Best low maintenance substrate? Flourite or Flourite Sand + others?
I'm planning a large low maintenance planted tank. And I would like to have a good plant substrate which requires as little work as possible!?!
As the planting would very dense and the entire bottom would be densely planted, I would prefer something which grows plants very well, doesn't require additions of root tabs, doesn't need gravel vacuuming, doesn't require stirring up on occasion, isn't going to collect detritus unnecessarily, and isn't likely to turn anoxic. Such a thing exist?
I definitely prefer a black substrate as it doesn't show staining or accumulation of detritus, and serves as a great base colour to contrast the vivid colours of plants, and I was thinking that an average of 3" deep would be most appropriate, which would therefore probably slope from 2" to 4".
I was thinking black flourite sand as it's easy to plant in and doesn't let droppings and food collect between grains therefore making them more likely to be washed into the filter intake by the current. I was worried that it might be too light though in case I have medium size fish picking around the bottom which might pull out the groundcover planting too easily, (be it dwarf hairgrass or something else).
In regards to the danger of anoxia, I wasn't sure if it was potentially better to have a fine sand substrate such as flourite sand to try and keep any detritus out of the substrate, or have a more course substrate such as flourite which might have more stuff collect in it but would potentially still allow a bit more water current to flow through it? Anyone have any experience on this?
I don't want to layer any substrates as I'd inevitably disturb it, but I wouldn't mind mixing say flourite and something such as Eco Complete if the flourite is too inert and would require root tabs to be added regularly. And I might mix the substrate with small grained black gravel if 100% flourite substrate is unnecessary.
I'd probably be growing some heavy root feeders like Giant Vallisneria, swordplants, and Crypts so I'd prefer that the substrate and gradually decomposing fish waste be able to fertilize the plants naturally. I'd aim for medium lighting, moderate pressurized CO2, moderate current, and regular dosing with liquid fertilizers.
I've also heard that Malaysian Trumpet Snails are good for keeping substrate naturally mixed, but I kind of detest snails and it sounds as if many have had nasty infestations of the little buggers. And I'm not sure if they'd disturb any plants such as dwarf hairgrass lawns too much.
Thanks for any advice!