Expensive vs cheap substrates - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-22-2003, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Are these real?
Wasserpest's Avatar
PTrader: (182/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,348
I don't want to step on anyones toes with that question... it's pure curiosity.

I am wondering if anyone has switched from a "cheap" substrate (Gravel, Profile, Kitty Litter, Sand, Soil, Peat, whatnot) to an expensive one (Flourite, Onyx, Eco-complete), used the same setup (lights, CO2, fertilizing routine) and has experienced a significant improvement in plant growth/health/appearance. Or vice versa.

I often read you should spent a lot of money on them, only the expensive substrates are... what... long term stable? Worth every penny? I have never used any of them, so I have no experience. But I know that plants can grow in completely inert gravel, or even without any substrate at all, ex Water Sprite.

Please share your experiences. Perhaps you even have a tank that has part of it covered with one and part with another substrate.
Wasserpest is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-22-2003, 09:56 PM
Planted Tank VIP
GDominy's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,417
Well.. I can share my gravel to Soil experience...

In my 135 Gallon tank I started potting the same plants I keep planted in teh basic gravel. In the pots I keep Soil, capped with a littel bit of gravel to keep it in place.

In the pots, the same plants grow 3 times faster (apporxiamtely) then in the gravel.

This is partly why I have decided to tear down this tank.
GDominy is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
Are these real?
Wasserpest's Avatar
PTrader: (182/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,348
Hmmm. I am concluding that nobody has seen any significant growth improvement when changing from a cheap to an expensive substrate, or any deterioration in plant growth when going the other way.
IMO a good CEC (as various clay products provide) is more important than a big price tag and an initial supply of a particular nutrient.
One day I will do an experiment using very different substrates in the same tank... I will let you know the outcome :mrgreen:
Wasserpest is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-27-2003, 05:25 PM
Planted Tank VIP
GulfCoastAquarian's Avatar
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 3,578
I recently switched a 2.5g nano from kitty litter/sand to sand over potting soil/peat and the difference in growth for rooted plants is pretty amazing. The kitty litter just provided a good exchange for cations, but didn't seem to be providing them. These crypts have doubled in size in just a few weeks in the potting soil/peat.

When used as a thin bottom layer, I don't have a negative thing to say about kitty litter. I'm becoming a much bigger fan of potting soil, though, for a cheap substrate.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
GulfCoastAquarian is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cheap lighting - ODNO GulfCoastAquarian The Planted Tank FAQ 279 02-15-2014 09:01 AM
Journal of a cheap tank (56k) Wasserpest Tank Journals 34 12-27-2005 08:51 PM
Where can I get cheap Eheim filter pads? Poohbee Equipment 7 09-02-2004 10:12 AM
Water resistant endcaps?? Cheap ones? fedge Lighting 19 08-04-2004 02:19 AM
styrofoam cups - cheap alternative to pots for plants? hubbahubbahehe General Planted Tank Discussion 9 07-28-2004 06:36 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome