Best substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Best substrate

Hi im new to planted tanks i currently have two tanks, one with sand and one with gravel , does anyone have experience to know which is better with planted tanks(sand or gravel)? Or does it not matter?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 10:02 PM
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"Sand" and "gravel" don't specify any specific substrate materials. Flourite Black Sand is sand, pool filter sand is sand, playground sand is sand. Gravel could be road gravel, down to anything that someone thinks is too coarse to call sand.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 01:01 AM
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Neither.

I prefer a substrate that will hold fertilizers with a reasonably high cationic exchange capacity.

I have had plants growing in both sand and gravel, particle size up to about 3/8" and if I had to choose one I would go with a fine gravel, size about 1/8-3/16".
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 02:05 AM
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"Better" is more a matter of opinion. More accurately what is better for you.

For some folks opening a bag of eco complete or one of the other enriched Aqurium Substrates is better. Most of those will requireRoot Caps as a supplement eventually. This approach is faster up front but will require more ongoing maintenance.

Other people like myself prefer dirt with a sand cap. This approach is more work up front, but almost zero maintenance.

What is better for Hoppy or Diana or myself may not be better for you. Both methods grow plants well when you do your part.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 06:54 AM
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The "best" substrate is the one that meets your performance, aesthetic and monetary requirements for each particular setup.

That might be a ph buffering, dark colored, fine grained substrate designed to optimize the health and color contrast in a breeding colony of high grade shrimp. Or it could be natural clay in a sparsely planted native biotope.

Or a field of pristine white sand highlighting the negative space in a competition worthy formal landscape.

It could even be something you cobbled together out of the cr*p laying around in your own backyard to prove a point.

Last edited by Knotyoureality; 10-15-2012 at 05:51 PM. Reason: tripo
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Knotyoureality View Post
...It could even be something you cobbled together out of the cr*p laying around in your own backyard to prove a point.


Exactly!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 02:33 PM
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Ada substrate is gooood
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
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It could even be something you cobbled together out of the cr*p laying around in your own backyard to prove a point.
The only problem with that approach is that it also may not be something you cobbled together. The advantage of commercial substrates is that they are designed for that use, and, as far as I know, all will work. Your back yard is very likely to be much different from mine, so my cobbled together substrate may be superb and yours may still be cr*p, or vice versa.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
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The only problem with that approach is that it also may not be something you cobbled together. The advantage of commercial substrates is that they are designed for that use, and, as far as I know, all will work. Your back yard is very likely to be much different from mine, so my cobbled together substrate may be superb and yours may still be cr*p, or vice versa.
Granted, and it's not an option I'd be likely to pursue--but the point was that "best" is meaningful only within a specified context.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks guys i really appreciate the feedback, but oe question for dogfish, when you say "dirt", you mean like dirt from the yard?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 10:20 AM
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Wow thanks guys i really appreciate the feedback, but oe question for dogfish, when you say "dirt", you mean like dirt from the yard?
Dirt as an all encompassing term to include MTS, Miracle Grow Potting soil, and YES even dirt.

I thought Knotyoureality's earlier post as so funny because I thought he was referring to my 'Toxic Ten'. Which while actually rather carefully thought out could be refereed to as, "cobbled together out of the cr*p laying around in your own backyard to prove a point."

Last edited by DogFish; 10-17-2012 at 03:07 AM. Reason: sp.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2012, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Dirt as an al encompassing term to include MTS, Miracle Grow Potting soil, and YES even dirt.

I thought Knotyoureality's earlier post as so funny because I thought he was referring to my 'Toxic Ten'. Which while actually rather carefully thought out could be refereed to as, "cobbled together out of the cr*p laying around in your own backyard to prove a point."
You have high quality pets adding to the "goodness" of your back yard "dirt". Knotyourreality really gave the best answer. Today we have so many substrate choices, and most of them are likely to be "best" for somebody.

Hoppy
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You have high quality pets adding to the "goodness" of your back yard "dirt". Knotyourreality really gave the best answer. Today we have so many substrate choices, and most of them are likely to be "best" for somebody.
That and I've owned the property for 27years with no chemical warfare raged upon my lawn.

And yes, I agree there a best for everyone. You know that the bad thing about being DIY-Guy. We can't leave anything alone if we think we can modify it....and we seen to think we can make everything better.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 04:03 AM
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I like to use aqua soil(s).

ADA, Fluval, Up Aqua, Azoo etc.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 04:30 PM
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I agree with what everyone here has said. I my self have used Eco complete and Carib sea flora max, as well as florite, Standard gravel and sand. I will be embarking on a aqua soil adventure soon enough to finally try it out.

All the above work great but I am not found of most for inital planting. I can never get my stems to stay put but such is life. As soon as roots are in place everything works well.

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