Substrate and Fertilizer Questions

Discussion in 'Plant Fertilizers' started by Jahnikar, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Jahnikar

    JahnikarValued MemberMember

    I'm getting ready to completely re-do the aquascaping of my tank and change it to heavily planted with lots of driftwood. I'm wanting to change my substrate as I'm worried the sandblasting sand I currently have will be too sharp for my cory's barbells. I've been researching substrates specifically made for planted tanks and I'm not sure what to go with. Tank info is: 20 gallon standard, cycled. 78* temp, 0 amm, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate, 8.4 pH.

    Future inhabitants will be 1 appistogramma cacatuiodes, 8 neon tetras, 6 endlers, 6 panda corys, lots of RCS and MTS. I think the tank will be low-med light and I will NOT be doing any CO2. These are a few of the plants I plan to have: java moss, najas, crypt wendtii, water wisteria, downoii (pogostemon helferi), and aponogeton ulvaceus. I will probably be adding some others too, and will also have several pieces of driftwood. I definitely want to stay with a darker color substrate.

    For my purposes, would I be better off with SeaChem's Flourite or CaribSea's FloraMax? Obviously I like the price of the FloraMax better but I want whichever would be most beneficial for me over the long-term (though if I go with a different substrate, it does need to be relatively cheap). I don't think I want to do a dirted tank, unless that would be my better option. What do you guys recommend?

    Also, depending on what substrate I go with, should I use something like Flourish Excel or Root Tabs?
  2. Nikita

    NikitaWell Known MemberMember

    I've used both Flourite and FloraMax and both are more on the jagged/sharp side of substrate In My Opinion. When I had some cories with the substrates, they seemed to hover over the substrate instead of glide on it like they usually do (As if it hurt them to be on it). As well their whiskers became shorter after I added the substrate. Personally I wouldn't get either with the Cories. Some may other opinions so I don't know.

    I wold more recommend getting something like Pool Filter Sand or a type of other fine sand for the Cories (Mine loved it). They can actually be used as a great plant substrate as well. I would definitely get root tabs for any substrate that you get.

    As for Excel, it wouldn't matter what substrate you get, it wouldn't make a difference on what substrate you had to use it or not. Excel is a liquid Carbon source used many times in low-light set-ups like yours. Substrate does not provide a Carbon source. I would definitely recommend using Excel though, your plants will love it.

  3. OP

    JahnikarValued MemberMember

    What if I capped the FloraMax or Flourite with some cory-friendly sand? Would that impact the effectiveness of the plant substrate? If I can go that route, which would be the better substrate for my purposes?

    QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    IMO, the best substrate is MTS (mineralized topsoil) capped with PFS. The MTS lasts for years.
  5. Nikita

    NikitaWell Known MemberMember

    I've never tried it, but I'm sure it would work. I just don't believe that it would make a good appearance as far as looks go though. Either worked the same for me, I see no difference in them.
  6. Magoo

    MagooFishlore VIPMember

    I have and am again using tetra plant complete capped with this time play sand when the little hurdle is overcome.

    I think capping the fertilised substrate with sand will work well and yes you will see layers but it looks good in my opinion in one of my tanks I have dark fertilised substrate with crushed coral which is very light on top and you can always level it off in a slope so you don't see the fertilised bit at the front as I have done :)