What substrate should I use?

pelwomason

I'm thinking of starting a freshwater tank but I have no idea what kind of substrate to use; at my pet store there were packs and packs of different kinds of gravels, sands and soils and completely got lost.

Thanks in advance!
 

A201

A four inch substrate bed of Quikrete all purpose rounded river gravel, works well.
Home Depot and Lowe's sell it in the lawn and garden dept. or it can be bought on line.
Much cheaper than pet store gravel.
 

PAcanis

Nice. Pickings are scare around here.

I think you're working from the bottom up rather than the top down.
What kind of fish do you want? Some do better with one substrate over another.
Do you want live plants? Some substrate is easier to plant in than another for root feeding plants. Then you also get into layering substrates, which many do. And of course plants might affect the type of lighting you choose.
Then of course there's the cost factor. Bigger tanks cost much more in substrate costs, which is why many find a suitable substrate that can be duplicated at a HD or TSC. And lots of substrate means lots of weight.

I would pick a fish or fishes first.
 

Tigerburp

Fluval stratum is my go to, you can just use it gives you the option to do rooted plants which is quite nice
 

pelwomason

Nice. Pickings are scare around here.

I think you're working from the bottom up rather than the top down.
What kind of fish do you want? Some do better with one substrate over another.
Do you want live plants? Some substrate is easier to plant in than another for root feeding plants. Then you also get into layering substrates, which many do. And of course plants might affect the type of lighting you choose.
Then of course there's the cost factor. Bigger tanks cost much more in substrate costs, which is why many find a suitable substrate that can be duplicated at a HD or TSC. And lots of substrate means lots of weight.

I would pick a fish or fishes first.
I'm thinking of starting with a simple betta.
Does substrate really affect them? I've heard that bettas prefer to stay on top of the tank and don't really mind about the substrate
 

Tigerburp

I'm thinking of starting with a simple betta.
Does substrate really affect them? I've heard that bettas prefer to stay on top of the tank and don't really mind about the substrate
Substrate is mostly for plants unless you are getting corys
 

pelwomason

Substrate is mostly for plants unless you are getting corys
I fell in love with all the photos of those tanks covered in plants. What do you recommend for some beginner plants?
 

Tigerburp

I fell in love with all the photos of those tanks covered in plants. What do you recommend for some beginner plants?
I would start with java fern or anubias, and once you get comfortable step into rooted plants like monte carto
 

ProudPapa

I have sand in all my tanks, and like it just fine. When I want black I use Black Diamond sandblasting sand, which is relatively inexpensive, and available at places like Tractor Supply. It does need quite a bit of rinsing to keep from clouding up when you put it in the tank.

When I want a lighter one I use pool filter sand. It's also relatively inexpensive, available from pool supply stores, and usually needs little to no rinsing.

Both work fine for plants.
 

PAcanis

I'm thinking of starting with a simple betta.
Does substrate really affect them? I've heard that bettas prefer to stay on top of the tank and don't really mind about the substrate

My Betta hangs out all over my tank. Right now his fins are resting on the substrate.
 

ruud

For serious planting, use active soil, such as ADA Amazonia; but there are many brands on the market.
For low-maintenance/beginner plants, epiphytes are suitable, but these attach themselves (well, initially with a little help) to woods and rock; hence the soil is not important. Java fern is a popular example.
For aesthetics/aquascaping... do you have a minute or 60.... :)
 

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