Low tech substrate

deadlus3d

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Hello,

I will be setting up a tank with no CO2 and relatively easy plants to grow.

What is the best substrate combination for this?

I would like a dark substrate and I will be keeping mostly neon tetras.

Regards
 

deadlus3d

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Thanks, I like how the tank looks in that first pic.
What are the plants used in addition to the Vallniseria?
 

deadlus3d

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hello again,

i will use aquatic compost as underlay but i would like to use dark or black gravel above this. Can you tell me which brand to use considering I will keep bottom dwellers?

thanks
 
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Most bottom dwellers like sand so I would be looking for a brand of black sand rather than gravel. Cories and dwarf cichlids like sitting through it for example. Many, like gobies, burrow into it.
 
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Given you are going for a nutrient rich layer under the sand I don’t believe this will be a problem :)
 

castle

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I'd triple layer...

whatever soil from the garden (dig down about a foot under the lawn is a good bet) put about 1 inch of that down in the tank (wet it so that it is saturated), then put about 1 inch of gravel on top of that (this is for the plants to get wedged in. Then, add your sand on top.

The gravel will sink into the soil. You do this, so the sand doesn't sink into the soil (as quickly, give it 5 years it'll be a brown very wild natural looking mess).

Nutrient rich soil, followed by
Unipac nordic gravel (4-6mm), followed by
Unipac fiji fine sand


Easy, kind of. This isn't 3 inches of substrate, but it's a good 2 inches.
 

deadlus3d

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Hello Castle,

p.s. a juewl tank is 1m long by 41 cm wide. How many bags would I need to arrange the combination you suggested?

Also do I need to bury the roots right down to the first layer or just in the sand?

thanks
 

castle

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I don't know the densities of the substrates so I can't be super accurate.

Roughly you'll need 18kgs of sand (for 1 inch depth)
Around 18kgs of gravel to allow for it to sink into soil, but also give a layer above.

Soil I have no idea. But also, use your discretion the numbers are best guesses with densities. You certainly won't need it all.

Have you seen https://ukaps.org/forum/threads/the-soil-substrate-or-dirted-planted-tank-a-how-to-guide.18943/ ?

Aquatic compost should be fine, I've used it in the past.
 

castle

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Yeah, but plant first then trickle fill. So really, you want the plants crown to hit the gravel but not go much further.
 

JPT1974

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7 Jun 2015
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Wow it’s been a while. Hi Dedlus how you getting on? I went down your road a few years back. Although I was running Co2. I had some success and fails. The brand of aquatic soil I favoured after trying a few was Moerings/Velda brand.

Various things happened...’life’.... which ended up with the strip down of my aquarium. I set up again in January. This time I wanted a much freer substrate than purely aquatic compost with a sand cap. So I had the idea of using a couple of other Velda products. Super dense and Lelite

Super Densa is a light porous volcanic like grit. Lelite is an aquatic soil designed for use with greedy water lilies.

I mixed the two half and half, after giving the Super Densa a good rinse. I capped this with a fine washed gravel. I did put sand (sansibar river) down on the substrate at the front of the tank with the intention of carpeting. But my Cory’s loved playing the sand so much that I decided against it. Here the sand has worked its way though to reveal the substrate below. Worth keeping in mind if anyone tries this.

The results have been great. Lovely healthy root systems, happy plants and no algae. I do run CO2 at 1 bubble per second and dose daily with James C ‘all in one ‘ solution (recipe found at James Planted Tank)

I’ve set up a little, Very low tech tank at work with the same substrate with equal plants success all be it a bit slower 😁
Anyway I hope this has been some sort of interest
John
 

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