Do you have to add that stuff to your substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
 
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Do you have to add that stuff to your substrate?

I am using sand and was wondering if there was something that I can put next to the plants like a tablet or something for their nutrients instead of that special substrate?

Also, will it hurt my fish if I remove all my sand, put the plant substrate down, then my sand and then put my fish in?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:45 AM
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There are various types of root tabs that will provide nutrients to the roots of your plants. Two examples:http://http://www.drsfostersmith.com...fm?pcatid=4867 and http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=16826
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 03:53 AM
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I honestly do not recommend sand for planted tanks. I know some people use it with success, but it compacts far too much. When the substrate is compacted, it does not allow oxygen through it, detritus sits on top and doesn't mix in, and most importantly, it becomes too hard for the roots to grow in. Roots need those small gaps in the substrate to push through it while growing. The grain size of sand doesn't allow for those gaps.

It is highly advisable to use proper substrate for planted tanks. If you would prefer to not spend the money for expensive "plant substrate", there are alternatives that are both, plant friendly and inexpensive.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 02:21 PM
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Swimming pool filter sand is a good substrate, coarse enough not to compact, inert so it doesn't affect the water hardness, and cheap. Play sand, concrete mix sand, and other HD sand is, in my opinion, much too fine and would compact too much.

You can grow plants just fine using only water column fertilizing. Or, you can add fertilizer tabs in the substrate near each plant, or both.

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