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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:53 pm
by FinFan
I was wondering, can I a take pre-existing aquarium, with your normal nothing to it substrate, and turn that into a thriving planted aquarium? Could I take some of that substrate out and replace it with nutrient rich substrate? I want to have a low-tech planted aquarium but my plants that I have currently, Hornwart and a Java Fern in sad condition, are not exactly "doing well". Somebody please guide me in the right direction!!! I also don't want to have to put nutrients in.What kind of substrate do you reccomend? Is Flourite good?

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:17 pm
by scroudt100
I've heard lots of good things about Flourite, there are alot of people on this forum that use it. I aven't tried it my self. I'm currently running a tank with eco-complete, I like it.

Re: Substrate

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:59 pm
by kb46
Finfan - given that you are still working out your lighting I wouldn't be rushing out to purchase commercial substrates - they can be expensive.

There is nothing preventing you having a great planted tank with plain gravel but it can limit your plant choice (but not as much as lighting does). You can aim for plants that feed predominantly through the leaves - java ferns, bolbitus, mosses, anubias, elodea, hornwort. The good thing is these are low light, low tech plants too. There are other plants that feed with their roots and still do ok in plain gravel in a low tech tank where growth is slow anyway - water wisteria, hygrophilas, swords, vals, sag, crypts etc. You can put root tabs in to give these rooted plants a boost if you like but in a low tech setup they can be quite content relying on mulm and detritus from your fish waste.

You may find a problem with plain substrate if your gravel is sharp or too large - stem plants can rot off at the base. This might be the limiting factor in using your existing gravel. The best substrate for holding plants in place I have found has grain size around 3mm in diameter - a really coarse sand or really fine gravel.

Of course, if cash is unlimited or you want to spend some time making a DIY substrate - your plants will thank you for a nutrient rich substrate and we can give you advice on these.