Odd thing with substrate/plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Odd thing with substrate/plants

Recently I set up a tank using CaribSea Sunset Gold sand which as far as I know, is completely inert. Well, so far... My plants haven't been doing too bad in it. I planted the tank about two weeks ago. The crypts I planted melted a little but on almost each one there is a new leaf sprouting. The Jungle val that I planted had a runner coming from it when I bought it but the runner itself is growing bigger. Madagascar Lace plant is also growing nicely.

So... I've used Eco complete in the past. And plants kinda grew... And I've also used inert gravel. They never grew.

Is there something beneficial about sand? Why are my plants doing decently as opposed to an actual plant substrate? I'm really curious about this. And I haven't been doing ferts or anything yet either
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 12:47 AM
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There are about 15 elements plants need to grow. Most of them are metals with 5 being classified as non metals. If you don't fertilize the water with these plant growth will slow, may eventually stop, and possibly the plant may eventually die. If you add a good fertilizer to the water growth can stay good all the time. Your substrate may actually have some nutrients but eventually the substrate nutrients will run out.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 04:57 PM
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CaribSea Sunset gold is inert however organic matter accumulates in the substrate with time, from fish excrements, plant matter etc.


Plants and algae grower.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 08:09 PM
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As you've noted, all three of the named substrates are inert, but there's more to a substrate than mineral content. You might have better luck with sand because it's a softer, easier material for roots to grow through than gravel. Also, different substrates will hold fish waste in in different ways: in gravel, the mulm can sink to the bottom of your tank, where as with sand it might get embedded higher up closer to young roots. Sand is also very easy to push plants into. The rough, low-suction texture of gravel can damage the stems and roots of newly purchased plants, giving them a difficult early start.

Under other circumstances there are also advantages to gravel: aggressive fish have a harder time uprooting plants in it, the risk of anaerobic activity can be less, as well as some some special advantages for people who use dirt. My only point is that the nutrient-content aside, there are many ways in which just the shape and mass of substrate can impact growth.
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