What?s the Best Substrate 4 planted Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Whatís the Best Substrate 4 planted Tank

Iím looking for the best option substrate for my 75g tank. Itís got to be for a planted tank. I want the best strong, high nutrient substrate that I donít have to replace anytime soon that will be perfect for all kinds of plants and also safe for bottom feeders like coreyís and weather loaches.

Thereís so much to choose from. I donít want to get weak brittle substrate thatís will just crumble with a gravel cleaner and something bottom feeders can dig around in.

Any ideas?
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 03:16 PM
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For long term use you should look into Fluorite or Eco-complete. Both can grow plants very well, I think Fluorite Sand would be the safest for bottom dwellers.

That said, blasting sand, pool filter sand or fine regular aquarium gravel can be fine in a planted tank over many many years

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 04:55 PM
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Long term go with eco complete
It's well rounded

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 05:20 PM
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Is Eco Complete also a good choice if you want to have shrimp or would Fluval Stratum be better ?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 05:46 PM
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Eco Complete, Sand, Flourite -- all of these aren't "high nutrient" or nutrient at all really. Basically, if you want a nutrient rich substrate you'll need to decide between dirt and the other planted tank substrates (like ADA Aquasoil or Stratum).

I would really think about how long you want the tank to be running and if you'll be rescapeing/moving plants around. I use BDBS in my larger tanks that I rescape often, as it doesn't make a mess when I start uprooting plants. In my smaller tanks, I use Aquasoil. I grow the same plants in both my tanks, the BDBS I just have to supplement nutrients with osmocote root tabs every 4-6 months.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 06:06 PM
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Is Eco Complete also a good choice if you want to have shrimp or would Fluval Stratum be better ?
Neos it's fine. Stratum or some other buffering substrate if you want caridina.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 06:27 PM
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In a previous tank life my aquarium had eco-complete only (now Amazonia). Unfortunately, it eventually rubbed the barbells off of the clown loaches and corys I kept at different times. Good plant growth though.

Amozonia and other similar products work very well for this purpose, the pellets (?) are spherical. Unless you have an intense bio load I'm not sure you'll have a need to be vigorously cleaning the gravel.

Do some research on how long substrates last under certain conditions. I've read that with proper care they can last ten years or so. Haven't had any tanks set up that long, can't personally attest to that.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-21-2018, 01:49 PM
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ADA is one of the best choices for a planted tank but may not be suitable for some livestock because of its acidity. I'm using New Amazonia and this stuff is super acidic. My pH has been buffering around 4.75 for 2 months now. In fact I just checked this morning and its at 4.69. Maybe I just got a bad batch but not hard to believe because I've been inflicted by Murphy's Law syndrome since I was born. Anyhow, my pure line crystal red shrimps don't seem to mind though. Their shells actually thickened, the whites much whiter and the reds more intense in this super low pH environment. Looking even better than when they were in the LFS tank where I bought them from.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-22-2018, 02:14 AM
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ADA is one of the best choices for a planted tank but may not be suitable for some livestock because of its acidity. I'm using New Amazonia and this stuff is super acidic. My pH has been buffering around 4.75 for 2 months now. In fact I just checked this morning and its at 4.69. Maybe I just got a bad batch but not hard to believe because I've been inflicted by Murphy's Law syndrome since I was born. Anyhow, my pure line crystal red shrimps don't seem to mind though. Their shells actually thickened, the whites much whiter and the reds more intense in this super low pH environment. Looking even better than when they were in the LFS tank where I bought them from.
Wow 4.69? I think that's more a problem because in the lab test Ada Amazonia pH is 5.73 and in water it's 6.83. Something else may be buffering your water. But it's working well for you
Other than that it's a 1+ for ADA Amazonia aqua soil.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-22-2018, 01:23 PM
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Wow 4.69? I think that's more a problem because in the lab test Ada Amazonia pH is 5.73 and in water it's 6.83. Something else may be buffering your water. But it's working well for you
Other than that it's a 1+ for ADA Amazonia aqua soil.
ADA Amazonia has a pH between 5 to 6. Here is the link to the journal to support this: NATURE AQUARIUM NOTES #1 Something You Should Know about the Character of Amazonia | ADA - AQUA JOURNAL

My RODI water has a very low pH. Its between 5.5 to 5.9 and my tap water has a pH around 7.30. I have a small piece of Malaysian driftwood (about 2" wide and 8" long) and one almond leaf in the 17 gallon tank. I don't think the driftwood and leaf would make much of a difference in lowering pH. I'm guessing the Amazonia in my tank is abnormally very acidic.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-22-2018, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SeerKing View Post
Iím looking for the best option substrate for my 75g tank. Itís got to be for a planted tank. I want the best strong, high nutrient substrate that I donít have to replace anytime soon that will be perfect for all kinds of plants and also safe for bottom feeders like coreyís and weather loaches.

Thereís so much to choose from. I donít want to get weak brittle substrate thatís will just crumble with a gravel cleaner and something bottom feeders can dig around in.

Any ideas?

I think this video is probably the best answer to that question.

https://youtu.be/3mLr0ZUZQ6s


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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Alright Iíll take a look into all of these Iím thinking the ADA aqua soil sounds good I just need to research a little more on itís texture and strength. I plan on having this tank for a long time/ years but would like the abilit To rescape if need be.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:03 PM
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After switching to Black Diamond Blasting sand I will never go back to anything like Eco-Complete or Flourite again. It is 100 times easier to plant in BDBS. I don't notice any difference in root growth or anything else.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:21 PM
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I've got 100's of pounds of black flourite and EC in my tanks. The only difference I see in the 2 is the water and pouch of bacteria that comes in the EC. I like the look but they are horrible to plant in. I will never buy either again.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SeerKing View Post
I’m looking for the best option substrate for my 75g tank. It’s got to be for a planted tank. I want the best strong, high nutrient substrate that I don’t have to replace anytime soon...

Any ideas?
Unfortunately these two qualities work against each other. Active substrates expire. Way quicker if you're not using RO water.
Everybody is different, but I'd CRINGE at the idea of having to break a tank down in +/-2 years just because my substrate expired. I also don't keep any hard to grow stuff that needs it. Personally inert substrates (BDBS, pool sand, etc) and water column dosing is what has worked best for me. More consistency in the long run with less labor, IMO

more info on different substrates: www.plantedtank.net/forums/29-substrate/153412-substrate-choices-pros-cons.html
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