What substrate to use for growing tank
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 11-04-2013, 06:45 AM   #1
discoveringmypath
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
discoveringmypath's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 315
Question

What substrate to use for growing tank


Hello All,

I currently have a 10G tank that I'm using to grow plants (new to the plant part of this hobby). I used soil and then topped it off with play sand.

I put Water wisteria in the tank and planted it. The roots grabbed hold fairly quickly and today when I up-rooted one, I ended up pulling up some dirt and made quite a mess. I'm finding that the sand is a pain to keep clean, especially in this tank because plants aren't in a permenant location.

I'm wondering what other options I can go with as far as substrate goes. I'm eventually going to get a couple 40B tanks for growing.

Would gravel and root tabs be a good option?

- I have never used root tabs, so I don't know how good they are and how cost effective they are.

I like using the organic potting soil, but it can get messy if I keep moving and replanting plants. Is the soil going to help the plants grow faster as apposed to using root tabs?

I will be dosing EI, using CO2, and high lighting as well, so I'm really only concerned about the substrate portion of this.

Thanks in advance for the help!
__________________
discoveringmypath is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-04-2013, 10:52 AM   #2
Qwe
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Qwe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Worthington, MA
Posts: 490
Default

I use a dark gravel to cap my potting soil in one of my growing tanks, and even if you bring up some dirt when taking out plants, it's not as noticeable.
Qwe is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-04-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
roadmaster
Wannabe Guru
 
roadmaster's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Missouri united states
Posts: 1,465
Default

Soil based tank's in my view are not suited for those who frequently uproot plant's or move them about.
Best to treat these tank's like you would house plant's.Place the plant's ,and leave em alone.
Sand will stay more tidy this way.
roadmaster is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-04-2013, 01:37 PM   #4
shambhalove.
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 268
Default

If its just a grow out use plain sand and root tabs. Or something with a higher cec if you wanna spend money but if you already have sand then your set!
__________________
shambhalove. is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
Seattle_Aquarist
Planted Tank Guru
 
Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 2,376
Default

Hi discoveringmypath,

+1 for roadmaster's comment; a 'dirted' tank is not necessarily the best choice if plants will be moved frequently. Here is a thread I did on a 10 gallon that I use for 'experimentation' with some of my emersed grown plants so plants get planted and/or moved periodically.

10 gallon; no CO2; low tech; Montmorillonite clay substrate
__________________
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)


Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 11-05-2013 at 02:30 PM.. Reason: ..
Seattle_Aquarist is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-04-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
jbrady33
Wannabe Guru
 
jbrady33's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mt Laurel, NJ
Posts: 1,528
Default

I've grown really fond of EcoComplete. A lot of people knock it, but I've found that I can pull up anything I want a re-arrange without a problem, and everything I've tried grows great in it.

I have the standard Eco, now there is a "fine" grained version that sounds even better.
__________________
jbrady33 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-05-2013, 01:06 AM   #7
discoveringmypath
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
discoveringmypath's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 315
Smile

Thanks for all the responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwe View Post
I use a dark gravel to cap my potting soil in one of my growing tanks, and even if you bring up some dirt when taking out plants, it's not as noticeable.
I've seen this alot on a bunch of tanks. It does make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster
Soil based tank's in my view are not suited for those who frequently uproot plant's or move them about.
Best to treat these tank's like you would house plant's.Place the plant's ,and leave em alone.
Sand will stay more tidy this way.
I'm learning this from my recent experiences. I figured plants would grow faster with soil?

Will plants grow just as fast with gravel and root tabs as they would with soil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist
+1 for roadmaster's comment; a 'dirted' tank is not necessarily the best choice if plants will be moved frequently. Here is a thread I did on a 10 gallon that I use for 'experimentation' with some of my emersed grown plants so plants get planted and/or moved.
Thanks for the comment. I'll check out your thread, I like to see what others have experienced.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrady33
I've grown really fond of EcoComplete. A lot of people knock it, but I've found that I can pull up anything I want a re-arrange without a problem, and everything I've tried grows great in it.

I have the standard Eco, now there is a "fine" grained version that sounds even better.
I'll check it out. When I first started I wanted to stay away from pricey substrates, bit it is another option.

