not badly cloudy. I had a fish moved in the first day because I read from a different forums that it's good to the bateria that way. Last night, I finished up with live plants and bog logs, also changed 1/3 of the water. It's completely crystal clear this morning, and all of my fishes are in the new tank. They looked so far happy.
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