Are There Any Bottom Feeder Friendly Plant Substrates? Fine-grained and smooth? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 10-17-2018, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Are There Any Bottom Feeder Friendly Plant Substrates? Fine-grained and smooth?

Does anyone know if there are any nutrient-rich substrates that are sand and very smooth that would work for bottom feeders?

The plants I intend to keep rooted are Water Sprite, Hornwort, Bacopa australis, Echinodorus var. Vesuvius, Dwarf Lily, and Dwarf Sagittaria. I don't intend for the Dwarf Sag to fully carpet the tank. The rest of the plants will be rhizome or floating types.

I want to prioritize the fish over the plants. I have Rams and Corycats that really need that smooth sand substrate for all sorts of reasons - they feed by taking up mouthfuls of sand, keeping the food in, and then spraying the extra sand out of their gills and they can not feed like this if the particle size of the substrate is too large. They also have scaleless bellies that can be injured by rough substrate and barbels that can become infected if detritus collects in larger-grained substrates. So I really do need a smooth sand of some sort, but I'm hoping to have a planted tank. I have kept other tanks with standard Eco-Complete and with Laterite, and know for a fact that those would both be too sharp.
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post #2 of 2 Old 10-17-2018, 10:37 PM
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Consider doing a two tone substrate? Where there's ooen area, do sand. However where you plan to plant plants, consider something like ADA which is smooth.

(Even then, the majority of the plants you listed don't really require nutrient rich substrate and do fine if dosed ferts in the water column.)

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Hermit Crab Association (HCA) is a great resource for hermit crab care
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