Not sure if substrate is for me & should go back to gravel?
I bought a tank months ago and still haven't bought fish. Started by using gravel, getting the biological function going, making it look nice with plastic plants, and then decided I like the look of aquascaping videos on youtube with substrate.
I liked how an aquarium looked in a store with plants, substrate but no gravel on the top, and bought a big bag of the substrate she told me they used.
Then in Petworld the assistant didn't seem to know about the substrate they sold, and just repeated what a bag said about how it has nutrients for good plant growth, so I bought a small bag of that. Then put the small bag of substrate at the back of the tank where I wanted plants to grow bigger, and rest of tank that I want short grass like plants, I put the big bag that the store said is the same as their planted tank with just substrate and no gravel on top.
Not sure what I did wrong, but filled tank with water and the water was muddy and stayed muddy for about a week, until it started to clear. Was too scared of putting the filter on for fear of ruining it. Then I started wondering if the water would go muddy every time water is changed, and it seemed more dirty than gravel, as you can vacuum gravel. Doesn't seem as if it would be safe for fish if water keeps going muddy.
Also what happens to fish excrement with substrate? It seems to be too dirty to me, and thinking of going back to gravel again. Wondering if aquascaping is more for experts and substrate isn't for me?
What happens to fish poo if you use substrate and no gravel on the top? Is it difficult to keep clean?
If I did put gravel on top of substrate, can't fish poo still go through the gravel? How do others keep it clean?
Maybe I can come to a compromise by having gravel but planted pots and those plants that grow on wood? If anybody has tips for a compromise with a planted gravel tank that would be great, thanks.