Originally Posted by inthepacific
id say for me aquasoil is probably worth it if you want a really full lush tank. you wont have to worry too much about fertilizers. but it tanks longer to cycle i hear. i dont think capping aqua soil is really necessary. they have some lighter colored ones but the chemicals inside might be different im not actually sure. i know there is africana amazonia and one more and their colors are all different. soil obviously trumps because it gives good space for roots to grow and also feeds directly to roots. sand has no nutrients but has the ideal porosity for roots to grow. then the stuff you find in most regular aquariums the gravel stuff doesnt really do well for plants because its harder for them to root in. but you should tell us the size of tank you're working with. also what plants you're looking at and what fish you're looking at as well.
I think I might go with aquasoil but I like the look of the photos of planted tanks which use more than one layer visible and a little beach area... something about that seems more impressive, visually impacting to me.. I suppose because it brings the tank further away from the standard colored pebbles and treasure chest - and closer to nature itself.. -- If I get aquasoil I might get the finer granules but I don't want them to be so fine that it provides problems because the scape I want to do will have an incline/slope to it... not sure if it's the bigger granules that are ideal or the finer ones... - Anyway I just think mixing substrates and layering them tastefully looks better but I don't wanna do anything that'll potentially make me wish I hadn't in the long run.
So, if I decide on mixing the aquasoil surface layer with something like pea gravel or turface or some sand or even a little bit of everything, it'll give me an idea of what size bag I should get and that will also help me to conserve costs and leave room for other important things. - The idea here being that I want to get things now that I won't regret later for not having. So that's why I'm focusing on the substrate and heater.
I haven't decided what plants I want to use or what fish. The only thing I'm fairly certain is that the fish will likely be tropical and small, like neon tetras. I've been out to a local aquarium shop and the ones that caught my' eye were alot of the small shoaling fish. I'd like to get a school of fish with a playful, fun lighthearted nature and personality if possible. Small and very peaceful. - The plants I think I want to use will help me to get a look that reminds me kind of like a forest floor after a spring rain lol... with a few rocks, a little beach, and bedding of something with fine leaves that grow low like baby tears only perhaps something that doesn't demand such high lighting and looks similar... I seem to like round leaf plants like bacopa variations and penny wort. Later on I'll gather images of tanks with the kind of layout and vibe I like as well as photos of plants/names etc if that will help. I know that certain rocks and woods effect water parameters and I'd like to consider both but I'm a little apprehensive about buying either off the internet without personally selecting them myself for their' shape so I'll have to get out and find some myself at a later point perhaps.