New to Aquascapting and needing substrate help - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-17-2013, 08:29 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.
Aquamarie is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: San Jose CA
Posts: 4
Try the search tool on the substrate threads lots of real good info.
topwater is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 05:06 PM
Wannabe Guru
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York City.
Posts: 1,970
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.

Canon Pimp Club #005
tetra73 is online now  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 10:57 AM
Algae Grower
Tokemoke's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Blaine, WA
Posts: 79
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.
Tokemoke is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 11:42 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
pantherspawn's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wildomar, Ca.
Posts: 586
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
5 gal fluval chi dust collector
3 gal beta tank
pantherspawn is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 11:56 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: East of knox
Posts: 420
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
Stone454 is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 07:55 PM
Planted Tank Guru
Hoppy's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 19,673
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.

Hoppy is online now  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-23-2013, 11:22 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: falmouth ,ky
Posts: 362
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
Fraternity of dirt #135 join---> The 6 Foot Plus Club

sadchevy is online now  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 03:56 AM
Planted Member
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: MD
Posts: 256
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
Kareen is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 04:52 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Coldwater King's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Illinois
Posts: 384
I think dirt and a fine line of black gravel.
Coldwater King is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:41 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: woodbury minnesota 55125
Posts: 45
dirt is best. use dirt. cap with whatever you please.
rexpepper651 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

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