I'm considering setting up an LPT sorority tank, and was wondering what the best/most economical substrate is? I've been looking at pre-packaged aquarium plant substrates vs. additive-free potting soils.
Also I've read that it's best to add a top layer such as sand or gravel to keep the sediment down and plants rooted. Would pebbles (such as river pebbles or glass) work or does it have to be fine like sand?
Finally, what size of LPT tank (filtered and heated) would I need for 4 bettas and 3 cory cats?
Pebbles will work just fine. I would go at least 15 gallons, preferably more, because that way you can flesh out both the sorority and the cory school. :)
Forgive my ignorance, but what is an LPT? I'm not familiar with the term...
Re LPT, sorry, I saw this acronym used in several other places and I assumed people would know about it. It means a tank with living plants.
Re tank size, I've decided to go with 20 gal., better more space than less. I've always loved corys since childhood and I'd really like to have a busy little shoal of them (prob. 4 or 5) with the girls (I think 5).
I've read that some species such as C. arcuatus (skunk cory, the type I'd like to find) have sensitive barbels that can be worn down by rough gravel. I'm considering either small pebbles/pebble gravel or sand. Since I've never grown aquatic plants before I'm not sure if I need to mix in soil as well.
Corys prefer sand. Since they are a bottom feeder, and the bottom is where all the gunk goes, they are prone to bacterial infections which will erode their barbels. gravels also have gaps which stores waste and uneaten food (and in turn bacteria and fungi), this is why gravel is never recommended for corys. Sand on the other hand, packs itself tighter so the debris floats on top and can be easily siphoned out. Ensure that the sand is aired out periodically, either via manual stirring or some MTS. It's also much more fun to watch cories sifting through sand and ejecting it out from their gills :) Hope that helps
Ensure that the sand is aired out periodically, either via manual stirring or some MTS. It's also much more fun to watch cories sifting through sand and ejecting it out from their gills :) Hope that helps
Malaysian Trumpet snails, they will live most of their life in the substrate. They eat dead plant matter but not living, so they are really good for an NPT. By them living in the substrate they will airate the substrate.
For sand and gravel only cap .5-1 inch. With sand I would only go as far as .5 as it is can easily go anerobic with the dirt underneath. Make sure you have really good lights as well. Plants need lights and nutrients to survive. Almost all plants get their nutritients from the substrate, that is why liquid ferts aren't as effective as having soil/plant specific medium.
When setting it up don't add any fish until testing it, as some dirt from the store does indeed cause ammonia spikes for a while. Plant the floor with 75% stems and have about 25% of the surface covered with floating plants.
Sorry >.< Malaysia trumpet snails. they are live bearer snails and breed like crazy if you have a lot of excess food lying around your tank :P but they are generally unintrusive. One of my favorite snails.