View Full Version : planted tank substrate.

04-19-2012, 12:48 AM
Just wondering if i can add sustrate like flourite on top of established gravel, and if so what is a good product to buy thats ready in the bag or bulk? thanks

Lady Hobbs
04-19-2012, 12:55 AM
Not much point in putting it on top of gravel. You want to roots growing in the plant substrate, not the gravel. Most of the plant substrate looks better than gravel so you wouldn't want it under the gravel, either.

I buy aquariumplanets.com substrate.

04-19-2012, 01:32 AM
Thanks for your reply hobbs, but how do i remove old substrate without hurting fish and shrimp? do i need to remove fish? that would prove difficult for me and stressfull to the fish wouldnt it? i figured if i put it on top when i replant and re-arange some would get down in there where it would be better than what i got now at least. any advice on changing substrate would be great, thank you!

Lady Hobbs
04-19-2012, 03:39 AM
The shrimp makes it more difficult obviously. I think I would probably net out as many shrimp as possible, put the fish in a pail of tank water and just remove everything else but a few inches of water. Shrimp that are not caught are smart enough to move when you add the new substrate.

Add the plant substrate (well rinsed), fill the tank with the right temp, the dechlorinator and let the filters run for an hour (to remove gasses) and then add the shrimp and fish back to the tank.

Keep in mind plant substrate can be very dusty and leave a dark, cloudy tank. You may need to do a couple water changes to clear it up and it may still take a couple days. You may want to add the plants back to the tank after you can SEE what you are doing and the dust has settled so it's not all over the plants.

I catch many shrimp at a time by adding an algae waffer. They will cover that waffer within a few minutes and you can catch dozens at a time.

I have changed substrate leaving fish right in the tank but plant substrate being so dusty and those shrimp add to the problem some. I also crammed the filters full of filter floss to help filter the dust out faster, rinsing the floss numerous times.

04-19-2012, 03:58 AM
thank you for your help, i really appriciate it and it sounds like a good plan!! just out of curiosity though,,, can a small diameter gravel collect enough organic matter over time to feed rooted plants properly? i do use substrate ferts also. or am i trying to melt ice with ice?:scry:

Lady Hobbs
04-19-2012, 04:01 AM
Some have plants in gravel. And they also use the plant tabs shoved into it. But I would not use stem plants but plants with heavy-duty root systems. But you can also go the easy route and tie anubias to driftwood, add some floating plants, some java moss attached to rocks and that is also a nice looking tank without the bother of stem plants.

This is a tank I had with Silver Dollars that eat plants and not one plant is planted but still has the appearance of having plants. Without these particular fish, I could have had lots of anubias in the tank tied to driftwood.

This is almost a bare bottom tank with about 1/2" of gravel for looks, is all.

04-19-2012, 04:56 AM
Thanks again hobbs, I have wisteria, dwarf water lettuce, java moss, anacharis and a dwarf water lily bulb from walmart:scry: that is doing scary well. java moss is sandwiched between a grid and suctioned to a side wall, water lettuce is floating obviously and anacharis/wisteria is planted in the same type of gravel thats in the photo you posted( astounding tank by the way:l24: ). i love the wisteria. it was my first plant and was doing fantastic until it got way too tall and i cut the tops off and replanted. after that the bottom leaves disitegrated and the new/top growth slowed substantially and began drooping. could i possibly buy good substrate and replace around the plants that use it instead of remodeling the whole shebang???

Lady Hobbs
04-19-2012, 07:44 AM
Maybe it would do something in a pot of soil with gravel on top of the soil and if it doesn't do well, you could just remove it? Not sure what could have happened to it when it was doing so well. Trimming should have helped it. Sounds like you are doing very well with everything else, tho. good for you