Do plants grow better in these types of premium substrates compared to organic potting soil?
__________________
discoveringmypath is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
roadmaster
Wannabe Guru
 
roadmaster's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Missouri united states
Posts: 1,465
Default

Nothing fast about low tech tank's in my view.Soil can provide nutrient's a bit quicker than plain inert gravel, but unless you mix in some clay with the soil to help hold onto nutrient's a bit longer,,,the soil's can peter out after a year or less.
Fine gravel with root tab's,water column fertilzing,is much less messy than soil and plant's can do fine with this approach.
So to answer the question,, does soil = faster growth? I have tried both way's and growth for me was about the same over the long haul, with perhap's a bit better growth intially from the soil depending on it's content (peat,clay, plain old top soil,Miracle Grow Organic potting mix.)
My biggest detriment is lack of CO2 injection or supplement's such as Excel,Glut,Easy carbo ,etc.
I am limited by low light, low tech method to less light demanding plant's which thereby require less CO2 to do well.Is the light being used that drives the demand for everything else.
roadmaster is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-08-2013, 04:15 AM   #9
discoveringmypath
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
discoveringmypath's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 315
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Nothing fast about low tech tank's in my view.Soil can provide nutrient's a bit quicker than plain inert gravel, but unless you mix in some clay with the soil to help hold onto nutrient's a bit longer,,,the soil's can peter out after a year or less.
Fine gravel with root tab's,water column fertilzing,is much less messy than soil and plant's can do fine with this approach.
So to answer the question,, does soil = faster growth? I have tried both way's and growth for me was about the same over the long haul, with perhap's a bit better growth intially from the soil depending on it's content (peat,clay, plain old top soil,Miracle Grow Organic potting mix.)
My biggest detriment is lack of CO2 injection or supplement's such as Excel,Glut,Easy carbo ,etc.
I am limited by low light, low tech method to less light demanding plant's which thereby require less CO2 to do well.Is the light being used that drives the demand for everything else.
I think I'm going to try a few options to see what works the best. I like the idea of the root tabs though, seems a lit cleaner, but dirted tanks seem to grow really nice.

I'm going to setup a rack of 4 40B tanks for growing eventually. I'm waiting for the next $1 per gallon sale though.

In the meantime, I'm going to test out different combinations of substrate to see which works the best and/or is the cleanest.

So I will have six tanks setup (4 10G's, a 20G, and a 29G). I think I'll do something like this:

Play sand and root tabs
Gravel and root tabs
fine gravel and root tabs

Play sand and dirt
Gravel and dirt
fine gravel and dirt

Since I have everything, it won't be that hard to do. I won't really be testing the same plant in each tank, but I think I will get a good general idea of what is working and what is not. All tanks will have high lighting, high co2, and dry ferts.

Just waiting for my CO2 tank to come in next week and then I can get started.
__________________
discoveringmypath is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-08-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
sadchevy
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: falmouth ,ky
Posts: 245
Default

Try STS(saf-t-sorb) and root tabs. Over the long run root tabs can get expensive unless you make them yourself. A plus to STS is that it doesn't make a huge mess when uprooting plants if done carefully, and it has great CEC.
__________________
125g makeover ,2x75g ,55g ,29g ,2x10g.........I got it bad
Fraternity of dirt #135 The 6 Foot Plus Club

sadchevy is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #11
discoveringmypath
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
discoveringmypath's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 315
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sadchevy View Post
Try STS(saf-t-sorb) and root tabs. Over the long run root tabs can get expensive unless you make them yourself. A plus to STS is that it doesn't make a huge mess when uprooting plants if done carefully, and it has great CEC.
I'll have to look into the sts.

I was thinking of using osmocote plus tabs. They aren't too expensive.



Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk
__________________
discoveringmypath is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-09-2013, 02:41 PM   #12
dzega
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Latvia, EU
Posts: 315
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post

Will plants grow just as fast with gravel and root tabs as they would with soil?
from my experience - no. they will grow better/faster in soil
dzega is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-10-2013, 03:58 AM   #13
discoveringmypath
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
discoveringmypath's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Texas
Posts: 315
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dzega View Post
from my experience - no. they will grow better/faster in soil
What about plants that don't depend upon the substrate as much. Like stem plants, Ferns and mosses?

Those should be fine without some kind of nutrient filled substrate right?
__________________
discoveringmypath is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-10-2013, 07:39 AM   #14
dzega
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Latvia, EU
Posts: 315
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
What about plants that don't depend upon the substrate as much. Like stem plants, Ferns and mosses?

Those should be fine without some kind of nutrient filled substrate right?
you can do just fine without nutrient rich soil by dosing water column. but if you ask if soil will benefit root feeders i say yes, definetly.
dzega is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #15
AHP
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 74
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
So I will have six tanks setup (4 10G's, a 20G, and a 29G). I think I'll do something like this:

Play sand and root tabs
Gravel and root tabs
fine gravel and root tabs

Play sand and dirt
Gravel and dirt
fine gravel and dirt

Since I have everything, it won't be that hard to do. I won't really be testing the same plant in each tank, but I think I will get a good general idea of what is working and what is not. All tanks will have high lighting, high co2, and dry ferts.

Just waiting for my CO2 tank to come in next week and then I can get started.
Have you started this yet or you waiting on tank sales?
AHP is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Tags
gravel, growing, planting, plants, substrate

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

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:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

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
Display Modes

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

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:53 AM.


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