Hope for just gravel?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Substrate


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-28-2013, 04:11 AM   #1
TMuller
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 30
Default

Hope for just gravel?


Hi all, I was wondering what you can really do with just a gravel substrate. Personally, I use soil and want to get into flourite as well for ease of plant removal, however I work at a LFS and talk a lot of customers into planted tanks. With the new affordable availability of high par lights a lot of customers would like to upgrade their lighting without upgrading their substrate. Is there any hope in having a nice planted tank with just gravel? I understand floating plants do fine as well as plants that aren't too nutrient dependent. Would it be possible for inert substrate to become lively enough for healthy and full growth of vals, sag and easier stem plants and handle par values in the medium light range?
TMuller is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-28-2013, 04:23 AM   #2
Seattle_Aquarist
Planted Tank Guru
 
Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
 
PTrader: (38/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,584
Default

Hi TMuller,

This is what you can do with just gravel, a little DIY CO2, Seachem Flourish Comprehensive and Seachem Excel for ferts. Light is a 1X96 watt AH Supply CFL kit.

45 gallon tall (36 X 12 X 24H)
__________________
Roy
45 Gallon Tall; 96 Watt AH Supply CF; 6700K; & 30 Gallon Long; 2X36 Watt AH Supply CF; Press. CO2; UGF; Heat Treated Montmorillonite Clay
Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS)

Seattle_Aquarist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
TMuller
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 30
Default

That is a beautiful tank, thanks for sharing!
TMuller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 01:45 PM   #4
scapegoat
Planted Tank Guru
 
scapegoat's Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: philadelphia, pa
Posts: 2,230
Default

Do you stock any root tabs?

inert, no cec, substrate will never be "lively" enough to support plant growth. but with what we have available it's certainly more than possible; as Seattle_Aquarist has demonstrated above.

dead plant matter, fertilizer tabs, etc, will give the plants nutrients to their roots. The substrate might not provide, but we can.
__________________
scapegoat is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 03:59 PM   #5
hunterlook
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
hunterlook's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 447
Default Hope for just gravel?

I have 2 CFLs on a 10 gallon with standard gravel and DIY CO2. Granted, I have fairly easy plants to grow besides my Madagascar lace and even that is growing like crazy!
__________________
40 Breeder|36" FugeRay|Aquaclear 110
Oto|Guppy|Danio|Kuhli|Swordtail

My 40B Work In Progress
hunterlook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
Knotyoureality
Wannabe Guru
 
Knotyoureality's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,249
Default

Gravel only ever posed a problem for me in dealing with very fine stem plants that were difficult to root/keep down in larger gravel. Other than that, it's really no different than any other inert substrate.
Knotyoureality is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2013, 08:54 PM   #7
BBradbury
Wannabe Guru
 
BBradbury's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
Posts: 1,431
Default Using Gravel Substrate

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMuller View Post
Hi all, I was wondering what you can really do with just a gravel substrate. Personally, I use soil and want to get into flourite as well for ease of plant removal, however I work at a LFS and talk a lot of customers into planted tanks. With the new affordable availability of high par lights a lot of customers would like to upgrade their lighting without upgrading their substrate. Is there any hope in having a nice planted tank with just gravel? I understand floating plants do fine as well as plants that aren't too nutrient dependent. Would it be possible for inert substrate to become lively enough for healthy and full growth of vals, sag and easier stem plants and handle par values in the medium light range?
Hello T...

I've used gravel substrate in my planted tanks for years and my plants do fine. I don't ever vacuum the gravel, though. So, any uneaten food, dead plant and fish material settles into it and over time, dissolve and fertilize the plants. This sounds like a recipe for a poor water chemistry, but if you keep up with your weekly water changes, you'll maintain stable water properties. The only other thing you need for an nicely planted tank is to research the lighting the plants require and provide it.

Just an opinion, this is what I do. There are always alternatives.

B
__________________
"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
BBradbury is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 12:44 AM   #8
SouthernGorilla
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Irving, TX
Posts: 96
Default

There are millions of people around the world growing hydroponic gardens. That alone proves that gravel can work as a growing medium. The catch is that you need to keep nutrients in the water to feed the roots. Which is exactly what the hydroponics folks do.

And as BBradbury points out, uneaten food and dead plant matter left to decay on the bottom will also feed the plants. If you keep the tank for a century or so all that detritus will eventually form a layer of soil.
SouthernGorilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 02:07 AM   #9
DarkCobra
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,349
Default

In a high light, high tech tank, weedy stem plants get trimmed and replanted so often they rarely have enough roots to really take advantages of the substrate anyway; so whether you use gravel or something nicer is almost irrelevant.

For plants that establish better roots, a very few strategically placed roots tabs, or just a well-mulmed substrate will still grow decent plants.

The only thing that will really have difficulty is plants that spread by runners, especially carpeting plants.

I still have gravel in one of my tanks, and no plans to upgrade that one.
DarkCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not 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

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012