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whats the best substrate?
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violentray
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Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Location: Macomb, IL

PostPosted: 2005.05.02(Mon)0:02    Post subject: whats the best substrate? Reply with quote

I have a 15H tank and am really hoping to make it my first truely planted tank.

I just read the article in the last TFH magazine about amano and his nature aquariums and just blown away by the photos and directions about how to put together a planted tank. (TFH is the greatest magazine ever)

so Amano used Aqua Soil, then another dark substrate, and also light sand for the front of the tank.

so my question is - With all the different substrates to choose from, what is best?

I was thinking of using only onyx sand, but that is expensive, then I heard about South Down play sand, there is also calci-sand, reptile sand, ground coconut shell, Eco complete, and Top soil. with so many choces what is a person to do.

what is best substrate to use? I wanted the substrate to be about 4 inches in back and 1 1/2 in front. and I would prefer a light sand in front because I think it looks better.

the tank would hold a betta, panda corys, otos, and about 9 Black Neons. tap water is so hard you can roller skate on it. lighting would be about 2.8 WPG with a retro kit from AH supply.
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Rex Grigg
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Joined: 26 Feb 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.02(Mon)6:47    Post subject: Re: whats the best substrate? Reply with quote

violentray wrote:
I have a 15H tank and am really hoping to make it my first truely planted tank.

I just read the article in the last TFH magazine about amano and his nature aquariums and just blown away by the photos and directions about how to put together a planted tank. (TFH is the greatest magazine ever)

so Amano used Aqua Soil, then another dark substrate, and also light sand for the front of the tank.

so my question is - With all the different substrates to choose from, what is best?

I was thinking of using only onyx sand, but that is expensive, then I heard about South Down play sand, there is also calci-sand, reptile sand, ground coconut shell, Eco complete, and Top soil. with so many choces what is a person to do.

what is best substrate to use? I wanted the substrate to be about 4 inches in back and 1 1/2 in front. and I would prefer a light sand in front because I think it looks better.

the tank would hold a betta, panda corys, otos, and about 9 Black Neons. tap water is so hard you can roller skate on it. lighting would be about 2.8 WPG with a retro kit from AH supply.


Well if you think Onyx is too expensive then you will die of shock at the price of the Amano substrates. And personally I hate Onyx.

Of all the substrates you listed the Eco-Complete would be the best choice and it can be found fairly cheaply mail order. The next best choice would be play sand. Ground coconut shells would be a total mess as it's very light and would most likely make your tank look like mud. Top Soil can be done but I NEVER recommend it to someone fairly new in the hobby. And then I only recommend it if the person has read "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" at least twice.

I prefer Flourite or Eco-Complete. I'm not a fan of fine sands as they cause a ton of problems are are totally inert and do nothing for the plants beyond holding them down.


And if this tank is only a 15H and you are complaining about the price of substrates then you need to examine your thinking. Planted tanks run in the neighborhood of $10-$20 a gallon to setup. That doesn't include the price of the tank and stand but does include most other hardware and substrate. But doesn't include fish or plants.

Spending a few dollars on a quality substrate up front is money well spent. You won't end up replacing it due to problems later on. Spend money once wisely or many times foolishly.
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