Best Substrate For Low Tech Planted Tank?

Andreas Georges

Hello I have a new 55 gallon community tank that I want to set up. But, first I need a substrate to start. This is my second tank so I’m a bit experienced but not a pro. So what would be a good planted tank substrate for me, I would like a darker substrate because I like how it contrasts my fish. Thank you for your help!

86 ssinit

Being your going low tech. I say use gravel. The smaller the better. I like the 1/8” stuff. Any color will work (plants are color blind :) ). Again cause low tech keep it easy. Use root tabs and liquid ferts and either apI co2 booster or flourish excell. Feeding plants is as important as feeding fish :). Also the more water changed helps. Lighting is the next thing. Finnex is making a very nice 24/7 fixture called the HLC and it’s reasonably priced on eBay. Also cheaper still is the vivagrow 24/7. It’s a great starter light that I use on all of my tanks. My 125 planted discus tank below. All low tech :).




All my tanks have pool filter sand . I add root tabs for the root feeders and Thrive for the water column feeders. Although I did an outside experiment tank this summer with organic soil capped with PFS and I have to say it did amazing with a solar powered air pump and a dual sponge filter. My Bacopa and anacharis were showing a pinkish hue from natural sunlight. Since bringing it in and adding some stock even though I had 12 guppies in there most of the summer when I brought it in I added 10 tiger barbs and a Sunsun 302 and the plants look absolutely amazing with a Nicrew Skyled.


This is my first time with sand and I just love it ! I say go with sand.
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