substrate for bigger fish/planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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substrate for bigger fish/planted tank?

Hi guys im looking at starting my 1st planted tank! will be 5ft by 30inch by 24inch and have few bigger fish in with plants!


whot would be best substrate for bigger fish as may get disturbed when feeding/fighting!


looking at hardy plants also!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 05:56 PM
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What kind of fish?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of fish?
Iv got 3 cichla (peacock bass) 7-9 inch and few others later if plants are ok
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 06:08 PM
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You need to research the fish. Fish that dig or make nest will cloudy up the tank on
you no matter what the sub unless you use no plants and vacuum the gravel regularly.
But Black Diamond(coal slag) Blasting sand from Tractor supply is about $12 for 40#
bag of it. Fairly popular for a sub.
Comes in grades(sizes of grains) so you should put "What grade do you prefer for
Black Diamond Blasting sand?" in the sub section.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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You need to research the fish. Fish that dig or make nest will cloudy up the tank on
you no matter what the sub unless you use no plants and vacuum the gravel regularly.
But Black Diamond(coal slag) Blasting sand from Tractor supply is about $12 for 40#
bag of it. Fairly popular for a sub.
Comes in grades(sizes of grains) so you should put "What grade do you prefer for
Black Diamond Blasting sand?" in the sub section.
Hi mate and don't need to research fish as iv got 9 large peacock bass and 6 in a 5ft by 30 by 30 tank with black sand and artificial plants! They don't dig or sift sand to be fair mate! do move a little when fighting but its fine sand!
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 06:38 PM
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Hi Johnny, if you already have the sand and it's fine with the fish then you don't have to change it for planting. Just put some root zone fertilizers in and you're good to go, unless you plant some nutrient hogs. Those would probably benefit from adding fertilizers to the water (you can skip the buried fertilizer if you prefer to fertilize the water column instead).

If the plants are not staying anchored you can try putting some stones around the bases to help keep them anchored.

Another option is fine gravel or coarse sand, also with root or water ferts.

I see you mentioned Eco-complete in the other thread? Would be ok too, just potentially more expensive if you're good with that. Added bonus is the high CEC which the plants can benefit from.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Johnny, if you already have the sand and it's fine with the fish then you don't have to change it for planting. Just put some root zone fertilizers in and you're good to go, unless you plant some nutrient hogs. Those would probably benefit from adding fertilizers to the water (you can skip the buried fertilizer if you prefer to fertilize the water column instead).

If the plants are not staying anchored you can try putting some stones around the bases to help keep them anchored.

Another option is fine gravel or coarse sand, also with root or water ferts.

I see you mentioned Eco-complete in the other thread? Would be ok too, just potentially more expensive if you're good with that. Added bonus is the high CEC which the plants can benefit from.
Thanks for reply! iv got the fish in a fish only tank at the minute! but seting up another tank to split them up as fighting really bad sometimes" and iv always wonted a nice monsterfish/live plant setup And maybe a eco complete and black sand over the top would look good! That's a good idea to anchor plants down with stone or maybe a nice purple slate!


these are few of the fish!


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 07:18 PM
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He, he, those are monster fish all right.

Ref your plans to cap Eco-complete with sand, just be aware that over time, re-planting etc. the finer granules end up at the bottom, larger on top. Eyes wide open, so to speak.

Purple slate pieces would be cool, I think.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 07:23 PM
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Nice! What types of Cichla do you got!?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Nice! What types of Cichla do you got!?
iv got 4 cichla kelberi (Bahia gold) and 5 cichla orinocoensis"
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 03:47 AM
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Anubias tied to some driftwood would be a good place to start. Maybe some vals around the perimeter.

I don't know personally about peacock bass, but lots of cichla re-arrange things and tend to be territorial. This could be frustrating as your first planted tank.

Do you have room for another tank? Maybe try keeping some crypts in a clay pot so they don't get pulled up. Large fish moving quickly make a lot of disturbance. Even if they are not diggers, you will likely have damaged or uprooted plants.

I feel you though. I am keeping a 16" fire eel in my planted tank. I am VERY thankful he's calm 99.9% of the time.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 05:49 PM
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Plants attached to driftwood such as anubias, java fern and mosses are a good start. Perimeter plants such as the mentioned vals are a good idea. Other than that, try something with deep roots such as swords that will be a bit more resilient to being removed. Amazon swords have huge root systems when established. This would require you to have a 'plant tank' for awhile without fish while the roots spread.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 09:47 PM
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Very cool! Mind if I draw them?

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jstehman View Post
Anubias tied to some driftwood would be a good place to start. Maybe some vals around the perimeter.

I don't know personally about peacock bass, but lots of cichla re-arrange things and tend to be territorial. This could be frustrating as your first planted tank.

Do you have room for another tank? Maybe try keeping some crypts in a clay pot so they don't get pulled up. Large fish moving quickly make a lot of disturbance. Even if they are not diggers, you will likely have damaged or uprooted plants.

I feel you though. I am keeping a 16" fire eel in my planted tank. I am VERY thankful he's calm 99.9% of the time.


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Don't know if large clay pots will look good buddy! May try plants tied to nice shaped wood thow! maybe some big amazon swords up back of tank!


Fire eels are cool

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Plants attached to driftwood such as anubias, java fern and mosses are a good start. Perimeter plants such as the mentioned vals are a good idea. Other than that, try something with deep roots such as swords that will be a bit more resilient to being removed. Amazon swords have huge root systems when established. This would require you to have a 'plant tank' for awhile without fish while the roots spread.
Sounds good if I can have lots of tall amazon swords up the back" whot about mid tank plants? and I love those tiny carpet plants that cover the whole floor of tank! Are these a tuff plant?
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 08:23 PM
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I just started a 130G planted tank and used Eco Complete. Its pricing but the plants take to it really quickly, and its a live bacteria substrate so the tank cycled very quickly when planted which is a great plus! I have 3 balas, which will get really large, Rope fish, rainbow shark, and a couple angels and they love it. Getting the fish while smaller helps so the plants have better time to root before larger fish get in there. Just make sure not to get anything that loves to dig.
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