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What subtrates does everyone use for their planted tanks and what have you found to be the best? If you don't use subtrate, do you use fertiliser balls? Seeing I have to start again with my 75l I am going to do it properly with a good quality subtrate and the correct lighting.

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I just use river sand in my planted tank. I put a 50% layer of unwashed, so it had all the mud and co. and then the top 50% layer was well washed. The plants seem to of gone crazy. I am getting rid of that tank so when i get the new one, i plan to use some of that special stuff they sell in aquariums to go under the gravel, and the fine white pool filter sand they sell at pool shops :(

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I use a combination of coarse river sand and small gravel. For root feeders I also use clay root-balls etc. None of my current plants need to be fed by the roots, though. Stem plants take nutrients from the water column so adding fertiliser to the gravel isn't as important for them. The one think I have found to really make a big difference in a planted tank, much more so that substrate, is light. It seems to be impossible to get a standard tank set up that has anywhere near enough WPG for even hygro etc to grow. All my planted tanks have had to be modified to squeeze in extra tubes under the hood to get anywhere near enough light happening. Annoying! Wish I could afford metal halide :(

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I have used that stuff they sell in aquarium stores, it's called Fluorite. I have used it alone and as a layer under regular gravel and have found that, once the water clears, it's great.

The one think I have found to really make a big difference in a planted tank, much more so that substrate, is light. It seems to be impossible to get a standard tank set up that has anywhere near enough WPG for even hygro etc to grow.

I agree, Lighting is SO important. If you can't add extra lights, only go with low light level plants. :)

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well they look absolutely awesome, and your red plants will stay red, and you can grow riccia and other stuff people will be envious of but ... you would have to be serious about plants to fork out that much or more for one! Something to dream about, though. Anyone know if MH gets hot?

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MH is heat +++, no good in a small tank without either serious fannage or a tiny chiller, it'd just roast. compact fluros should be more than enough, providing you can get 1WPG or more, you can grow good plants. I don't think they sell retrofit kits for those tanks out here yet :( *maybe* one of those balancy-on-the-spaceage-legs lights that hovers over the tank would hold 2 tubes? that'd get you over 1wpg :) As for substrate, i have java fern, so it doesn't matter, but when i had other stuff it grew fine in fine gravel. The main thing is not to have big gravel, and not to have powdery sand, as powdery sand compacts a lot, and course rocks (pea-sized gravel or bigger) leave the roots too exposed.

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