Can I use a layer of potting mix under regular aquarium soil? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Can I use a layer of potting mix under regular aquarium soil?

Hello Guys,

I am setting a new 42 Gallon planted tank. The dimension of the tank are 30" L X 18" W X 18" H. So guys initially I was planning to use potting mix for my aquarium but as many people said it wont work, I ended up buying 2 bags of planted aquarium soil 8 Litres each making it 16 Litres in total but if I calculate required substate with 2" depth then it comes down to 18 litres for my aquarium. I also want my scape to be high in some areas so it will require even more soil.

My question is can I use 6-8 Kgs of potting mix under my aquarium soil layer so I dont need to buy another bag? Can it be done or will it cause any harm to original aquarium soil? Please guide me.

Thank You,
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 02:49 PM
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You will be better off by buying another bag of that aquarium soil.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 03:28 PM
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You can use potting soil under the standard bottom material like gravel or sand. The potting mixture must be organic, or any fish you put in the tank could die from dissolved toxins in the non organic mixtures. This can be a messy process and the nutrients in the soil only last a few months. Then, you need to find another way to fertilize the plants.


"The fish keeping hobby is very simple. Just change out a lot of water, a lot of the time!"
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 03:35 PM
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There are tons of ways to go and very few are totally wrong for all, nor are any of them totally right for all. SO what works will depend much on what else is going in the tank and what you want. Big sturdy plants that will grow in anything or fussy small plants that are more difficult? Do you have a specific idea or just working into it and need to see what works for you?
It can get down to personal things like why the will to do plants. I put the plants in to make the fish look better and I want large fish who do not do well with tiny so I am more inclined to simply add most anything on the bottom and use plants that do fine in that. Nothing real fussy needed and it all gets mixed after some time of digging, moving and sorting. Does the tank get built and stay as such for longer or does it go through change almost daily/weekly?
Do you favor a solid, one color, one type bottom like found at a beach or do you favor a more diverse, mixed bag like seen in rivers and creeks?
These are some things that only you can known and it does pay to think in the way that suits you personally. In my case, I often do simple and add a bit more of whatever feels right and let it all mix as my plants don't care and my mind looks for the mixed river/creek look.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 04:50 PM
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I have a 35g hex tank that I setup with nothing but 3+ inches of potting soil capped with gravel. It has been up and running for about a year. I guess it is good that I didnt know potting soil wouldnt wotk because my plants are growing like crazy and the guppies have reproduced so profusely that we have lost count of them.

Potting soil is working great for my! No ferts and no CO2.
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beginner, help me please, new aquarium, plant, substrate

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