What is the Best Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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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 06:20 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 02:50 PM
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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.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 02:54 PM
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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 :/
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 07:04 PM
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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.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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I bought a 20 pound bag of eco-complete today.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 10:17 PM
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No such thing as the best substrate. This topic is getting silly and quite frankly, its cluttering the forums at this point.


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ammonia, cycling, spike, substrate, water parameters

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