How important is a good substrate?
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Old 11-14-2003, 09:30 PM   #1
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I started a new tank a couple weeks ago with various plants, but being my first planted tank I didn't know that it's a good idea to have some sort of substrate. It's a 15 gallon tank with 30w of light (14-15 hours of light/day), no CO2, Penguin bio-wheel 170.

My question is, would the plants still be able to grow in a bedding of small petstore gravel? The individual pebbles are somewhat small, but nowhere near as fine as sand. Any thoughts? I've been drooling over so many tanks here, and hopefully one day I'll have one looking similar.
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Old 11-14-2003, 09:59 PM   #2
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My first and arguably best planted tank had a simple large-diameter gravel substrate. It was in a 29 gallon Eclipse tank, no CO2, no high-powered lights, and no fert dosing at all.

After a couple months, my Amazon was flowering like mad and I had to trim the Val and banana plant every week. This is the also the one planted tank that I never had an algae problem with, even though it housed three pepper corries, six platies, three angels, and three clown loaches.
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Old 11-14-2003, 10:21 PM   #3
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This is another one of those topics that is hotly debated by hobbiests.

Its safe to say that "it depends"

Many undemanding plants will do very well in standard aquarium gravel, whereas others will not do very well at all without more nutrient rich substrates.

I have some tanks using river gravel (like my 22 Gallon) and others using cheesy epoxy coated gravel.. and even some with potting soil. I have managed to get plants growing very well in all of them, it just depends on the kind of plants.. age of the substrate itself (if its well seeded with mulm) and various other factors.
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Old 11-14-2003, 10:21 PM   #4
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Importance of substrate all depends on the plants you are planting. Some variety's dont care what they are planted in.
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Old 11-16-2003, 04:17 AM   #5
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I agree that it does depend on the plants you want.

In my case, I used soil, (the ones you use for
My lotus started spewing out HUGE leaves, and I say HUGE. It also helped my vals, and perked up some of my stem plants(especially the ambulias.).

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Old 11-17-2003, 08:00 PM   #6
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i say that substrate is VERY important, in my experience it's importance is second to only lighting.
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