Fluval stratum with gravel
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:48 AM   #1
Blue angel
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Fluval stratum with gravel


I'm curious, if I have gravel(mixed sized from bb-nickel size) and my plants are growing. But having trouble getting anchored, can Fluval Stratum or some other substrate be used just around the plants themselves to help them get a foothold? The swords, and sturdier crypts(parva and ciliata) are getting knocked around and keep floating to the top. The reason I mention the Fluval substrat is because I just got some today, but I still want to be able to siphon the bare spots in the tank where I can. Any advise is welcome.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:44 AM   #2
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I also considered "mulching" the plants with bits of driftwood. Does that sound like a possibility?
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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I do not think the driftwood would work.
I would redo the tank, Fluval stratum on the bottom and gravel cap. I have done that with plant substrates that were a bit too lightweight, though, and the gravel tends to mix.

If your goal is to be able to deep vacuum the tank, then put the plants in containers of good soil (The Fluval stratum) and surround them with gravel. Gravel on top of the containers can hide the finer material so fish do not dig it out, and hide it from sight.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:20 PM   #4
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Do the plants get a good grip in that type of soil? I'm used to outdoor gardening and I keep trying to imagine/find a substrate with weight that is porous enough that the roots can grab into it(the way clay and sand work with gardening soil outdoors) I prefer to have substrate that wont be siphoned easily because I use the sink attached Python, and I don't want to clog the sink. I live in a pretty old house that likes to break if I look at it wrong. So I'm trying to avoid any problems ahead of time.
Some of the plants are well established and I'm hoping I don't have to pot them. Though it's am option.
Would lava rock or fluorite allow for root development? Maybe I'm crazy trying things backwards, but I was so sure something would work.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:44 AM   #5
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In my experience, the fluval stratum can be a pain when planting smaller plants, but once the plant gets established it grows well and takes on a good hold to the substrate.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:00 AM   #6
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Do you think once the plants take root they will hold the substrate in place? I want both plant and substrate to secure one another if possible. I also wouldn't mind if the Fluval works it's way under the gravel over time.
So far I was considering a fistful of Fluval at the base of each plant the same way I do for outdoor plants. Then let time and gravity adjust it. Ideally I want the substrate to help hold the plants down. But it being lightweight makes me think it's going to be a challenge. I also siphon any bare areas in the gravel and I want to continue to do so until the plants fill it in.
I'm working with dinky LEDs that don't even light up the whole tank.(it's the one Marineland sold built into a nice looking hood that's impossible to remove) so I'm looking at least another several months just to get one side planted:/
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:39 AM   #7
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The plants will definitely hold the substrate in place. If you do want to mix the stratum and some gravel I recommend going with something similar in color and shape. A year ago I attempted to have a division between some off-white sand and some stratum..Today it's a mixed mess and although I wouldn't mind having both mixed together (like you're describing), I'm personally not a huge fan of the salt and pepper look. lol

I have to say I've been really happy with fluval stratum. If your only concern is the substrate being lightweight the only potential problem I could think of would be having your filter flow pointed directly to the bottom of the tank on max-power.. As with any other substrate though that would cause your tank to dust up. Another potential problem I can think of is (like I had previously mentioned) planting small plants like HC which can easily fall out and float up. Unless you plant them in chunks or do the dry start method. Besides that it works like a charm Hope that answers your questions, feel free to pm me!
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:30 PM   #8
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That makes me feel a little better about it. Also I've heard of people having to change substrates after a period of time. Will I need to change this substrate after a while? I would prefer to leave it permanently if it wouldn't cause any problems.
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