Which substrate and plants would be best for low maintenace? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Which substrate and plants would be best for low maintenace?

Hey Guys

I'm going to build a huge tank in the future for my Mbu Puffer and have decided to change the dimentions of the tank from 10w x4d x4h to 10w x5d x3h as I've been told it'd be hard to get light through 4ft of water. This will give me 1122usG, a Mbu's minimum tank size is 1000usG when fully grown (between 26inches and 30inches including the tail!).

I want the tank to be really easy to maintain so was wondering if I could just have soil in the bottom with some kind of plant growing/covering the entire floor (a grass or moss etc). I was hoping this would save me having to syphon the gravel every 3 weeks.

Would this work and what single type of plant would you recomend?

Would all the fish poo/waste that I normally syphon out of my gravel be used up by the plants like a kind of fertaliser?

Thanks for your time and expertise
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-16-2009, 01:57 PM
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Are you talking about topsoil? No way! Gravel is the most low-maintenance substrate there is, and you have to siphon it once a month. Play sand is good, but you have to disturb it once in a while to prevent it from compacting. Do not ever use topsoil or anything like that in an aquarium, it will mess up your pH and water chemistry. Moss is a very low-maintenance plant, but you need to disturb it once in a while, as it tends to trap debris. No, not all of the fish poo and waste would be used. Most plants cannot use the macronutrients in the water, and can only absorb micronutrients, such as potassium. The only thing the fish poo gives the plants is ammonia and nitrates, which is bad for the fish, and at high levels can kill fish. If you want grass, you need a very fine substrate, like sand. Grass will not spread in gravel. I think sand is best. Debris accumulates on top of it, so it is easy to clean off, and you can't see it that much if you have a darker sand. You can get a 50 pound bag of play sand for 4 bucks at Home-Depot, Lowes, or Wal-Mart. For a carpet plant, I would recommend either dwarf hairgrass or microsword. Both plants however need good lighting and liquid fertilizer for healthy growth.


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