Substrate help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: newington, connecticut
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Substrate help

Hey everyone, first time poster. I am doing a 6.5 gallon planted shrimp tank. My main concern is carpeting. Not sure which plant I want to use yet for carpeting but I am leaning towards cuba but not sure yet. I am going to be using co2, also I am aware of the concerns with using co2 and shrimp. I am going to be using an automated system so when the lights go off so will the co2, and also I will not be pushing that much co2.
Today at my LFS I bought fluval stratum, and came home and started doing a lot of research. Apparently carpeting plants don't like holding onto fluval stratum? I am prepared to return it and get something different. I understand ada is a popular one, and so is eco complete, and there is also fluorite stuff. I prefer my substrate to be black but dark brown will work.
So any advice on which substrate I should use would be very helpful. Looking forward to starting a tank thread.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 01:18 AM
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Location: Terre Haute, IN
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I like eco complete. It has a lot of holes in it, so it's easy for plants to root in. It's also a lot cheaper than ada. Flourite isn't a complete balance of stuff, so you'd need to add a different substrate along with it and fertilizers, too. Between ADA and Eco Complete, ADA probably is a little more "complete" with the amount and variation of nutrients, but I don't think you'll notice a difference if you are just starting out. Once you start fertilizing(which you will eventually have to do no matter which substrate you choose), it won't make a difference either way. And it you like black substrate--eco complete is black lol.

I've never used fluval stratum, so I can't compare. Sorry.

By the way, I would say to not worry about shrimp and CO2. Shrimp are more sensitive than fish to pretty much any thing--whether it's ammonia, copper, or CO2. As long as you don't overdose and keep your tank clean, the shrimp will be fine. Crank up the CO2 especially if you want carpeting plants to grow in densely. Just don't let the drop checker go to yellow (and you definitely need a drop checker if you don't have one). I keep my tanks at light lime green colored. All my shrimp are happy.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 01:29 AM
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One more thing: if you are new to carpeted plants then cuba might not be the best to start with. It's difficult to grow and needs some "babying". Needs A LOT of CO2 and light and fertilizers. Even when it's growing in nicely, one missed weekend of no CO2 can cause it to die off or at least start turning brown. Glossostigma when well maintain has a very similar appearance and is much easier to care for. It can handle being ignored for a few days. Hair grass and micro swords obviously look a lot different, but are also easier to care for. All three are also generally cheaper and I am all for cheaper ha.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-04-2015, 04:34 AM
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Naiad had some good advice. The only thing I would add is to suggest the dry start method. It's a very safe and easy way to get your carpet established.
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fluval, shrimp, substrate

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