I was at a lfc meeting this weekend and the speaker gave a talk on the subject of planted tanks. Specifically, low-tec planted tanks. His thinking (and experience) was that a substrate consisting of a 1" bottom layer of 50/50 mixed aquatic soil (mostly clay) and plain aquarium gravel, with a 2 or 3" top layer of plain aquarium gravel was the best and cheapest medium for plants.
I have a brand new 100g tank, set up only this last weekend. Ready to be planted. Not many plants right now, I'm really waiting until I have everything ready. I do have a few tiger lotuses I love very much. I'd like to add a sword or two as well. Currently, 260 watts of c.f. lighting (10k), 2 h.o.b. power filters, inhabitants are livebearers, cories, otos, and a pair of killies. No co2 yet, but probably will be adding some sort of DIY unit. It currently has only a 1" layer of regular aquarium gravel, already seeded with bacteria. I have about 1" more of seeded gravel I can add at any time.
I know that in order to do the above operation, I'll have to remove the fish, drain the tank, add the substrate, and then refill it. What, in everybody's opinions, are the pros and cons of this substrate? And, IS it or is it NOT better to SAVE the water currently in the tank?
Thanks in advance!