plain gravel - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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plain gravel

Has anyone here ever had any kind of success with just using plain gravel? I have seen people who have before but personally I have not.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 01:38 PM
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I got some what was called bird's eye gravel for free a few year's back and liked the look of it, but felt I could get better growth maybe by dosing water column with first flourish comprehensive ,and later the dry fertz.
Were all low light easy plant's that held well in the tiny gravel.
I suppose one could sprinkle a small amount Osmocote on the bottom glass before covering it with the gravel and this could also help.(root tab's also)
The gravel was inert, so not much for plant's to draw nutrient's from hence,,my adding the nutrient's to the water.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 01:52 PM
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That is #4 blasting sand. It is under the Fluorite in one of my tanks. It doesn't like
to be used for hills and as you can see the shape is very rounded I believe that is why.
Some Mom & Pop pet shops have it, but they break down the large bags from the blasting company into small bags to sell.
I used to use it exclusively. Check the yellow pages for companies which sand blast
to get a #40 bag of it cheap. I don't believe either the Black Diamond from Tractor Supply or this does as well when first in there as when it's had time to collect some
mulm and it filters down into it.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 01:53 PM
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Most of my tanks started with 'plain gravel'.
I had reverse under gravel filters running in a lot of them.
Where the UGF plates did not quite reach, on some of the odd shaped tanks, the plants grew really well.
At that time I had lots of fish in the tanks, so lots of fish food. I was doing water changes to keep the NO3 down, so this implies plenty of P, and most traces.
I was adding K, Fe (Leaf Zone) and Excel for carbon.

I gradually shifted over to fewer fish and finer substrate, but I still have several tanks with pool filter sand. This has reasonable water movement through the material, and does not hold nutrients (so is similar to fine gravel).
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 02:17 PM
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With the exception of a brief experiment with EcoComplete , I've been using plain 'ol gravel forever . No problems . Just use stuff with finer(smaller) grains so the plant roots have smaller voids to fill .
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 02:23 PM
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Sure you can still have great success with inert substrates. Plenty of people have done so (dose water column or add osmocote+/root tabs if nutrients are needed).

But here is a thread/experiment Burr has done showing the growth differences using a inert substrate and a nutrient enriched substrate (osmocote+).

Water column dosing nutrients/ferts is more than sufficient for feeding the majority of plants, but sure plants with more intensive root system can benefit from extra root tabs or enriched substrates (root feeding).
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-17-2015, 02:33 PM
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Hello Bla...

I prefer pea-sized polished gravel in my tanks. It's easy on the Corydoras' barbels, easy to put plants into it, cleaning is simple, the planted plants' roots get plenty of O2 and nutrients. For me, there's really no down side to using it.


"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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I was considering switching out my Flourite substrate that looks a lot nicer and cleaner. I really like the plain black gravel. I also heard that Caribsea Natural gravel is really good too. Peace River looks pretty nice
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 03:31 AM
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Peace River gravel is my favorite. Good size, good colours. Very easy to plant into, I found. Great cap for soil as well.

Daisy Mae V
According to my husband, I have a habit of jumping right in!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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I suppose if I added a good amount of ferts on a scheduled basis it would have a better chance for success. Arent there also a lot of nutrients in tap water?
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