What is the Best Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
Vladdy's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posts: 386
Question What is the Best Substrate?

What is the best substrate for a planted tank that won't alter the water parameters or cause an ammonia spike? I am planning to add eco-complete to my 10 gallon aquarium, which is already established. Will adding the new substrate cause an ammonia, nitrate or nitrite spike? And will it cause a pH swing? Will I have to cycle the tank again, even if I keep the same water in the tank as I had before changing the substrate? I need some advice on this. Thanks.

Last edited by Vladdy; 07-07-2009 at 05:20 AM.
Vladdy is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 01:50 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: CO
Posts: 414
Eco is inert and didn't mess with my pH at all. Some people have reported differently saying that it raised the pH but I did not experience any of that.

And as long as you have a decent filter changing out the substrate should not cause any spikes except for a nitrate spike if the old substrate is particularly dirty. But the water changes and plants will fix that anyways.
Postal Penguin is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 01:54 PM
Planted Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 169
i have 2 bags of eco-complete in my 10 gallon. have had algae and ph problems but i'm assuming its my local well water causing this. from what i gather the biological filtering of your substrate is minimal. there is a post somewhere in this forum where a guy named Snapple changes his substrate to eco-complete while his fish are still in the tank. i couldn't find it with the search. i remember Snapple has a tire with blinging rim on it in his profile pic. anyway, Snapple loved the eco-complete until he upgraded to ada aqua soil and then he said he'd only use ada soil from then on. i think he grew out some hairgrass and then quit his tank. some people may remember Snapple giant ball of japonica.


somewhere in here, boss is looming around my desk, need to get back to work :/
SPECIAL||PLANS is offline  
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 06:04 PM
Planted Tank Guru
Hilde's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 6,140
I am in the midst of experimenting with substrate. If I had the money I would buy Red Sea Flora Base. It is sold at Dr Foster & Smith ,

Since I don't have the money I am making my substrate
Scotts potting soil
Top soil------------------- 8 cups
Organic Charcoal crushed---2 cups
Dolomite--------------------------- 1 cup
Calcium sulfate------------------ 3 Tbs

Sodium bicarb------------------- 3 Tbs
River sand

To enhance the mineral content I will be letting the river sand soak for a week. Also in a separate bucket will soak the middle substrate for a week. This is my version of mineralised soil.
Hilde is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
Vladdy's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
Posts: 386
I bought a 20 pound bag of eco-complete today.
Vladdy is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 09:17 PM
Planted Tank VIP
Gatekeeper's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Earth
Posts: 6,626
No such thing as the best substrate. This topic is getting silly and quite frankly, its cluttering the forums at this point.


Gatekeeper is offline  
Closed Thread

ammonia, cycling, spike, substrate, water parameters

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