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Root tabs or fertilized substrated for carpet plants?

3336 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  natemcnutty
I have to pick up the substrate for my future tank, which will have several carpet plants (Hemianthus Callitrichoudes, Staurogyne Repens). I have 2 options:

1) Fertilized substrate (Dennerle DeponitMix) + Quartz gravel 1/2mm
2) Quartz gravel 1/2mm + root tabs

What i fear about fertilized substrate is the possible mixing with the gravel in case of change to the layout or replating of some plants, so this makes me lean towards option 2. But my concern is that root tabs won't be as effective as the fertilized substrate.

What do you think? Can the root tabs perfectly substitute the fertilized substrate maintaining the same effectiveness?

Read more: Root tabs or fertilized substrated for carpet plants? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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Hey IDan89l,

The substrate will most likely mix over time, more so if you plan to rearrange your plants frequently.

I find Dennerle DeponitMix is largely sand mixed with some clay and osmocote equivalents. It does not cloud the water or anything but I don't feel it is very nutritive. The osmocote equiv. capsules get to the top of the gravel and look nasty. I had very good experience with JBL Aquabasis plus, if you can buy it. It is mostly clay and you can mix it with how much sand you want. Due to the clay proprieties it can get replenished easily. The problem is it clouds the water easily, so you need a good amount of sand to cap it and be careful when uprooting plants.

Root tabs also have leftovers when they are consumed, which I find unsightly. The problem is HC does not have extensive root systems, like Echinodorus or Cryptocoryne. So when you put one tab in a place only the plants in the near vicinity benefit.

All that said, plain gravel also works. I would make sure the water is well supplied with fertilizers and not worry that much about root tabs. Unlike landplants, nutrients can be taken up easily from the leaf area in aquatic plants. I have grown both species in plain sand and nutrients in the water.

Hope this gives some ideas

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I much prefer inert substrate and dose the water column, and the only time I use a root tabs is if I know my crypt or s. repens carpet is not moving from that spot for at least 6 months.

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