General substrate questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-12-2018, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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General substrate questions

Hello so my approach to my planted tanks substrate was a base layer or fluval stratnum, with an equal layer or top soil on top of that. My question is was this a good idea or should I have added a layer of gravel on top of my soil? It's been filled running and planted for about a week now, I only ask because it seems like alot of tanks have a 'cap' or gravel or sand on top of the various substrates that are used. I do plan of having some bottom dwellers (mainly panda corys, and a number of shrimp) just want to make sure I won't hurt them with my setup. I've been wanting to post at least a picture of what I have so far but everytime I try the site won't let me...
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-15-2018, 05:05 PM
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You'll want a cap of some kind of gravel or sand or larger particle substrate because the topsoil won't settle without it. Every time you do a water change or move plants/decor you'll kick up the dirt and your tank will be brown and cloudy. Fish moving around will do the same thing. I'd flip your plan for the Fluval Stratum and topsoil. With substrate, what is going to happen is the largest particles will end up on top, and the smallest particles will settle on the very bottom. Eventually the Fluval Stratum will break down into dirt, but until that happens the particles will be bigger than the topsoil particles so I would suggest you not try to fight a losing battle with gravity and use the topsoil on the lowest layer.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 03:14 AM
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To add on top of what @babystarz said I would personally advice to cap the dirt with a layer of some sort of smooth sand for the panda corys. Corydoras like to root around in the substrate for food so some sort of sand would be great for them. If sand is not what you want I would at least have a smooth substrate that will not damage their little "whiskers". Pool filter sand would be the cheapest option, a fancier option would be CaribSea Super Naturals sand, they have a few different options.
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