Differtent Substrates - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
Del
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Differtent Substrates

I'm in the process of setting up Rio125 as a planted tank and I have a quick question about substrate.

Ideally I want to use something like Caribsea Eco-Complete Live Planted Substrate, but to get 3 inches of depth in my tank, would be a little expensive.
So I was thinking of using a planted substrate with something like a Pettex Gravel Jet Black on top, but I was wonding what kind of ratio I should have, obviously I want to cut costs, but not to the point where the plants suffer from it.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-05-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Del View Post
I'm in the process of setting up Rio125 as a planted tank and I have a quick question about substrate.

Ideally I want to use something like Caribsea Eco-Complete Live Planted Substrate, but to get 3 inches of depth in my tank, would be a little expensive.
So I was thinking of using a planted substrate with something like a Pettex Gravel Jet Black on top, but I was wonding what kind of ratio I should have, obviously I want to cut costs, but not to the point where the plants suffer from it.
Well, if you go by other peoples' experiences many people have set up fabulous plants with mineralized top soil and many even have tanks that use plain soil capped with pool filter sand. The only thing that I would watch is to ensure that you use the the same brand soil used by others who have success. Torpedobarb sells pre-made mineralized topsoil kits and you may want to check with him if you don't want to go through the time and trouble of mineralizing topsoil and hunting for all other ingredients that you may or may not be able to find. That is about as cheap as you are going to get without plants suffering. IMHO, c02 and appropriate light intensity is a far greater factor in ensuring failure or success than substrate, but a nutrient dense substrate likely contributes to plants developing and putting out deep roots and getting firmly established so this helps with algae issues in the long run.

If I were in your shoes, I would probably use mineralized topsoil and use Tom Barr's recommened Dry Start Method and then flood the tank. This will likely guarantee good establishment of plants from the start and as long as you do everything else right once you flood the tank and ensure appropriate light intensity you tank should continue to do well.
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