Best Substrate for Low tech/light tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Best Substrate for Low tech/light tank?

I just got a 50 gallon (they say) tank from Freecycle. Seems to hold water, so I am planning on starting my first planted tank.

Since I am new to this, I am trying to mostly do the most basic but also a very practical set up. There are a lot of options,so I am getting confused as to which will work for me.

I want a natural looking substrate- something that sort of mimics river stones/gravel (maybe a little darker than the average river stone gravel to bring out the colorof the fish...)

What would you reccommend as something that will look nice, be good for low light plants growth, and not kill my wallet?

Tell me what you like or dislike and why!
Thanks!!!!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 12:50 AM
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My response doesn't answer what is best for your setup. I want to show you some examples and colors. There is a bunch of info here, but there are many choices available.

Pool filter sand is an inexpensive choice. The color can vary from whitish to beige and maybe a little darker to brownish or reddish. Check out the Red Flint brand. They have one for aquaiums.

Carib Sea has many varieties. Super Natural Instant Aquarium Cichlid Dry Mix Planted Aquarium (There has been quality issues over the years with Eco-Complete, but there has been times when it was good.)

Seachem has some good planted aquarium substrates. They are a bit dusty from the shipping and handling.

Estes' has a lot of colors.

3M ColorQuartz

Mineralized substrate. There are several threads about it in the substrate section and it is listed in the Swap n Shop for purchase.
Kits w/soil: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sw...-included.html
Kits w/o soil: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sw...ay-potash.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...s-updated.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...il-review.html

ADA is nice. Aqua Soil Decorative Sand

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!

Seeing all the options together is very helpful, I appreciate the work that took.
Now to decide. I see what I want, but not entirely sure what I think is aesthetically appealing will allow my plants to grow. Off to do more reading on this.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:18 AM
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Hi

I just noticed that I zapped my search on pool filter sand when I did my final edit. Some of the available colors were shown. You have to hunt around to find them. This is it.

The following info may help. It concerns some popular plant substrates.

Seachem's Flourite, Flourite Black, Flourite Black Sand and Flourite Dark are very good plant substrates and they will last for years. They are dusty though. Some people like to wash the dust off before it is in the aquarium and some people only wash the top several inches. Some people don't wash it at all and they let the water slowly trickle in so that the water isn't so cloudy. There are other ways to clean it. A simple search will help you find several ways that may appeal to you..

Carib Sea's Eco-Complete is a very good substrate if you don't get any of the bad stuff. Good E-C is a nice black color with sandy to small gravel and it has a clear liquid in it. You can easily tell if the bags are good or bad by simply looking at them. Some bags have a milky color liquid instead of clear. These bags have phosphoric acid added and I have read that you should avoid them. The other problems are color and grain size. Some bags may have large rocks in them and some bags are sandy. You have to decide if they are OK. The color problem is that all of the E-C is not black. You can see whitish, red, brown, etc. colors mixed in. Many people do not like the look.

ADA's Amazonia is an excellent substrate. It has some problems too, but it grows plants really well. At first it has high ammonia levels and it will lower your KH and pH. After some water changes the first week or so, it is good to go.

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