substrate for a very large aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-14-2020, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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substrate for a very large aquarium

I am considering purchasing a very large aquarium (8 ft by 3ft by 2ft tall) to keep mostly tetras and other small fish. However, I wish to also keep plants in the aquarium. I have lots of experience with fish keeping and some with plants. However, i am getting back into the hobby after a very long forced absence. I would like to grown swords, some crypts, red and green stem plants and some carpet plants. I plan on keeping the water soft with a PH of about 6.6 and temp about 78.

I would like some substrate suggestions. I need a substrate that will last for years. I don't mean its fertilization, I can always add root tabs and liquid fertilizer. However, I cannot change substrate due to algae in it. So, I am leary of aqua soil type substrates like Amazonia, even version 2. I am considering eco-complete planted, but I have heard that carpet plants may have difficulty growing in it. I plan a substrate of about 4 inches. Money is not a problem. So what substrate would you advise?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-14-2020, 06:50 PM
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I use Black Diamond Blasting sand in my tanks now. Its inert, but looks great and is affordable. Spend the extra cash on plants, or wood, or anything else.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-14-2020, 07:00 PM
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I am assuming you are doing low-tech?
In my 180 I have a layer of Eco-complete, a layer of Rhizomat ( I have geophagus, so didn't want them uncovering rhizomat and disturbing Eco-complete base) and a thicker layer of Caribsea Crystal River sand. In October this will have been set-up for 4 years. I just use root -tabs and sporadic, light liquid fertilizer dosing. I forget the liquids more than I remember and rely heavily on root tabs.

Here is the tank when first set up substrate/hardscape:


About a year later:


3 years later:
some of the Eco-complete has moved up to top layer, but not too much:


Most recent picture:
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