Planted Tank Substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Planted Tank Substrate

Back at it with lots of questions, I do apologize!

What is the gold standard for planted tank substrate these days? I've used Seachem Flourite in the past, but I can only imagine there are a handful of other good candidates out there. Ideally I'd find something that doesn't breakdown as quickly and doesn't need to be replaced or added on a "regular" basis.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 02:31 PM
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In my opinion, the "Gold Standard" is ADA Aquasoil with ADA Power Sand Special as a base layer. Itís expensive as hell, but by a lot of accounts, itís worth it.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
In my opinion, the "Gold Standard" is ADA Aquasoil with ADA Power Sand Special as a base layer. Itís expensive as hell, but by a lot of accounts, itís worth it.
Use Dirt / natural soil. Its cheap and grows plants really well. I used Coco peat + Vermiculite as a substrate. It worked as a wonder in my 93.0 gallons
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 01:36 AM
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Use Dirt / natural soil. Its cheap and grows plants really well. I used Coco peat + Vermiculite as a substrate. It worked as a wonder in my 93.0 gallons
Dirt works, no doubt about it. It also comes with downfalls like difficulty pulling and replanting without breaking the cap and creating a total mess.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 09:43 PM
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There isn't really a "gold standard". The highest tech tanks these days often use completely inert substrate, making the substrate decision more a matter of aesthetics than anything. There appears to be a general consensus on this forum that fluorite-based substrates are a waste of money.

Substrate choice is less about aquarium quality and more about aquarium maintenance preferences. Non-inert substrates like aquasoil and dirt are used by people who want to reduce maintenance by mitigating/eliminating the need to add ferts. Dirt can even serve as a CO2 source.


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Dirt works, no doubt about it. It also comes with downfalls like difficulty pulling and replanting without breaking the cap and creating a total mess.

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It is of course easier to move plants in non-dirt substrate, but moving them in dirt is not all that bad. Cap breach can be avoided by using scissors to cut the plant roots under the substrate before pulling.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 10:06 PM
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I am a newbie at this game so maybe I am doing something wrong but ada amazonia soil really clouds up my tank if I pull a plant out. Seems worse than some of the dirted tanks I see people have. Most aqua soils are manufactured and sourced through the same wholesale manufacture it seems to me. For me the next soil that I will buy will be SAMURAI SOIL which claims to not crumble as much as ada soils and is much less murky. I suspect it is the same product as CAL BLACK EARTH which for all accounts I do not believe is sold to the US market. Mind you this is is just a speculation based on the general business practice of aquarium soils.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 10:28 PM
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Far and away the gold standard for planted tanks is ADA Aquasoil. Considering how often you change substrates the difference in price really amounts to very little.
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