How successful can pea gravel be? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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How successful can pea gravel be?

I currently have a decent low tech planted tank in natural sand. I'm aware natural sand is definitely not the best for roots but I've still managed to get some good growth using fertiliser and root tabs to provide the nutrition and the plants have actually don't quite well. I'm considering swapping it out for a different substrate. The tank I'm doing this with is my smaller tank which is a Juwel Rio 240 the latest style with the LED lighting just to give an idea on size and lighting. I've seen and been told of many options like ADA and Fluval Stratum, which I'm not keen on as they do just turn to mud and become exhausted after a while, the other is pond soil with a capping layer, I have tried the capped soil method in the past and it was just too messy for me. So these methods as good as they may be for some I want to give them a miss.
I've found some 2-4MM pea gravel and feel that with the right fertiliser to the water colum and enough nutrition provided via root tabs as I've been doing with the sand it should at least work better then sand for root growth, in turn being a better substrate for plant growth.
I'm not looking to achieve an aqua scape stye pretty tank just a healthy wild mixed dense plant mass for my fish to live amongst, I'd like to know what do you think of 2-4mm pea gravel for planting and general opinions of how successful it could possibly be.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 03:20 AM
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I would make sure and soak some to test for ph drop. Pea gravel can be kind of difficult to plant in as well. The measurements you are describing is pretty fine though, so it might work well. The pea gravel I see around here (at the landscape supply yard) looks to be about 4-8mm. Water column dosing should be fine.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 03:25 AM
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When aquasoil breaks down after a few years, you just add another layer of new aquasoil to it.

get out of my house
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Brendan Silver View Post
I currently have a decent low tech planted tank in natural sand. I'm aware natural sand is definitely not the best for roots but I've still managed to get some good growth using fertiliser and root tabs to provide the nutrition and the plants have actually don't quite well. I'm considering swapping it out for a different substrate. The tank I'm doing this with is my smaller tank which is a Juwel Rio 240 the latest style with the LED lighting just to give an idea on size and lighting. I've seen and been told of many options like ADA and Fluval Stratum, which I'm not keen on as they do just turn to mud and become exhausted after a while, the other is pond soil with a capping layer, I have tried the capped soil method in the past and it was just too messy for me. So these methods as good as they may be for some I want to give them a miss.
I've found some 2-4MM pea gravel and feel that with the right fertiliser to the water colum and enough nutrition provided via root tabs as I've been doing with the sand it should at least work better then sand for root growth, in turn being a better substrate for plant growth.
I'm not looking to achieve an aqua scape stye pretty tank just a healthy wild mixed dense plant mass for my fish to live amongst, I'd like to know what do you think of 2-4mm pea gravel for planting and general opinions of how successful it could possibly be.
Hi @Brendan Silver,

Welcome to TPT!

Yes, you can have a successful planted aquarium with 'pea gravel'.

45 gallon (36X12X24 high), 96 watt CFL, DIY CO2, Seachem Ferts
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 05:59 AM
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I think with pretty much any inert substrate, you're fine as long as you use root tabs and water column ferts to compensate.

Finer texture seems to work better for fine roots, large texture for large roots.

I'm preparing to switch from gravel to sand myself (just picked up my Black Diamond today, still gotta wash it and then do the tank teardown/reset) because I can't get thin stem plants or small carpets to stay down in the larger particles.

It's all coming down to what you like best, and what suits your needs.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AguaScape View Post
I would make sure and soak some to test for ph drop. Pea gravel can be kind of difficult to plant in as well. The measurements you are describing is pretty fine though, so it might work well. The pea gravel I see around here (at the landscape supply yard) looks to be about 4-8mm. Water column dosing should be fine.
yes I've used fine gravel years and years ago when I was totally new to keeping an aquarium, I've coarse sand at 1-3mm and pea gravel at 2-4mm and as I've been using sand the difference between the two is very minimal so I assume it can't be that much in difference. Just need a set of plating tweezers I suppose!

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Quote:
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I currently have a decent low tech planted tank in natural sand. I'm aware natural sand is definitely not the best for roots but I've still managed to get some good growth using fertiliser and root tabs to provide the nutrition and the plants have actually don't quite well. I'm considering swapping it out for a different substrate. The tank I'm doing this with is my smaller tank which is a Juwel Rio 240 the latest style with the LED lighting just to give an idea on size and lighting. I've seen and been told of many options like ADA and Fluval Stratum, which I'm not keen on as they do just turn to mud and become exhausted after a while, the other is pond soil with a capping layer, I have tried the capped soil method in the past and it was just too messy for me. So these methods as good as they may be for some I want to give them a miss.
I've found some 2-4MM pea gravel and feel that with the right fertiliser to the water colum and enough nutrition provided via root tabs as I've been doing with the sand it should at least work better then sand for root growth, in turn being a better substrate for plant growth.
I'm not looking to achieve an aqua scape stye pretty tank just a healthy wild mixed dense plant mass for my fish to live amongst, I'd like to know what do you think of 2-4mm pea gravel for planting and general opinions of how successful it could possibly be.
Hi @Brendan Silver,

Welcome to TPT!

Yes, you can have a successful planted aquarium with 'pea gravel'.

45 gallon (36X12X24 high), 96 watt CFL, DIY CO2, Seachem Ferts
awesome and that's just a fine pea gravel?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-04-2019 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 02:39 PM
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awesome and that's just a fine pea gravel?
Hi @Brendan Silver,

Yes, just 'Pea Gravel' - specifically Cemex Monterrey Lapis Luster Sand either #3 or #2/12 size....I forget. Equipment was a Aquaclear 50 HOB (hang on back) filter (best type for feeding DIY CO2 into a tank), undergravel filter, heater.

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