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Hello all,

Setting up my first planted aquarium today!

I followed the general rule of thumb for an aquarium and ended up with about 2 inches of substrate all around my aquarium.

My question is, for a planted aquarium is 2 inches enough? Should I go for 2.5 inches or 3?

Thank you!
 

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I, personally, keep close to 3 inches or more (wouldn't suggest more, though, simply because of potential for anaerobic bacteria issues) in areas with larger root structures and stems, but it's not really necessary, in think between an inch and a half and 3 inches is pretty standard.
 

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3" is like the golden mean. Plenty for plants and yet does not look like it's over bearing to the eye like more would be. More,is like your growing gravel not plants.
One gravel I always thought had the perfect size and smoothness? Monterey Sands..it does also come in course sand,but the gravel was great for plants. Only drawback is that tan color. If you are covering it with groundcover plants or its all plants everywhere,that might not matter. Or,if you put white ornamental sands front and use the blah looking MS in back.
 

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I’d get some snails and try to make your own soil in the setup. If you can too, ask someone for floaters (water lettuce and hornwort work best) and make a aquatic composter with snails and dead plants (mortar and pestle or drying or putting them in darkness will work, I use hornwort needles for this) and then pour the mulm into your display after a while and you won’t get the ammonia from it decomposing but you get the nutrient rich substrate material. Also if you want a TON of biodiversity get a small scoop of pond substrate for your composter and replace it whenever you harvest mulm. in my research, a veneral pond would be best due to the sheer amount of microfauna unpressured by fish and the lack of hosts for parasites makes it a ideal habitat for good microfauna.
 
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