Type of substrate? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Unread 07-06-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Type of substrate?

Hi, so I have a 20 gallon tank that I am planning on putting some mollies in and possibly some more fish later on. I want to have live plants but am unsure what type of substrate would be best.
My sister, who currently has a 20 gallon molly tank, has her live plants in little terra cotta pots and doesn't have any substrate on the bottom of the tank.
I prefer the look of substrate on the bottom, but would it be reasonable to put, say gravel on the bottom, but leave the plants in little pots? Would it be better to have sand? Do mollies have a preference?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 4 Unread Yesterday, 09:47 AM
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You've got several options depending on the plants' needs, some use the ribosomes for eedingand don't need any special substrate. 1. use all plant substrate 2. use gravel or sand and plant the plants in a fertilized substrate (either in pots or in sections of the tank) 3. use gravel/sand and plant root tabs where the plants are
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post #3 of 4 Unread Yesterday, 10:31 PM
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Honestly sand is like my holy grail when it comes to substrate. while it takes a little while to wash it so its aquariums friendly, once in the aquarium its very easy to maintain, especially at shallow depths. The good thing with sand is that waste tends to accumulate on the surface, which makes it easy to spot clean when waterchanging - debris will build up in areas of low flow - or swept up into the filter.


As mentioned above, many species of plants do fine without being directly planted into the substrate as they are epiphyte in nature, and often use rhysomes to grow on decor such as wood and rocks or freefloating. Likewise, plants that do better being buried in gravel/sand/substrate (even then, this can be pretty ambiguous since Ive had no issues growing crypts tied on to wood, same with swords....) can simply be potted.... :)

540L/140G - 'Tidal Jungle' (Crabs) | 254L/67g - 'Backwater Pool' (Fish/Snails) | 96L/25G - ''Twisted Minds" (Fish/Snails)

I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'. They're just animals that I forgot I had planned to get.
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post #4 of 4 Unread Today, 04:59 PM
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I use a substrate that is 1" of peat moss, 1" of sand, and 1" of pc select from top to bottom. The idea is the peat moss prevents hardness buildup and the sand keeps the peat moss trapped at the bottom. PC select is pro choice select which is a red baked clay used in baseball infields. It can be hard to find but I presume any kind of gravel would suffice.

For more information click on the link in my signature for my planted tank method.

best tank ever.

my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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