Need help deciding a substrate for my 36 gallon tank.

zompoke

I have a 36 gallon bow front that I am setting up and can't decide on what type of substrate would be the best to use? I want to do a planted tank and already have a fluval plant 3.0 light to use on the tank. I want to try using soil but it looks like it could be too much work to keep up. And suggestions are appreciated.
 

ruud

Planted tank as in Dutch style? Or any particular scape you have in mind? To me the preferred end-result determines the choice for a substrate. You could place active soil in the back of your tank and sand substrate in the front and use some hardscape to keep these separated. So many options ;)

Active soil is not much work at all; but after a while it releases less nutrients. You could compensate this with a different fertiliser or root tabs; or simply remove some soil and add new soil.
 
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Darthmoli

Depends on your spending range really. Sand or soil is cheapest (sand will need supplements like root tabs obviously). Soil isnt really that hard to manage when capped off well and if you dont move your plants around much and if done right you can get some really insane growth out of soil. Walstad method can do really well.

If you got more money to spend Fluval is my top pick for the specialty brands but it is pricier.
 
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zompoke

Depends on your spending range really. Sand or soil is cheapest (sand will need supplements like root tabs obviously). Soil isnt really that hard to manage when capped off well and if you dont move your plants around much and if done right you can get some really insane growth out of soil. Walstad method can do really well.

If you got more money to spend Fluval is my top pick for the specialty brands but it is pri

Depends on your spending range really. Sand or soil is cheapest (sand will need supplements like root tabs obviously). Soil isnt really that hard to manage when capped off well and if you dont move your plants around much and if done right you can get some really insane growth out of soil. Walstad method can do really well.

If you got more money to spend Fluval is my top pick for the specialty brands but it is pricier.
What are those specialty brands?
 
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ruud

"Speciality" sand can be pretty pricy too. Most of my tanks have ADA La Plata; around 15 bucks for 2 kg. And I have a bit more than 2 kg in all my tanks... then again, I can use and re-use sand forever.

Again, it depends on the scape you have in mind. Starting with substrate doesn't make sense. Many plant species do really well in sand substrate without root tabs. But if you like to have a carpeting plant, well...you need to make a few other choices.
 
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sairving

In my 10 gallon tank I recently setup, I have a small bag of Brightwell Aquatics FlorinVolcanit Rio Escuro on the bottom. Nice thing about the brightwell aqua soil is it doesn't leach any ammonia. On top of that, I have 2 inches of pool filter sand. You could also use fluval stratum and do the same thing. Just use the soil where you plan on putting the plants. It saves money if you don't want to spend a ton on aquasoil.

I did supplement with some root tabs while the new plants get established. The tank has been running a few weeks and I do have growth on my crypts already.
 
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zompoke

In my 10 gallon tank I recently setup, I have a small bag of Brightwell Aquatics FlorinVolcanit Rio Escuro the bottom. Nice thing about the brightwell aqua soil is it doesn't leach any ammonia. On top of that, I have 2 inches of pool filter sand. You could also use fluval stratum and do the same thing. Just use the soil where you plan on putting the plants. It saves money if you don't want to spend a ton on aquasoil.

I did supplement with some root tabs while the new plants get established. The tank has been running a few weeks and I do have growth on my crypto already.
OK thanks for the info
 
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Darthmoli

What are those specialty brands?
Things like Fluval Stratum/ Flourite Black/ Amazonia Aqua soil/ UNS Controsoil are all special made for planted tanks. They are high in nutrients, easy maintenance and easy to plant in and also tend to look really good. They are just typically MUCH pricier than your regular substrate.

If you want to do something cheaper that can get you the same growth rate though you can do a mixture. I found a high success rate that was easy to maintain/looked great and lasted forever by doing a solid underlayer of organic soil (you can get from lowes or HD) aim for about 1.5in to 2in deep, and then cap that off with sand in some areas and Fluval or another specialty brand in others depending on how you want to setup your scape. This can give you the same growth but save you money from having to fill the whole substrate with the expensive stuff.
 
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DerekO24

Fluval stratum , capped off with some kind of sand is my favorite way to go. The stratum by itself looks unnatural IMO. The little round balls it comes in
 
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zompoke

Things like Fluval Stratum/ Flourite Black/ Amazonia Aqua soil/ UNS Controsoil are all special made for planted tanks. They are high in nutrients, easy maintenance and easy to plant in and also tend to look really good. They are just typically MUCH pricier than your regular substrate.

If you want to do something cheaper that can get you the same growth rate though you can do a mixture. I found a high success rate that was easy to maintain/looked great and lasted forever by doing a solid underlayer of organic soil (you can get from lowes or HD) aim for about 1.5in to 2in deep, and then cap that off with sand in some areas and Fluval or another specialty brand in others depending on how you want to setup your scape. This can give you the same growth but save you money from having to fill the whole substrate with the expensive stuff.
Ok thanks for the info
 
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Thunder_o_b

Do yourself and your pants a favor use pool filter sand if you want light, or Black Diamond blasting sand for black. Both are inexpensive.

Then dial in the supplements to suit your plants.

First photo is a 36 gal bow. Second is 150 gal. Third is a 55 gal.
 

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zompoke

Do yourself and your pants a favor use pool filter sand if you want light, or Black Diamond blasting sand for black. Both are inexpensive.

Then dial in the supplements to suit your plants.

First photo is a 36 gal bow. Second is 150 gal. Third is a 55 gal.
Im gonna use fruval stratum because I found a great deal on it and just like it from what I've dome with it in other tanks.

What kind of supplements do you use in your tanks? I have a tank with diamond sand in it and am looking for way of improving the plant life in it. Your tanks look great.
 
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Thunder_o_b

Thank you. I use six of the Seachem line. Root tabs and daily liquid supplements.

Lighting is also important. I use lights that you can dial in the wave lengths best for plants.
 
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zompoke

Thank you. I use six of the Seachem line. Root tabs and daily liquid supplements.

Lighting is also important. I use lights that you can dial in the wave lengths best for plants.
Ok thank you
 
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