Substrate for Planted Tanks

  1. Eskimo180 Initiate Member

    Hello everyone! I am pretty new to the site and I just got my first aquarium today! YAY! It is huge, I wasnt planning on getting that big of an aquarium. It is 58 gallons but very compact. I will post some pics soon. Well, I would really like to have a planted tank. Exactly what kind of substrate do I need? Do I just get gravel or is there something else I put under the gravel? If so, how do I vacuum it without the bottom layer coming up? Sorry for so many questions. One more though, for the cycling process, would it be ok to use Corys? Thanks for any responses you can give! ???

    Eskimo
     
  2. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to FishLore! You can pretty much use any substrate for a planted tank! Some types are easier to clean than others. When you mix substrates and have layers, folks don't deep clean those and usually only hover their gravel vac over the top. If you use gravel, you can deep clean it and just don't get more than a couple of inches from the roots. There is a substrate called Eco Complete that is more expensive than regular gravel, but is especially made for planted tanks. You can vacuum it, and it's supposed to have nutrients helpful to plants. It's also black and beautiful in the tank.
     

  3. atmmachine816 Fishlore VIP Member

    as far as im concerned corys r not good cylcling fish they finicking and ther harder to feed sometimes wen ther r no other fish in the tank do a fishless cyle
     

  4. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    Thanks ATM. I missed that. I totally agree. Don't cycle with cory cats. They are too delicate to cycle with. Why not go ahead and set up your tank with live plants and do a fishless cycle?
     

  5. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    I think that the types of plants should determine the type of substrate(s) you use. Some plants need elaborate maintenance while others hardly need anything. Some plants need a good substrate (and various fertilizers plus CO2 provision) where they can grow their roots and thrive, other plants can be simply attached to a rock or a driftwood and therefore don't need any substrates. Some plants don't have high lighting requirements while others need high wattage bulbs in order to grow well.

    If you want a low maintenance planted tank, you could get some Anubias, Java Ferns, and Java Moss, all of which are commonly known to be easy to maintain and they can all be attached to decor, therefore not requiring any special substrates. Regular lighting will do for them as well. They will grow. However, if you really want them to thrive, you could get regular double light strips, or some other higher wattage light strips - it all depends on your wallet when talking about low light plants. But there are kinds of plants that must be provided with strong lighting and CO2, otherwise they die. So be careful when buying plants.

    Another thing is that plants are good competitors for algae. The more plants you have, the less algae you have. And all these plants can be low light. You can be adding iron fertilizers for plants to grow better - but these iron fertilizers also provide nutrients for algae and you can unintentionally cause algal blooms. So you have to be careful about that too. Besides, iron fertilizers are also commercial products that - like many other commercial products - will unnecessarily contribute to the dangerous osmotic pressure.
     
  6. Jason Well Known Member Member

    If you are going to get corys and other catfish its probably best if you get finer gravel or sand so they can dig/burrow without hurting themselves. I have quite corse gravel but will change it to finer stuff when I get my new tank
     
  7. newbie101 Well Known Member Member

    to do a fishless cycle don't forget to "feed" the bacteria! you could let it sit w/o "food" for a year and it still woudlnt get cycled bcause the bacteria dont have anything to grow on. So you can use fish food, or you can do pure ammonia in small amounts
     
  8. Maida_gc Member Member

    I am a complete believer in a fishless cycle - it's not that tough to wait for the fish either. Give you time to set up your tank exactly how you want it as well. I used the cocktail shrimp method to get my ammonia up - its working great, I couldn't find pure not scented ammonia in my area.
    http://aqualinkwebforum.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/5016054522/m/7016054522

    The water gets a little smelly for a bit, but it goes away once the nitrates kick in. I used a shrimp for a week, removed it, and then fed my tank shrimp pellets, removing them after a day or two for new ones, and I'm nearly done. 3 weeks and I should be all done soon. Good luck.
     
  9. Eskimo180 Initiate Member

    Thank you everyone for all of your replies! I really needed the help. Sorry I havent been replying back for a while. 
    For the fishless cycle, I just add plants? Do I put ammonia in or food?
    Thanks again for all of your help!  :D

    Eskimo
     
  10. Jason Well Known Member Member

    Plants can be there and its your choice whether you want to use food or pure ammonia
     
  11. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Live plants are far better than fake ones. First of all, they produce oxygen necessary for fish. Second, they are natural water purifiers - they remove heavy metals from water that are otherwise very dangerous to fish. Thirdly, they help remove toxic ammonia and nitrites as well as use fish and food waste as their nutrients. I cannot find ONE reason why plants wouldn't be great in any tank. But do not use demanding plants if you have standard lighting - for that, low-light plants are best.
     
  12. Eskimo180 Initiate Member

    Thanks again! One more question. Should I mix Eco Complete with Flourite? Some guy at a petstore told me to do that. Does it help? He said that they are meant to mix together because they dont have the proper nutrients to support plants by themselves. Is this true? Thanks

    Eskimo
     
  13. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    Flourite and eco-complete are meant to be used alone. they are complete substrates in themselves.
    I don't think anyone gave you anybeginners info so here is a good place to start. Fishless cycling is much more humane ;)
    Carol
     
  14. Eskimo180 Initiate Member

    Thanks again for the advice. Do you think Eco Complete or Flourite is better?

    Eskimo
     
  15. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    I have never used the flourite so I can't say how good it is, but I really like my eco-complete.
    Carol