Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia
Aquasoil vs flourite black vs eco complete?
Hi everyone, I'm looking for some help with substrate choice for my first big high tech tank. Just bought a nice 4 (L) x 2(W) x 2.6ft(H) low iron tank and trying to work my way through the confusing maze that is substrate choice! Going to do a fairly natural heavily planted Holland style tank (hopefully!) with a mix of rainbowfish, tetras, gourami, platies etc.
Still to purchase and decide on filtration options, for lighting I am thinking of trying 2 Radion XR30w but not sure about that yet. Will set up a CO2 system when the budget allows!
At first I was just going to pay for ADA aquasoil but the owner of a good aquarium store near us said he's had so many unhappy clients that ended up totally redoing their tanks after a year or so because the ADA aquasoil has turned to mud and causes a constant dirty haze in the tank. So I don't like the sound of that! Other aquasoil options that I can order in Australia are UP aquasoil and Mr Aqua Plant Soil, but not sure if they will also turn to mud after a short time.
Thought about going with the soil/sand or gravel cap, but I'd prefer a substrate with only one layer, as we might have to move the tank when we move house and also because I'll probably move plants around at least initially.
So that leaves Eco Complete, which I don't really see the benefit of if it's inert but I do like the natural look of. If I use Eco Complete, won't I have to put a layer of something underneath with more nutrients? Or add root tabs or similar fairly frequently? Or finally other things like Flourite Black, Dupla Ground (don't really like the colour), Flora Base or Stratum?
I'd prefer dark/black substrate but growth of the plants is the primary concern obviously. For substrates like Flourite Black, how and what do people prefer to add to improve fertility?
Any advice appreciated, there's just so many conflicting opinions and it's quite costly in Australia with most 7-9kg bags costing from $40-80 (eg ADA Amazonia Multi is $79.95 for 9L!)
PS any comments about the lighting options also very welcome.