Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: CA, United States
Black substrate: multilayer or not?
I have a tank with black sand substrate. When I first set it up a few years ago, I put down a layer of laterite first and then covered it with a thick layer of black sand from PetCo. It looked fine at first, but as the years passed by and I had to trim, uproot and replant the plants, the substrate layers got mixed. Now I have significant amount of red pieces of laterite on the surface of my sand - not the look I was originally aiming for.
So, what would be a better approach for a more "stable" black substrate. I see the following opportunities here:
1. Don't use any enriched substrate layers at all. Just use pure black sand and add fertilizer sticks/tablets from time to time to fertilize the substrate as needed.
2. Use black-colored enriched substrate (e.g. Eco-Complete) and cover it with inert black sand. The lower layer will surface eventually, but won't be as noticeable.
3. Just use black-colored enriched substrate alone, not capping it with sand.
Which approaches are viable? Any other suggestions perhaps?