Substrate what should i do

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joeyr188

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Hello, currently I’m cycling a 20gal long to hold guppies or endlers not sure yet some shrimp,snails and possibly a bn pleco and I plan on doing a lot of guppie grass,floaters,Anubis and different types of moss but I’m unsure on what substrate I should pick should I do gravel or a nutrition substrate for the plants i also plan to mix in crushed coral to help raise the gh would that affect the plants? I’m also trying to do the substrate for around 30$ max. Suggestions?
 

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Hello, currently I’m cycling a 20gal long to hold guppies or endlers not sure yet some shrimp,snails and possibly a bn pleco and I plan on doing a lot of guppie grass,floaters,Anubis and different types of moss but I’m unsure on what substrate I should pick should I do gravel or a nutrition substrate for the plants i also plan to mix in crushed coral to help raise the gh would that affect the plants? I’m also trying to do the substrate for around 30$ max. Suggestions?
Hi joeyr. For smaller fish, standard pea sized gravel is fine. For the easy to grow plants, you don't need special bottom material, fertilizers or lighting. For a 20 gallon tank, removing and replacing half the tank water every few days will keep the tank water safe for the fish, so don't fret over a specific water chemistry. None of these items will break your bank account.

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Before going down the road of mixing substrates or preparing different water, you should review what you now have. What is the GH, KH and pH of your source (tap) water?

This will tell you/us if anything is neded for the fish. Plants need calcium among 17 nutrients, but this doesn't take much.

I agree not to mess with expensive plant substrates that really do not do much anyway, except cost a ton of money and often mess with water chemistry. Even if it did, it would not benefit Anubias or floaters or moss, none of which are rooted in the substrate. I also agree that gravel is fine, but do not have it larger than pea gravel as this will cause bacterial issues. Provided you do not ever intend substrate fish like cories, which need soft sand. Think ahead here, because while changing the substrate is certainly doable, it is much easier to select the correct one to start with.
 

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One thing to consider is that sand is much easier to maintain clean, as poop and debris tend to stay on top, making it easy to remove dying water changes. Gravel allows more to go between grains, downwards, making harder to remove. Otherwise, as suggested above. Good luck.
 

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One thing to consider is that sand is much easier to maintain clean, as poop and debris tend to stay on top, making it easy to remove dying water changes. Gravel allows more to go between grains, downwards, making harder to remove. Otherwise, as suggested above. Good luck.
The OP mentioned a budget. Another advantage is that you can get play sand at a hardware store for extremely affordable prices. Like $5-7 for a 50 pound bag.
 
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joeyr188

joeyr188

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Bumping, for a question currently I’m rising the play sand and I Remembered I have half a bag of a 4 pound bag of Fluval stratum I’m thinking I should do a thin layer of sand sprinkle the rest of the stratum then cap it with the sand I want oppion
 

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Bumping, for a question currently I’m rising the play sand and I Remembered I have half a bag of a 4 pound bag of Fluval stratum I’m thinking I should do a thin layer of sand sprinkle the rest of the stratum then cap it with the sand I want oppion

No. If you are, or might in the future be, thinking of suitable substrate level fish, they will not be suitable with Stratum or any other so-called plant substrate. There is a bacterial issue, plus perhaps the roughness. Fish like cories for example, and the pygmy species would be nice here (depending upon your intentions) but not with Stratum. Also, its benefits for plants is highly questionable anyway. I made the mistake several years ago of listening to members (elsewhere) persuading me to use Flourite...big mistake.
 
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joeyr188

joeyr188

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No. If you are, or might in the future be, thinking of suitable substrate level fish, they will not be suitable with Stratum or any other so-called plant substrate. There is a bacterial issue, plus perhaps the roughness. Fish like cories for example, and the pygmy species would be nice here (depending upon your intentions) but not with Stratum. Also, its benefits for plants is highly questionable anyway. I made the mistake several years ago of listening to members (elsewhere) persuading me to use Flourite...big mistake.
So I shouldn’t I should just use sand?
 

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So I shouldn’t I should just use sand?

Yes, inert sand is your overall best substrate because most all fish (exception being the larger cichlids, maybe) are OK with soft sand, and all rooted plants will grow very well in sand. You canalways use substrate tabs and/or liquid comprehensive fertilizers if needed (depends upon the plants and fish load).

Play Sand is the most inexpensive option, and perfectly safe, at least the Quikrete Play Sand available in Lowe's or Home Depot is.
 
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joeyr188

joeyr188

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Yes, inert sand is your overall best substrate because most all fish (exception being the larger cichlids, maybe) are OK with soft sand, and all rooted plants will grow very well in sand. You canalways use substrate tabs and/or liquid comprehensive fertilizers if needed (depends upon the plants and fish load).

Play Sand is the most inexpensive option, and perfectly safe, at least the Quikrete Play Sand available in Lowe's or Home Depot is.
Ok I understand I got my play sand at ace hardware for 6$ i also might get some root tabs just in case
 

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Ok I understand I got my play sand at ace hardware for 6$ i also might get some root tabs just in case

Substrate tabs are good for larger rooted plants, like large swords. I also used the tabs for aponogeton and red tiger lotus. The best I've used are Seachem's Flourish Tabs. All other plants benefit more from liquid fertilizer.
 

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