Advice on aquarium substrate in my 74g tower aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Advice on aquarium substrate in my 74g tower aquarium

I’m hoping you guys can help me out. I can keep plants alive but they aren’t thriving like I feel they should be. I have the following plants and fish housed in a established (2yr) 74g tower aquarium (24X24X30) with a 7g sump filtration, Titan Controls Automated C02 Injection, and a Fluval 3.0 Plant Light.

Plants:
anacharis
echinodorus peruensis sward
water lily bulb (not planted yet)

Fish:
15 cardinal/neon tetras
5 discus
3 siamese algae eaters
2 golden algae eaters
1 panda coy
1 twig catfish
1 black ghost knife
1 spotted congo puffer


I’m wanting to maximize my plant growth for nitrate removal and simulate a natural freshwater environment. I’m contemplating taking the water, plants, fish, and gravel out of my tank and adding 1.5 of Fluval Stratum Plant Substrate to the bottom of the tank and putting my existing pea gravel back in on top of it and putting everything back in..... would this be worth the doing?

My ph runs somewhere between 7.3 to 7.6, would the Stratum Substrate cause issues the ph and hardness of my water and is it safe to add my fish back after I’ve added Stratum and my tank has cycled for a hour or so? Any input would greatly appreciated. I attached a picture to give you guys a idea of what I’m dealing with.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thack82 View Post
I知 hoping you guys can help me out. I can keep plants alive but they aren稚 thriving like I feel they should be. I have the following plants and fish housed in a established (2yr) 74g tower aquarium (24X24X30) with a 7g sump filtration, Titan Controls Automated C02 Injection, and a Fluval 3.0 Plant Light.

Plants:
anacharis
echinodorus peruensis sward
water lily bulb (not planted yet)

Fish:
15 cardinal/neon tetras
5 discus
3 siamese algae eaters
2 golden algae eaters
1 panda coy
1 twig catfish
1 black ghost knife
1 spotted congo puffer


I知 wanting to maximize my plant growth for nitrate removal and simulate a natural freshwater environment. I知 contemplating taking the water, plants, fish, and gravel out of my tank and adding 1.5 of Fluval Stratum Plant Substrate to the bottom of the tank and putting my existing pea gravel back in on top of it and putting everything back in..... would this be worth the doing?

My ph runs somewhere between 7.3 to 7.6, would the Stratum Substrate cause issues the ph and hardness of my water and is it safe to add my fish back after I致e added Stratum and my tank has cycled for a hour or so? Any input would greatly appreciated. I attached a picture to give you guys a idea of what I知 dealing with.
First off, welcome! This is a pretty great forum with a wide variety of very knowledable people. Questions here will often get multiple opinions giving you various avenues to achieving your goal.

Anyway, to answer your question would adding fluval stratum likely help? Yeah it probably would. Does it affect ph and hardness? Yes it will do that as well. Will it be safe for your fish? Yes it should be safe for your fish, while ph and hardness will be slightly affected it shouldn't be so crazy that your fish will suffer.

Now to answer the question you didn't ask. What should you do with your existing substrate? My answer is throw it away. Pea gravel is way way way too big for plants and is almost certainly the reason you are not seeing better growth. Plants thrive in substrate with granules 1-3mm. Pea gravel tends to be around 8-15 mm in diameter. So too large. You can just use fluval stratum by itself as a substrate. If you don't like the look of an active substrate such as stratum (and I sure don't) you can cap it with something else such as pool filter sand or very small sized gravel if you prefer.

Other things to consider is adding fertilizer. Your anacharis is a pretty hardy plant and will survive only with the waste your fish produce, but it will grow even better if you add in at least some micros such as flourish and preferably a complete solution such as Thrive.

Hopefully this helps. Good luck!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all your help. I’ve been using the Level-1 Seachem Fundamentals Plant Pack that has Flourish, Flourish Excel, and Flourish Iron. Will using the Spectrum Substrate cause problems or mineral toxicity where I’ve been adding the Seachem Plant Pack? I know the spotted congo puffers are extremely sensitive to the water parameters. They require a ph of 6.5 to 7.8, a dh of 10-20, and nitrate 10-20ppt. So I’m hoping the substrate used with the Flourish products I’ve been using won’t cause any issues. I appreciate the help.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 10:23 PM
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I値l add that your way overstocked.

Ghost knife is not appropriate for a aquarium with only a a 24x24 foot print. It gets up 18 on average. Find another home for it, preferably at least one with 48x24 footprint.

Puffer, it痴 also at odds with your other tank inhabitants. Wants fast moving water which is opposite of what discus and cardinals want. Also high temp discus require is also not really to puffers liking.

I値l defer to @Discusluv as to wether a 24x24 footprint tank is appropriate for 5 discus but think that痴 pushing the limits as well.

But anyway with that many fish, both discus and puffer being high waste producers it痴 no wonder you have nitrate problems. Being pea gravel basically traps waste in between grains it is also keeping waste from being swept up from bottom and carried to filter where mechanical filtration can collect waste and then you can remove that waste from tank before it breaks down into nitrates by cleaning filter pads regularly. Take turkey baster and blow into existing pea gravel, think you be amazed at how much waste you blow up, it痴 just setting in there fueling tanks nitrate buildup.

This is Caribsea Peace River, it痴 perfects 1-3mm size. You could mix this with your existing pea and come up with a viable,attractive, plant tank friendly inert substrate mix. You could also add some safeTsorb as a higher CEC root zone enriching additive. Many people use safetsorb all by itself.


On the stratum and other soil based substrate, they will buffer and adjust your PH down which will be fine. But also be aware that they will need to be replaced about every 2-3yrs. Inert substrates like sand, fluorite and safetsorb are viable for a decade at least. Many ways you can set up a planted tanks substrate, you just need to find one that痴 right for you.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 01:51 AM
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Will the Fluvel stratum leech ammonia? Adding new, active soil to a tank already housed with fish-- especially sensitive ones-- does not seem like a very good idea to me.


OP- Are you having issues with high nitrates in this tank?


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