Planted Tank substrate Newbie

3 posts

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:37 am

Planted Tank substrate Newbie

by jesse90

Hey guy's new to the forums I thought id finally sign up and try to get a few questions iv'e been having problems with answered. I own a 30 gallon tank and would like to try a planted tank this time instead of the normal plastic plants and disco gravel we all seem to have grown up with.

Iv'e done quite a bit of research and nothing iv'e seen has really answered my question about substrate ive seen people using special dirt and sand a mix of both some larger gravel everything. But i went to a few of my local aquarium supply stores and they want $35 for a small 5 pound bag of these dirt balls i guess you could call them and im on a bit of a budget.

I watched on video of a guy that uses 100% Organic Potting soil and covers it with play sand. Im not trying to grow alot of plants i mainly would like to get the entire floor covered with either Hemianthus Callitichoides or Eleocharis Acicularis. And a few other larger plants.

So if i went. The organic soil then the play sand (Washed of course) them planted the plants and waited like a month before adding any fish do you guys see any problems with this? Shoudl i buy anything to add to the soil? Help would really be appreciated

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:38 am

Re: Planted Tank substrate Newbie

by mycatsarejealous


i am also new to this forum but experienced with planted tanks...

you've got the right idea with the soil with the sand on top but man oh man is that going to be a pain to clean.

if you aren't trying to grow insanely "exotic" plants and don't have the time for crazy amounts of maintenance...use this stuff called eco-complete: ... catid=9087


API first layer laterite, which is even cheaper: ... catid=4876

you can use the eco complete straight or mixed but i would DEFINITELY mix the laterite with regular fine-to-medium grain can wash it all you want but it's going to stay very dusty and mixing it with reg gravel keeps the dust down when moving stuff about the tank and vacuuming and such...with any reputable weekly aquarium plant food and CO2 boosted, your plants will be fine and give you and the fish much more enjoyment with much less of a headache

ONE THING...research the PLANTING DEPTH of each plant you buy and try to buy plants that have been in the store for a bit and have established somewhat of a root ball...just ask the associates and be a pain in the ass if you have to be to make sure...when i first started planting, i had plant stems rotting through and it was all because i planted too shallow or too deep or because i had to force the stems into the substrate to stick because there was virtually no root to help it stay in

Site Admin
Posts: 746
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:48 pm

Re: Planted Tank substrate Newbie

by natalie265

I have used black eco-complete in all of my planted tanks. I love the look of it and it is hassle free. A 30 gallon tank would take two bags, costing around $20-30 per bag, so it is a little on the expensive side. A cheaper idea is to use clay kitty litter. There is a user on here who swears by it.

Planted Tank substrate Newbie

3 posts

Display posts from previous: Sort by: