Does Planted Aquarium Substrate Go Bad?

  1. BettaFishKeeper4302

    BettaFishKeeper4302 Well Known Member Member

    So if i was to get like eco complete or some other substrate would it expire? Would i have to remove it? Thats why i have not used it. I have sand in my new 29 gallon and i am planning on getting some easy beginner plants that don't require a lot. Also just to put it out their, sand is ok for a planted tank right? I also have plants in gravel in my 10g.
     
  2. bryangar

    bryangar Well Known Member Member

    Most substrates meant for planted tank degraded after a while. Eco complete is one that doesn’t. Since it is an inert substrate, you would have to start dosing your tank with ferts after a few months, once the nutrients that it comes with runs out.

    Sand and gravel is perfectly fine for beginner plants.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    BettaFishKeeper4302

    BettaFishKeeper4302 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks.
     
  4. DuaneV

    DuaneV Well Known Member Member

    Yes. At some point all the nutrients will be used up. I grew up with a grandfather who was a serious fish keeper and he had mostly dirted tanks capped with sand. Every summer we'd dump the tanks and re-dirt them. Pain in the butt. Made me stop keeping dirted tanks and switch to simple plants.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    BettaFishKeeper4302

    BettaFishKeeper4302 Well Known Member Member

    What do you use for the simple plants?
     
  6. DuaneV

    DuaneV Well Known Member Member

    I mean, you dont have to worry about the substrate going "bad" because the plants arent fussy. The bioload coupled with lighting and water changes is all simple plants need. I use sand in all my tanks.
     
  7. -Mak-

    -Mak- Well Known Member Member

    There are two different types of aquarium plant substrates, soil based ones and non-soil based ones.

    The soil type are nutrient rich and eliminate the need for root tabs. Examples include ADA Aquasoil, Controsoil, Fluval Stratum, and Tropica plant soil. Being soil, also very easy and ideal to root in. Though it depends on how heavily you plant and how much fertilizer is dosed into the water column, they generally are depleted after a couple years, and break down into mud. A lot of aquascapers and planted tank keepers like to tear down and rescape their tanks in a shorter period of time than that though, so it's not a huge issue for regular scapers. Unfortunately long term tanks need to have the substrate replaced.

    The non-soil type, basically Seachem Flourite and Eco-complete, don't come loaded with the same nutrients. Both companies advertise the nutrient rich, complete (eco-complete literally has it in the name) properties of the substrates, but both lack nitrogen and phosphorus, critical plant nutrients. In addition, how much of the listed minerals are actually bioavailable to plants, we don't know. In the end these types of substrates don't need to be replaced, because they don't come with much in the first place. On the plus side, they are cheaper, and don't break down.