Plants in gravel substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Plants in gravel substrate

I started my tank with gravel and decided to go with love plants. Looking back I wish I did a nutrient bases substrate. Will the plants still grow well enough in water/gravel or should I be supplementing them with something?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 02:52 PM
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I too am in the same situation you are, I have live plants in gravel. I am finding that the plants will do just ok, if they grow the growth will be very slow. Some plants just grow slow aswell, like java, fern. I am just starting to supplement my plants and i will have to let you know how it works out for me.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 02:52 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "love plants", unless that is a typo and you mean "live" plants.

If you do mean live plants, there are several options that you have with a gravel tank.

  1. Get plants that get their nutrients from the water column. Any floating plant (like frogbit) would fit well in this category. Depending on the plant, you might need to dose with a liquid fertilizer.
  2. Get slow-growing, low light plants that don't need many nutrients. Good examples of this are java fern and anubias plants.
  3. Plan on getting root tabs for your root-feeding plants. I have a sand substrate in my tank, and I use Seachem Flourish Root Tabs for my root-feeders, which include my amazon sword, my Italian vals, and my crinum calamistratum and crinum aquatica plants. I have also heard that osmocote plus tabs are good as well.
  4. Change the substrate.


I hope this helps!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 03:19 PM
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Most all aquatic plants can use nutrients from the water column.

As long as you provide root tabs in your gravel and dose nutrients as needed (depending upon the plants you have), you'll be fine with your current substrate.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 03:36 PM
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Another option is adding something like pure laterite, turface or clay, anything that will improve you Cat Ion exchange ratio. This will allow your substrate to hold onto more nutrients for your plants to use.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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To be honest I have no idea what the names are of the plants in there now.

I believe its java moss on the tree and a moss ball to the left. Not sure about the other 2 on the right. How often would you put root tabs in the tank?

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 07:23 PM
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Looks like Crypt Parva and Cabomba on the right.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherHobby View Post
Looks like Crypt Parva and Cabomba on the right.
Thank you!


Is there any other plants you would recommend for a gravel substrate tank?


My next one will be a soil base but I have to work with what I have for now
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 09:40 PM
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Looks like you're off to a great start.

Your Crypt parva will do much better if you remove it from that rock wool mound and plant it in your substrate.

Just about any plant will work for you providing you have proper ferts and such. Easy stems like Bacopa monnieri and plants like Anubias nana 'petite' will grow really well with just root tabs.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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What do you recommend for ferts? I have never used them? Liquid or root tabs?


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 11:22 PM
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Root tabs are all you'll need for your current plants and low light stems, most likely.


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