The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - Why Pay for Nutrient Rich Substrate?
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: Williamsport, PA
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Why Pay for Nutrient Rich Substrate?

This is an honest question.

I'm planning my first planted aquarium. This is what I currently have, although I'm TRYING to be patient and properly prepare before I set things up..

1. 75 gallon tank (48L x 21H x 18W)

2. Finnex Ray 2 (Per Hoppy's Thread,, PAR values greater than 60 at depths under 20 inches and I'm shooting for 3 inches of substrate)

3. Semi Automatic Pressurized Co2 (20lb and 60 lb tanks with UL dual stage regulator of some sort, and Berkert solenoids)'s setup for 4 lines but I plan on using only 2.

I've been researching and trying to make the seemingly impossible decision of what substrate to use for about 6 days now....the more I learn the less I can decide on what to use.

I want a full carpet, at least in the front 1/3 of the tank. I understand that both the physical act of planting stems, and the growth of the carpet itself, is much easier in a fine grained substrate like sand.

Initially I wanted a thick base of Eco-complete, topped with black sand. I was told the sand will eventually sink, but I would think for the purpose of planting and carpeting it wouldn't be a bad idea as the mixing will take awhile. HOWEVER, I'm trying to save a few bucks.

I then considered a dirt tank (MGO) topped with sand, but because I'm new to the hobby and will likely be doing a considerable amount of rearranging, I was told that dirt would be too messy.

Everywhere I read people spend money on expensive products like eco complete, or flourite, etc.

With root tabs, from what I have seen, being as inexpensive as they are....why do people spend so much on a substrate?

This noob is thinking its more economical, and efficient for my scaping plans, to just have a 1 inch base layer of medium grade CHEAP AND INERT gravel, top it with 2 inches of black sand, and dose the heck out of it (more or less) with root tabs and water column dry dosing.

Can someone please tell me if this is a bad idea???
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