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MCools
09-06-2010, 04:54 PM
What exactly is subsrtate? Do I need it for live plants in my tank? I just have gravel right now ( I was told thats all I need) and I have 2 1/2 plants in my ten gallon tank. I have a grass thats spreading ( the 1/2) and what I think is a red leafed ludwigia.(spelling?) I had what I found out was a hornwort in there too, but I removed it because it was shedding too much. I have had a really hard time getting the ludwigia to root, it just comes in cuttings banded together at my LFS.

sebastien
09-06-2010, 05:01 PM
Substrate is whatever bottom you have..give the plants some time to root..dont mess with them or you restart it

MCools
09-06-2010, 05:08 PM
Thanks! You've been very helpful today!thumbs2:

SkipW
09-06-2010, 05:09 PM
Plant substrate is better for a planted aquarium because it contains nutrients and minerals that are good for the plants. Mostly for root feeding plants.
A good plant substrate will add the benefits to your plants without the need for extra additives to the water. You will be able to grow a wider variety of plants in a good substrate. Think of it as an upgrade to gravel.

You can successfully grow plants in your standard gravel as well but I would stick to the "easy to grow" or beginner" plants.
Your lighting also plays a big factor in the growth of your plants.

MCools
09-06-2010, 05:20 PM
Is it hard to add substrate to an established tank? I like the gravel I have, so I'd like to at least keep it on top, but wouldn't that be hard to do? I wouldn't want my tank to look like a mud pit or something by stirring up all the gravel like that.

I have good lighting, indirect sunlight for 6-8 hours a day plus the tank lights. I don't think they are full spectrum though.

SkipW
09-06-2010, 05:33 PM
Adding substrate under the gravel will get messy and stir up everything you have in the tank but it will eventually settle back down. If you're not willing to do this, I would suggest just staying with what you have. Seachem makes some really good products for plants, but only add if you find you need them.
Ludwiga can be hit or miss depending on the variety, your lighting and water conditions, I wouldn't consider it to be an "easy" plant, but some people find it to thrive without doing much to it. I would start with Crypts, Anubias, Java Ferns, even mosses can thrive with out much intervention. Every tank is going to be different and you'll need to see what works best for you.

sebastien
09-06-2010, 05:34 PM
If you wanted to add substrate, you should remove fish and place in bucket/container. Remove old substrate. Rinse new substrate thoroughly..you can put the sand or whatever on the bottom, and then you can put a thinner layer of your gravel back on top. If you decide to do this plan it out before starting as to minimize stress on fish. Also, dont rinse the gravel that you take out of the tank, unless it's with tank water/treated, doing so would kill the beneficial bacteria that is established on the surface. Ok, I'm done typing.