What is your favorite substrate for planted tanks?

Cydeth

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I've created planted tanks in many substrates over the years, but the hardest to keep plants rooted in has always been sand for me.

I've used sand and gravel of many grades and shapes, I've used just aquarium soil without a cap. I've even used coir as a substrate when raising killifish and a few other species.

It all depends on the type of fish that will be in the tank, sometimes you really do have to suffer as a fish keeper.

I find that with sand I have the best results when I have an inch or two of aquarium soil capped with an inch or so of sand. The soil really only adds a temporary boost of nutrients, so you do have to add root tabs still, but the larger particle size and roughness seems to allow the roots to hold better.

I also find that with filter feeders or species that like to dig it is best to give the plants a couple of months to really establish the root structure to give them the best chance of holding on.

That's less important for gravel or coir, but those substrates are less suitable for bottom feeders anyway.
 

P J

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Always works, 1 inch peat moss cheaper the better no additives, capped with about 1 inch of 3mm gravel. Check peat moss does not cause turbid water by testing in a half plastic bottle filled with water leave for a week.
 

Arthur11

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I used this HTH 67074 pool filter sand for aquarium substrate, it also works great as a medium for aquarium filters. This filter also worked great at preventing algae bloom in my aquarium. I used to have a serious problem with algae turning the water and glass of my tank green. In the past, I needed to replace half the tank of water, which is quite tedious because I have several 100-gallon tanks. When I switched to this filter medium, the water can go for several weeks without a partial water change. This pool filter sand is so efficient that I highly recommend it for aquarists.
 
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Essjay

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Weekly water changes are recommended whatever the substrate and no matter how clean the water looks. All sorts of things build up in the water which need to be removed even though we can't see them or test for them.
 

itiwhetu

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I always use fine gravel 2-4mm in diameter. This allows the plants roots to grow easily it also ensures that you get good water movement through the substrate. I believe that sand leads to all sorts of long term problems in freshwater aquariums. If you you want good plant growth and a stable system use a neutral natural gravel in your tank.
 

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