Looking for substrate advice - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Location: North Canton, OH
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Looking for substrate advice

I would like to do a NPT sorority tank, however, I have never used live plants before in a tank. After looking at several layouts on the tropica.com web site I realize I need help when it comes to plants. Would gravel work or should I use some other substrate?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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Location: Moncton, NB, Canada
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Hmmmm It all depends on what look you would like to have. I would highly recommend a fert. stratum.

Fluorite is nice and comes in several colors and shades. It is very sand like.

I am personally using fluval plant stratum mixed with fulval shrimp stratum in one of my tanks. Its is nice and easy for the plants to have root growth. very airy though and some dislike how light it is. It is a tad difficult planting some plants due to its lightness.

My personal fave is eco complete plant stratum. No as light as fluval plant stratum and shows great growth and brightness in the foliage soon after I switched to it in one of my tanks.

If the local shop doesn't have these in stock, try asking them if they could order it along with their next order. Shipping substrate on your own will cost a bit as it is heavy. My local pet store orders it in, I call in before they place their order and pick it up the day it comes in. no shipping fee for me.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 09:03 PM
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I would get play sand and potting soil (not sure on the brand of soil OFL would know though). What you do is line the tank with play sand and then put the soil on top and then put your plants in the soil. Once their planted you cover it in a good layer of sand. It'll take a while for everything to get chemically figured out but they look really nice and grow very nicely. OFL has done this in a 55 gallon an it turned out wonderfully

Feel free to message me any questions, I'll try to help the best I can!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 09:26 PM
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I have also done dirt and capped it with sand and loved it, however if you are like me and like to redecorate from time to time, it turns into a muddy mess. However it works great on a fixed scape.

Ive also hear of fert sticks which can go with any stratum, I havent tried these though and am unsure as to how well they work.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2012, 10:27 PM
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if you have $$$ you can't go wrong with ADA Amazonia. for me though, i use mr. aqua soil.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 02:03 PM
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Regardless of the type of substrate you use and that is important-But the proper color temp lights are the driving force behind successful planted tanks-Most plant failures are due to wrong color temp lights-While we can see the light the plants can't to use it for energy/photosynthesis.

Lights that I recommend for plants-"Daylight" 6500k...watts vary based on length of bulb. Florescent light bulbs need to be changed every 12 months since the intensity can be lost over time even though they still shine-you can see it but the plants can't.

All I keep are the soil/dirt based or natural planted tanks that range from 1gal to 75gal. I use all different kinds of dirt in different tanks-Some I use either play sand, pool filter sand or small diameter gravel as the cap for the dirt/soil. The cap is to help keep the dirt/soil in place and you don't want to use a lot. I generally recommend/use half as much cap as I do base....meaning-if I use 1inch of dirt-my cap will be half inch deep.

When using dirt/soil along with proper lights-It is important to start out with enough of the right species of plants-That being-at least 3-4 different species of stem plants-enough to cover about 75% of the floor and 10-25% floating plants-like water lettuce, frogbit, duckweed and hornwort will work but it tend to get hair algae if too close to the light source or if the light are too high watts.

The soil based or natural planted tanks are great systems and once they are mature, the dirt is alive and plants thriving...It is as close to a natural ecosystem that can be created in a closed system-but its still a closed system and need some care but not like a regular substrate tanks plants or not......
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so very much for all the advice. It seems as if I have really entered into another realm when it comes to doing my first planted aquarium.

All I've ever used before were plastic plants and whatever gravel was on sale when I was setting up a tank.

Since Oldfishlady mentioned lighting would this light/hood I found on Amazon be sufficient http://www.amazon.com/Perfecto-Reces...+aquarium+hood
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 04:39 PM
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ADA products are amazing, but expensive.

I've used a lot of eco-complete in the past, and I love it.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 10:05 PM
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I use organic miracle gro soil with a sand cap, it's cheap but can be messy
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JackisLost View Post
if you have $$$ you can't go wrong with ADA Amazonia. for me though, i use mr. aqua soil.

Do you still cover these substrates with sand as you would with regular soil? Or do you just use the Amazonia or Mr Aqua Soil all by themselves?

Do people ever do just a tank with floating plants? In that case can you use those "live" gravels?

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