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Old 01-15-2010, 04:33 PM   #1 
vaygirl
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Substrate for planted betta tank?

What should I use? I'm getting ready to set up a 5 gallon and I did river rocks in my 16 but that was before I decided to plant. I'll be moving some marimo balls, a little four leaf clover, some wisteria and a full grown anubias nana into the new tank, so what do ya'll suggest?
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:53 PM   #2 
Scienceluvr8
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I believe that for planted tanks, anything that is a classified as pea gravel(I would imagine cause its that size)or small shaped gravel works best for live plants. They also sell substrate that contains fertililzer or some additive for live plants, but I don't have experience with that, so hopefully someone else can comment on that.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:00 AM   #3 
beachkrazd
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Will the corydoras catfish be in this tank? There is a HUGE debate in the fish-keeping world about substrates that are smooth enough for corydoras catfish and their sensitive barbels. They can be prone to barbel erosion caused by bacteria. Some people say that a clean substrate is more important than the size or texture of the pieces. On the other hand, a few corydoras fans feel so strongly about substrate that they think a planted tank may be incompatible with keeping corydoras. To get around this problem some people use a thin layer of sand and only plants which attach to driftwood or rocks, or those which are not picky about substrate, like in this tank.

You can Google 'Corydoras substrate' and you will find many forum discussions about this topic.

Corydoras catfish live over sand substrate in the wild. Some sands are even too coarse for Corydoras catfish though so even a sand selection will have to be made carefully. Some plants can grow quite well in sand substrate. However, sand can be difficult to keep clean since fish waste will always settle on top of the sand. Sucking up some of the waste with an oral syringe between water changes will help.

FYI, CaribSea (white) Moonlight Sand is very fine, which is supposedly desirable for cories which sift through the sand. Plants should be able to grow in it as well. Plants with large root systems need at least 2-3 inches of substrate, but having more than 2 inches of sand increases the risk of developing anaerobic air pockets. Weekly stirring of the sand, and/or mixing it with a little bit of pea gravel may help prevent this.

Now back to your original question. I think Flourite is a great specialty plant substrate. It comes in a mixed red/black (used in this Eclipse 6 gallon betta tank), an all black, and perhaps an all red coloration. (If you decide to use Flourite, look up recommendations for how to rinse it. If you don't rinse it it can be very dusty in the tank.) Some corydoras owners say their cories do fine on Flourite. Flourite can be expensive depending on where you live, but you will just need 1 bag with a 5 gallon tank. Using a gravel siphon during weekly water changes to suck up fish waste will help keep the substrate clean for the cories. The Flourite pieces look jagged but when you rub it between your hands you should feel no sharp edges.

Another popular specialty plant substrate is Eco-Complete. I have seen some tiny pieces in this substrate that seem kind of sharp so I don't think I can recommend it for cories. Some people have their cories on Eco-Complete but I have heard a few of them say that they would choose a different substrate if they could choose over again.

Ok, here is something else to consider. Keep in mind that the moss balls and anubias plants will not care which substrate you use. The anubias can be attached to small pieces of driftwood with nylon fishing line or cotton thread.


I'm sorry I couldn't give you a clear-cut answer but I hope I at least gave you a few options to consider. :)


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Originally Posted by vaygirl View Post
What should I use? I'm getting ready to set up a 5 gallon and I did river rocks in my 16 but that was before I decided to plant. I'll be moving some marimo balls, a little four leaf clover, some wisteria and a full grown anubias nana into the new tank, so what do ya'll suggest?

Last edited by beachkrazd; 01-16-2010 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:03 PM   #4 
1fish2fish
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anything will work.. gravel, sand, eco-complete (this is probably the best but also very pricey).
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:21 PM   #5 
dr2b
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I've also heard people say putting eco-complete UNDER the gravel works well. I've never personally tried it though. I use gravel and my plants are fine.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:34 PM   #6 
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Ive never heard of that.. eco complete looks similar to gravel so I dunno why gravel would go over top (unless you wanted a certain color).

The reason eco-complete is better is it has fertilizers in it. Its much more beneficial to the plant.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:04 PM   #7 
dr2b
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I think they were doing it to keep from having a mess in the tank... I've heard of it done w/ soil for the aquarium and eco-complete.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:15 PM   #8 
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My Cories live in my 16 gallon tank with Tango and they have smooth river rocks. Their barabels are normal looking, long and fine. I know they need sand but I didn't know that when I purchased them and I'd already had the tank set up for about a month when I added them. The fish store didn't tell me anything about their substrate of course and I've learned the hard way that you have to read, read, read, before you bring home any fish.

Taking the tank apart to add sand now would be a nightmare. I've thought about it and thought about it but I don't wanna have to recycle the tank. I've got a stable home for everyone now. They seem to do fine with the plants but none of them are particularly dense plants. They go over them all day looking for food. They seem to love the wisteria and sometimes they rest on the nana leaves.

I went with river rocks again in the new tank as I'd had some on-hand and I had success with the anubias nana and the water wisteria in them. Thanks for all the advice guys! :D My new betta is settling in nicely and he's awful cute! In the new tank I have my smaller nana, some four leaf clover, and a sprig of wisteria that I'm sure I'll be cutting back like a madwoman. Oh, and I took Al the marimo ball out of his home in the bathroom (yes, I had a pet algae ball in a jar) and now he lives with Whiskey! :)
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:00 PM   #9 
Scienceluvr8
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lol, that's cute!
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:16 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr2b View Post
I think they were doing it to keep from having a mess in the tank... I've heard of it done w/ soil for the aquarium and eco-complete.
Yeah I've heard of it done with soil.. I'm actually planning on doing a soil based planted tank with sand over top and gravel just around the plants and stuff.

All the eco-complete I've seen has looked a lot like gravel.. maybe there is also finer stuff out there that benefits from the gravel. I'm pretty new to the whole plant business so I may not have seen it yet.
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