Need additional Substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Need additional Substrate

Need help adding additional substrate to my existing 55 gallon planted fish tank. I recently decided to turn my freshwater aquarium into a planted tank. My fish are happy but I am tired of the artificial plants... live plants look so much nicer. I know it's more work but I'm willing to learn how to make it work. I recently purchased a T5 light and some plants, but purchased the plants before researching the light and substrate requirements for a planted tank.

I purchased myriophyllum hetrophyllum, micro sword, anacharis, and anubias hastifolia. My Buenos Aires Tetras ate my micro sword plants within two days, LOL Nice treat for the fish!

I'm finding that my plants are not firmly planted, my substrate is not firm enough. I have approx. 2 1/2" of substrate. The roots are not holding on to my substrate. I'm finding some of my bunch plants floating. Is there any way I can add additional substrate to my tank without disrupting my plants and fish, if so, what top substrate can I add. I am attaching a picture of the substrate that I currently have in my tank for the past four years. Suggestion, anyone!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 06:46 PM
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Since that gravel looks coarse, I'd do a complete substrate swap, personally. You can do that without having to completely re-cycle the tank as long as you're careful not to disturb your filters (don't clean them for at least a few weeks before and after the swap). Also, do a thorough gravel vacuum just before removing all the gravel to collect as much mulm as possible. Spread that mulm underneath all the new substrate and it will cycle the new substrate very quickly.

Just adding something to what you have now I don't think will work. First, the gravel will eventually end up on top anyways (so you'd still have issues with plants not rooting well), and you'd also end up with a really deep substrate. You don't want to exceed 2-3" with substrate, or else you run into the risk of developing anerobic spots that can produce toxic hydrogen sulfide.

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