substrate for a beginner's small tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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substrate for a beginner's small tank?

I've decided to make the transition to live plants in my 10 gallon betta + ghost shrimp tank. I've been using regular aquarium gravel from the local petsmart, and I don't know what I should do when I get my plants...Right now I only have a java fern and moss ball, so it's not really a problem (because the java fern is tied to rock), but I have anubias, dwarf sag, and java moss coming. What's the simplest solution so I can have healthy, growing/propagating dwarf sag? I've also ordered some root tabs, as my plan was to just add that in the gravel. Would that work? I'd rather not empty my entire tank and completely change my substrate...Would mixing in some laterite work well?

Also, I use flourish comprehensive, but no co2.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:29 PM
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Easy = Short term satisfaction. If you go through the hassle and change out your gravel to something like eco-complete or fluorite you and your plants will be much happier in the long run.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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If I got a 7kg (15.4lb) bag of Flourite and used that as the only substrate, would that be sufficient for the 10 gallon?

Would I just need to empty the tank and replace the gravel? Is there a waiting period necessary until I could put my fish back in the tank?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 12:50 AM
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If I got a 7kg (15.4lb) bag of Flourite and used that as the only substrate, would that be sufficient for the 10 gallon?

Would I just need to empty the tank and replace the gravel? Is there a waiting period necessary until I could put my fish back in the tank?

You can use just about anything as long as it will hold down your plants. I would go for a min. of 2" deep for the substrate. I prefer sand / root tabs myself (root medic root tabs are awesome) although I have used an eco complete type substrate as well. Some go the dirt method and use organic potting soil (which has its own challenges there)

I am in the process of ripping out my "aqua flora" substrate in favor of sand at the moment.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 01:02 AM
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You can use just about anything as long as it will hold down your plants. I would go for a min. of 2" deep for the substrate. I prefer sand / root tabs myself (root medic root tabs are awesome) although I have used an eco complete type substrate as well. Some go the dirt method and use organic potting soil (which has its own challenges there)

I am in the process of ripping out my "aqua flora" substrate in favor of sand at the moment.
Just the person I need to talk to lol. Im setting up a 10 gallon planted tank and have has some issues deciding on which substrate im going to use. I was originally going to use eco complete but no one in my area seems to get it in stock regularly. Here in the last few nights I've been thinking about going with sand instead. Do you use your sand as a cap or do you use straight sand? If I would go with straight sand what supplements would I have to give my plants? Or is it better to use some kind of other substrate and use sand as a cap? Also are there any benefits to using sand over other gravels for plants? I would appreciate any knowledge you might have lol. Thank you.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battered View Post
If I got a 7kg (15.4lb) bag of Flourite and used that as the only substrate, would that be sufficient for the 10 gallon?

Would I just need to empty the tank and replace the gravel? Is there a waiting period necessary until I could put my fish back in the tank?
Idk why I didn't mention to you earlier that you can mix your gravel with whatever you want to buy but different colored substrates just aren't that great to look at. When I put a bag of fluorite in my 20h it gave me about 1". Hopefully someone more seasoned than I can steer you in the right direction.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 03:28 AM
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Oh, you won't really need to wait as long as you have a mature filter to handle your fishes bioload.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 03:36 AM
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im gonna tell you a little secret... walmart special kitty litter (cheap original clay chip ones) is basicly the same materials as flourite.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 04:39 AM
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Just the person I need to talk to lol. Im setting up a 10 gallon planted tank and have has some issues deciding on which substrate im going to use. I was originally going to use eco complete but no one in my area seems to get it in stock regularly. Here in the last few nights I've been thinking about going with sand instead. Do you use your sand as a cap or do you use straight sand? If I would go with straight sand what supplements would I have to give my plants? Or is it better to use some kind of other substrate and use sand as a cap? Also are there any benefits to using sand over other gravels for plants? I would appreciate any knowledge you might have lol. Thank you.
Anything will work well if you use root tabs, my flora has a mixture of black sand and Fluval plant stratum, my 36g gal has a mixture of black sand and a florite knockoff. (which I am replacing with more black sand here in a couple months) The root tabs and water fertz are going to be the key especially if you are going higher light.

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im gonna tell you a little secret... walmart special kitty litter (cheap original clay chip ones) is basicly the same materials as flourite.
I have heard that, when dosing fertilizers in the water column, some get absorbed by the clay in the substrate.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 02:33 PM
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Dwarf sag grows like a weed in my sand (w/root tabs)
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 03:41 PM
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I have heard that, when dosing fertilizers in the water column, some get absorbed by the clay in the substrate.
Yup, clay chips absorb and attract positive ions, such as K and Fe. Dispite what everyone say about them being inert, they do leach some minerals into the water colum, particularly Fe. But clay chips are highly variable, depending on where it is mine, so you might want to test to make sure it doesnt raise GH by leaching Mg and Ca. Also Clay chips lack organic nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, so you always would want to have a bit of MTS or non fertilized potting soil at the bottom.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 06:30 PM
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So is going with straight sand with root tabs a good option? I just finished painting the background on my tank today. It looks amazing! I cant wait to set the tank up. What is anyones opinions of api root tabs?
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 06:41 PM
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So is going with straight sand with root tabs a good option? I just finished painting the background on my tank today. It looks amazing! I cant wait to set the tank up. What is anyones opinions of api root tabs?
yep, that would be a good alternative, of course you can always go the Cadillac route of substrates and look into the ADA substrates, but they will set you back a pretty penny. You would just have to replenish your root tabs every few months / 6 months. I have not used the API root tabs, I have used the flourish root tabs, they are decent, the best are the Root Medic tabs. I was given some, and used them for a bit and the turn around in my macandra was pretty dramatic.


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 06:54 PM
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Should you add them before you fill your tank with water or can you wait until after you have filled your tank?
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-06-2012, 07:02 PM
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It is easier to do it before, the capsules tend to float lol


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