I'm transferring the contents of my desktop 5-gallon to a 7-gallon and in the process, I am going to upgrade my substrate. In the 5-gallon, I currently have a single 2" layer of enamel-coated gravel (don't worry, not clown puke), average size is about 10mm diameter.
I know that's way too big, but I have substrate spawners (WCMMs) that I can't remove from the tank (it's an office tank, so space is at a premium) so I wanted the eggs to have spaces to "fall between the cracks" to at least have a fighting chance.
Right now, I only have a Sword (I know it will outgrow the tank, but pruning relieves stress, and there is a lot of stress around here sometimes) that seems to be growing nicely with a lot of new growth at the base, although I can see a little algae starting to colonize. I have some Java Fern and some other stuff that Aquaphish sent me, and those will all eventually become residents here as well. They are getting totally eaten at home (goldfish tank).
I'm not really looking for anything fancy... just something that's "alive" in my office other than me.
In my 7-gallon, I plan on using a fine layer of peat. I've been soaking the peat in a cup on my desk for over a week and grossing out my visitors.
It is nicely waterlogged with some nice carmel-colored water.
I'm going to pour out the water when I finally put the peat in the tank.
Above the peat, I was going to put a 1" layer of finer gravel (about 5mm average diameter), and then use the 10mm gravel on top of that. Because the 7-gallon has more floorspace, the layer of 10mm gravel will probably be thinned-out to about 1" or-so.
An alternative to having 3 layers (peat-5mm-10mm), I was thinking-of mixing the 5mm gravel with the 10mm gravel. There would be about 2 parts of 5mm gravel to every 1 part of 10mm gravel. Then layer the mixture on top of the peat. Color is not a concern, both the 5mm and the 10mm gravel are the same color.
I just wanted to get people's opinions.