New to Aquascapting and needing substrate help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 2
Smile New to Aquascapting and needing substrate help

Hi All,

I am going to be getting a 4x2x2 (120 gallon) tank soon that will be a Discus/community tank. I have been doing heaps and heaps of research on substrate ect and this is just boggling my mind!!
Ideally in the end I want the complete tank floor covered in green and looking like a field of grass (still not sure what kind of plant I want to use but some advise on different kinds would be great) so because I want that type of layout what kind of substrate would be best to use. I have been leaning more towards the Miracle Grow Organic as I can get this pretty cheap at my local Burnings should and cap it off with some black fluorite ( I am not sure if I did use this as a cap if my plants would grow through it into the look I want). I want this to be a low tech tank as I don't really have heaps of money for a CO2 system ect but yea, just want to know what type of substrate would be best.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: San Jose CA
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Try the search tool on the substrate threads lots of real good info.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 04:06 PM
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I think dirt is fine as long as you are not intending to rescape the tank after adding water to it. So, plan your scape very, very carefully. I would cap it with fine gravels. Sand isn't recommended. Too fine and it can easily exacerbate anaerobic condition in the soil. I think Petco has black sand. I think those are ok. Mix the soil with some clay or laterite.

Since it would be a discus tank, I assume the lighting would be on the low size. CO2 level on the light size as well. Your choice of carpet plants are limited. Charinsword narrow leafs are good. Drawf Sag and Marselia minuta are doable.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 09:57 AM
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Location: Blaine, WA
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I'm interested to hear what has to be said too. Kind of in the same situation as you. I wanted a bare dirted bottom but think the Cory's would keep digging it up.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 10:42 AM
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Location: Wildomar, Ca.
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You're going to get a ton of different ideas, from miracle grow organic to pool sand. Best bet is what you find most appealing and how much effort you want to put into it initially. Plants will grow in pretty much everything given the right conditions. Some Plants better than others obviously. The choice comes down to personal preferences and individual choices. I personally use multiple substrates in my tanks. From pool sand to moon sand and eco complete and fluorite and pea gravel. I have plants growing in them all. Just my two cents.

55 gal heavy planted low tech south American tank
38 gal bow front live bearer tank
20 gal Marineland led brackish puffer tank
14 gal cf newly planted
10 gal Marineland led low tech low light
10 gal Marineland led qt tank
6 gal snail breeder
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 10:56 AM
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I have tried, floramax, and miracle grow organic, pool sand, gravel, and black diamond blasting sand, floramax is ok, but the miracle grow organic works way better, poolsand caused ph problems for me but all pool sand is not the same, it is usually locally mined and could cause all sorts of problems only way to know is to try it, When I use gravel I lean towards the smaller gravel it is easier on the plant roots, I am pretty much a black diamond blasting sand junkie. it is inert, does not cause water issues, looks good and well at 8 bucks for a 50 pound bag you can not beat it, and I have corys in all of these different set ups with the caps and have not had an issue with anything other than the playsand and that was with a 7 inch long pleco who would dig up all the corners
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 06:55 PM
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Best is ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, but it is also one of the most costly substrates. Lower cost means less than best. Personally I think Aquasoil is worth the price.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 10:22 PM
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Higher cost does not always mean its the best. Personally, I think Safe-t-sorb works great, could even go with MGOPM capped with STS. Dirt works , mother nature has been using it forever.

125g makeover ,2x75g, 55g, 40g breeder, 29g, 2x10g, 100g stock pond..........MTS ? Nahhhhhh Just acquired a 150g tall and a 30g long
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 02:56 AM
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I have a 125gl Discus Tank with Eco-complete and put some red glay balls in it and my plants grow good and I do 50% water changes once a week you can go to to learn more about Discus good luck with your tank
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 03:52 AM
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I think dirt and a fine line of black gravel.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 04:41 PM
Algae Grower
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Location: woodbury minnesota 55125
Posts: 48
dirt is best. use dirt. cap with whatever you please.
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