Help Best Planted Substrate

Mychal

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I have a 55 gallon tank and plan to do a "make-over" on decor and take out artificial and bring in real. I'm curious what the best substrate is for plants to really thrive in.

I have heard of Eco-complete, my friend has it and thinks it is overpriced for what you do get out of it. Are there any better options?
 

-Mak-

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Eco-complete is more like gravel, pretty inert. Nutrients come from the breakdown of soil, which is rich in humus. Humus and other organics-rich substrates have a high cation exchange capacity, which means they take in nutrients from the water. So the "best" will be a soil based, aquarium specific substrate. These soils are all geared more towards aquascaping, so an aquascaping shop online or if you're lucky, in person, should carry some of those. ADA Amazonia is pretty much considered the best of the best but it does release ammonia for a few weeks to cycle and feed the plants.

Soil is superior to other things like sand, gravel, etc not only because of the nutrients, but also the porosity and structure. Soil is much, much more porous than things like sand and gravel, and bacteria that cycle, breakdown waste, and make nutrients available to roots will live in the soil. The structure of soil makes it easier for plants to root in.

More info:
Complete guide to substrates for the planted aquarium
 

Dave125g

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Thunder_o_b said:
Best is very subjective. How much effort do you want to put into this? I use sand.
Good question. What's best for plants and what's best for the fish keeper are 2 different things.
 

86 ssinit

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Any thing but eco-complete!!!! I’m using 1/8”-1/4 gravel root tabs and liquid ferts with good results
 

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