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Tropica substrate - a little confusing

11 Sep 2018
East Midlands
I'm considering going down the black sand route for a makeover after being dissuaded from using crushed coral. However, thinking about what, if any, nutrient layer I should use I've seen several Tropica products that maybe do the same job. One product in a local shop is called 'Substrate - nutrition for plants'. Is this the same as Aquarium soil? Also, can I use this with sand on top or should I use gravel over it? Thanks for any advice offered.


13 Apr 2014
One of them is a powdered soil that you use as the bottom layer and the other is a prilled substrate (little rounded balls), that goes on top of the first. First layer needs only be centimetre or so deep, the rest an inch or so on top. JBL volcano mineral can go on top of all of this to lock it into place if need be as both Tropica substrates are very light weight and can be difficult to plant in (I put the volcano mineral as a middle layer and within a few hours the two top layers reversed so the mineral ended up on top), black sand is likely denser than the lot and may end up as a base layer when used as a cap. Once roots are grown in through the first powder layer it will hold plants firmly, uprooting at this point can get very messy.

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