Gravel over or under Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Gravel over or under Substrate?

I have a 20 Gal with Tetras doing really well for 4 months, with both an under gravel and a 150 GPH external canister filter.. want to start planted tank tho, and the drift wood, Echo Complete and Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum arrive today.

I like to know

1.) if I should disrupt the tank a lot by removing the under gravel filter,
2.) can I leave the under-gravel filter as-is and just pour the substrate in OVER the gravel and around the drift wood?
3. If I should remove or push the gravel aside, and put the substrate in UNDER the pea sized ( fairly large) gravel you see in this photo?

Which Please?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 07:19 PM
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If you mix the stratum and eco with your existing gravel, it will settle to the bottom since it is smaller grains. I would remove the UGF and the current gravel, then monitor water parameters for a week or so, checking ammonia and nitrites, just to make sure you didn't cause a mini cycle. More water changes might be needed after pulling the current substrate. Also, vacuum it very well before disturbing it, that way you're minimizing the detritus being stirred into the water column.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-09-2018, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for the quick reply .. may I ask two questions: 1.) why you would remove the UGF?
I have some concern about it snagging the root structure should I need to move any plants around much later once they fill in in a few weeks..

But why would you remove the gravel? I'd prefer to keep it, even tho it's probably not a great substrate for root feeding plants compared to the others .. but is there some other good reason to remove it, rather than simply pouring the Eco and Fluval over it and allow the three types to mix?

Just curious, and again thanks for your recommendation.. this is my 1st planted tank, so I have no clue..
Regards. JimS
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Mgeorges didn't reply ( above), but that's Ok.. I do appreciate his help and any one else's here if you would like to share some tips..

I just wanted to update anyone interested with what I wound up doing with my new tank.

I decided to remove the under gravel filter because I wanted a bit more room in the tank and didn't want the roots to clog in its grate later. I did use the two new substrates (EcoComplete over Fluval Stratum) and did place the original gravel and new driftwood over them. The water got really cloudy in the process of scooping out all the old gravel into a bucket.. My 18 fish went nuts... but they all survived the ordeal.. and are doing just fine now.

The plants seem very happy for now (to me) and I do expect to prune and move a few around since a couple aren't getting the best light. Please leave any comments if you care to.. I worry that I may have too much water flow thru my canister filter .. is that possible?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 10:23 PM
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Looks good.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 02:28 AM
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Your tank looks real good. As mentioned above, your substrate will stratify do the finest particles of eco complete will end up at bottom, then middle sized and then your stratum or gravel on top.
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