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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am upgrading from an 90 litre to a 180 litre aquarium and I just need advice on the best substrate for a planted tank.

What is the difference between the following substrates:
  1. Laterite
  2. Seachem Flourite
  3. Eco-Complete
  4. Tetra Complete Substrate
Is one better than the other? Or should I combine a mix of some of them?

Also how deep should the layer of substrate be? I want to use white sand as the top layer, but it wont be deep.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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1- Laterite- red in color, high iron content, works well for a substrate additive but personally I wouldn't use it alone

2- Seachem Flourite- remains my personal favorite substrate, especially the black ones. Also high in iron but more trace content than Laterite, plus has a very high CEC which means it pulls nutrients from the water column and holds them for the plant roots. Should be rinsed well before use.

3- Eco Complete- very similar to Flourite as far as nutrients but grains vary more in size and color. Doesn't need to be rinsed first, the liquid it's packaged in supposedly will help jump-start a tank's cycle (personally I'm skeptical LOL)

4- Tetra complete- I know nothing about.

You probably want about 3" of substrate in the tank. Keep in mind that over time larger grains will migrate to the top and smaller to the bottom, so the sand will end up mixed in and work its way to the bottom. Unless you like the mixed look, I'd skip the sand.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I don't see any advantage to mixing them, unless you already have some you want to use up.

And I wouldn't mix in laterite unless you like the red mixed in with the other colors. Both Eco and Flourite are pretty high in iron on their own so I don't see any reason to add the Laterite.
 

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So you would recommend using Seachem Flourite on its own? Can I still add a layer of sand or gravel on top?
That wouldn't be a good idea, because Fluorite (especially black and my favourite black sand) looks good, hold plants' roots well and capping it doesn't make sense. If I would you, I would choose mineralized topsoil capped with fluorite black sand.
 
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