Which substrate and/or base layer

Fisher2007

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I'm still very much learning about 'how to actually keep plants' rather than keeping an aquarium and by default keeping some plants that seem to do reasonably well, hence my questions (excuse the ramble but background is always good, right..?!)

Currently I've got two tanks running;
Tank 1 - Aqua nano 55 litre - this has been set up in it's current form about 15 months. It contains JBL sansibar grey substrate, few generic rocks, some redmoor root, java fern and some floating frogbit. The filter media has been upgraded and so too has the light, to a Chihiros A series. Stocking is 12 ruby barbs, 8 cherry barbs and a couple of baby ancistrus plecs. Maintenance is a 50% water change weekly. Daily dosing of easy carbo and TNC lite ferts. The tank thrives, fish look great and it's doing well. I like the look of the substrate vs rock vs simple planting. I know it's overstocked fish wise but there was always a plan there, see below
Tank 2 - Aqua nano 100 litre - similar to the above but this tank has been running 4 plus years. Contains a basic gravel, anubias (various kinds), java (couple of kinds) and frogbit again. Similar rocks and wood. Stocking is 10 cardinals, 10 rummy nose, 2 x corys. Filter media upgraded again and same with the lighting, to a Chihiros A series. Plants do ok, not as well as the 55 litre but I have neglected this tank a little

The plan has always been, since setting up the 55 litre, to upgrade one of the tanks or get a third even bigger tank. After much debate I've now ordered a 1400 x 450 x 420 braceless and this is going to replace the 100 litre tank. The livestock from the 55 litre (by that I mean fish) will then be moved to the new tank. Fish in the 100 litre I'm not sure about yet (probably go back to the LFS) and the plants have probably seen better days, so they will go in the bin and new plants for the new tank ordered. The 55 litre will remain as is, it will just be restocked with fish which are more appropriate

So for the new tank I basically want it to be a bigger version of the 55 litre - similar rocks, similar wood, same substrate (JBL Sansibar grey) and similar "easy" plants, albeit a few more species this time - various anubias, java, buce, crypts, etc. With all that in mind, here's my questions;
- What is the best way to give these plants the best start in the system? Should I add some sort of base substrate (off the shelf type or soil) or maybe root tabs? I appreciate not all the plants are root feeders as such (so won't be pushed into the substrate). And if I do go with a base layer how soon afterwards can I put fish in it? Or should I just continue with daily ferts and no base layer?

Just to add re the new tank, the lighting will be the same Chihiros A series but obviously I'll add a couple more lights to make sure the overall light quantity (if you can call it that) is the same as the existing tanks. And there will be no CO2, just liquid carbon. Filteration will be 2 x Oase biomaster thermo filters

At a later date, subject to time and desire, I like the idea of adding CO2, possibly upgrading the lights and then trying some slightly harder plants but for now I just want to start easy, rather than punch for something different and end up frustrated when maybe it doesn't work out. That said, if I can do something now which will help with that change in the future I'm open to that

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

zozo

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All plants can take up nutrients from the foliage (via watercolumn) as sufficiently as from the roots. Than if you feed the water column sufficiently than obviously in flooded invironment this same water column drains into the substrate at the bottom. Making it available for the intire plant, it than feeds from foliage and roots simmultaniously. Adding extra root tabs can be beneficial but is not a must if the water column is sufficiently fertilized.

Substrate is a hot and often debated topic and opinions and experiences differ in a wide range.. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and experience. But proof is in the pudding and you can find aqauriums that grow the most beautifull lush plants and contain sand only as subsrate.. Others use gravel, or dirted soil or add this or that, all well nothing wrong with it. But if it is realy so much beter remains the million dollar question. If it is for your peace of mind and plants are growing healthy than simply lets rock and roll and we have non to complain. If you experience something good with a particular product, than why change a winning team for the future? And hence than you have all the right to recomend it to others as something good.

Thus bottom line growing plants has little to do with type of substrate used..
 

Fisher2007

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Not anywhere near some of the aquariums on here but there's lots of room for progress and I'm happy with them for now
 

Conort2

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Not sure how long you’ve had the ruby barbs but they’ll get too big for that 55litre, especially having 12 of them in there. They’re quite a fair sized fish and very active. The cherry barbs will be perfect however.

Nice tanks btw, especially the 100litre.

Cheers

Conor
 

Fisher2007

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C
Not sure how long you’ve had the ruby barbs but they’ll get too big for that 55litre, especially having 12 of them in there. They’re quite a fair sized fish and very active. The cherry barbs will be perfect however.

Nice tanks btw, especially the 100litre.

Cheers

Conor
Completely agree. Their new tank won't be too much longer
 
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I also like your 100litre. You might want to try moving the big anubias from the back right to the back left. This will give you a great triangular layout :)
 

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