Gravel substrate sufficient? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Gravel substrate sufficient?

In my 10 gallon, I'm trying to convert it into a live plant set-up. I've been making headway on lighting and CO2. Lastly is the substrate.

I'm looking for plants that are very easy to take care of. Basic plants. Amazon sword, mosses, anubias nana. A few others were mentioned. Basically Low light, little co2, easy plants.

Will plants do fine in just plain gravel? Or what could I add to the gravel to help out the plants? Is anything else even necessary?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 06:27 PM
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my 37 gallon is heavily planted and has a gravel based enriched with root tabs capped with kiln dried sand and diy c02 and i have to propogate weekly

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 06:28 PM
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Depends on which plants. Anubias and mosses couldn't care less, as long as there are nutrients in the water column. Swords will do better with a richer substrate. You could add some root tabs/gel caps/fert sticks around their perimeter to help them grow.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 08:45 PM
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You could also do a set up where you use peat pots to contain little pockets of substrate (dirt, MTS, kittylitter, whatever)that you bury in the gravel. The plant roots will eventually be able to grow through the peat pot, and by then there should be some mulm buildup in the gravel to help provide nutrients.

The peat pots should hold things together long enough to get stuff planted. I used this method quite a while back, and it seemed to work okay.

You can also pick plants that have lower nutrient needs, or grow from a rhizome attached to rocks/wood like anubias, java fern, (I think?) bolbitis, etc.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 12:39 AM
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Smile Gravel's O.K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxhampton View Post
In my 10 gallon, I'm trying to convert it into a live plant set-up. I've been making headway on lighting and CO2. Lastly is the substrate.

I'm looking for plants that are very easy to take care of. Basic plants. Amazon sword, mosses, anubias nana. A few others were mentioned. Basically Low light, little co2, easy plants.

Will plants do fine in just plain gravel? Or what could I add to the gravel to help out the plants? Is anything else even necessary?


You can safely use his gravel: thttp://www.redflint.com/filter_gravel.htm

For many years I'm using 1/8 x 1/16. Plain or as a cap. Call them for the closest outlet ( usually a filtration company). Nothin's simplier to use!

Please contact me when you are ready for plants ( low light ones and easy to grow).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 01:59 AM
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Yep, quartz pea gravel & root tabs works fine . . . I did that for quite a while. The only issue, there will be a bit more water moving through the substrate. That means 'root tab nutrients' will leach into the water column. Not a biggie. The other issue is with smaller "carpet" plants (dwarf hair grass and the like), they will be happier in sand / black diamond / dirt / etc.

If you're going to be serious about growing plants. I'd encourage you to go for pool sand, black diamond, or commercially available "planted tank substrate". If growing plants is more of an experiment to try your hand at . . . then gravel is plenty.

For myself, I kind of "migrated" to sand. I did a complete tank tear down, then poured sand into the bottom and flattened it out. Then I put the old gravel on top of it and gave it a few months to let the sand grow beneficial bacteria. . . After those few months, I netted out all the fish, pulled the plants, then used a sieve to sift out the gravel. It was a lot of work, but it's an effective way to keep the nitrogen cycle going.

I'm just not brave enough to try dirt. I've read a few too many threads about struggling with cloudy water / murky water; black worms can get in and stir up the substrate, fish burrowing around, the cap layer may not get done right, you need to be super careful if you re-scape the tank, etc, etc, etc . . . Too much hassle for me.

Step 1 - introduce the sand underneath established gravel


Step 2 - sift out the gravel (which is a total P.I.T.A.) and I added a little "black-diamond" while I was at it.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 03:28 PM
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i have mine the other way round with the gravel on the base and capped with sane

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
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