Fluval Stratum or bare bottom? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Fluval Stratum or bare bottom?

I'm looking to redo my Fluval Spec, and I can't decide what substrate to use. I've never had a bare bottom tank, but the cleanliness is appealing. I love the look of Fluval Stratum, but it's difficult/impossible to clean and currently has resulted in a lot of waste accumulating between the cracks. What's the better option?

The tank was previously home to a small colony of rcs, but now will be home to a betta if that matters. Regardless of the substrate, I'll have plants like anubias on a center piece of driftwood.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Also, anyone try to do a planted tank with no substrate?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 04:31 PM
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Tanks without substrates need added filtration due to the lack of bacteria surface. I've been running one for a few years. It has just driftwood and java fern. Keeping stems in it is a pain because they won't stay down.
It is nice that one can simply remove everything clean the tank and then put everything back.
Personally I would think your best alternative would be to grow a carpet of something and stop cleaning the substrate altogether.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 04:57 PM
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SAnd is your answer. Sand does not let the poo and stuff go any where. It's easy to clean but takes a little skill not suck up too much sand.

A sand tank will look dirty in between wc. but if you have some good filters going and some fish that kick up the mess you will not have a problem. In my 100 gal I still have sand. I have good water flow and pictus cats. The bottom of my tank never looks dirty even with larg cichlids living in it.

Sand is your best choice. But plants don't always grow well in sand so you could use it to cap your substrate. Or plant in little pots.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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I use sand as a dirt cap in another tank, and I thought about it using just sand for this tank...I like the look of Fluval Stratum better although I hate how dirty it gets....still don't know.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 02:50 PM
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For a Betta a bare bottom is OK, they are not bottom oriented fish. I would put some dark material under the tank (if it is not already sitting on a dark table or whatever)
Growing plants on driftwood or rocks will also be just fine with no substrate. However, as noted above there are not a lot of lodging sites for the beneficial bacteria, so use a large volume, slow filter. The plants that usually grow on wood are not really fast growing, either, so while they help, they are not fast growing nitrogen sponges. Clay pots make good containers for plants in a bare bottom tank.

None of that hides the dirt, though. Bare bottom will show the dirt even worse than sand.

To hide the dirt use a multi-colored substrate, perhaps mixed brown and tan shades, or add some soft grey or darker color to it. The assorted colors should be subtle, but will hide the debris until you vacuum. If you do not want to plant directly in it the substrate does not have to be very deep at all. As little as 1/4" is just fine for most sand-sized particles.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 03:11 PM
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What do you mean by dirty? You don't clean the substrate during your WC. So I am not sure how it is dirty? I got FSS in my tank and they are nice. If you talking about poops you will need some plant in there then. I don't see that much poop in my tank. LOL

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm...I can see layers of what looks like shrimp poo mixed with the lower levels of the substrate through the glass.
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