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Discussion Starter #1
I am putting together a new 75 gallon tank and I need some advice on some of the particulars for the things I need for this tank. First of all I would like for you guys to help me figure out which Substrate will best suit this tank.

The types of fish that will live in this tank will be Danios, Barbs, a Pleco, and one or two Loaches. Will certain substrates be more likely to hurt these types of fish?

I want this to be a planted tank so nutrient value will be important. From your experience which substrates provide the greatest constant level of nutrients while allowing good root growth?

I've taken a look around and the following are the types of gravel I have relatively easy access too:
Jade Gravel
Onyx Gravel
Onyx Sand
Flourite
Flourite Red
Flourite Black
Flourite Dark
Flourite Black Sand
Eco-Complete
Flora Max
Volcanit Gravel
Flora Base

Maybe if you guys could give me your top three picks, and why you like each of them. From that I can make my final choice based on cost, esthetics, etc.
 

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I don't have much experience with any of those except the Onyx Sand (nothing to write home about), but I'd probably leave out the Flourites. The flourites have got pretty sharp edges and especially with Botia loaches, they're likely to be less than thrilled.
 

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Hello
First i would like to throw another substrate into your list. http://www.aquariumplants.com/product_p/ss.htm cost wise its pretty good im pretty happy so far but have only been using for a short time. The amount you get for what you pay is the biggest plus so far! So cost + amount + it looks pretty good puts this at one. i couldn't come close to filling my tank with what i spent if i went for some of the other substrates.

I prefer anything that looks natural. so that puts Flourite in my list at number two.The results i have gotten since switching to Flourite from the sand i was using before have been nothing short of amazing.

I also like the way the plants look against black, so onyx black is my third choice. it looks great. I can't say much for the actual plant growth, I think it has to do with the roots having trouble moving through the small tight compact grains of sand. I think flourite black would be much better, but as i have never used it i can't say.

What kind of loaches are you looking at?

Edit: yes flourite has sharp edges, my skunk loach doesn't seem to mind. he digs in it a lot looking for MTS to snack on (i don't think he can eat them but he sure wants to). My Krib is the only other one that really plays in it and he to seems to not mind at all the edges.

I can absolutely see where a fish could get hurt by it though but have yet to see any injures.
 

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I am putting together a new 75 gallon tank and I need some advice on some of the particulars for the things I need for this tank. First of all I would like for you guys to help me figure out which Substrate will best suit this tank.

The types of fish that will live in this tank will be Danios, Barbs, a Pleco, and one or two Loaches. Will certain substrates be more likely to hurt these types of fish?

I want this to be a planted tank so nutrient value will be important. From your experience which substrates provide the greatest constant level of nutrients while allowing good root growth?

I've taken a look around and the following are the types of gravel I have relatively easy access too:
Jade Gravel
Onyx Gravel
Onyx Sand
Flourite
Flourite Red
Flourite Black
Flourite Dark
Flourite Black Sand
Eco-Complete
Flora Max
Volcanit Gravel
Flora Base

Maybe if you guys could give me your top three picks, and why you like each of them. From that I can make my final choice based on cost, esthetics, etc.
I've used three of the ones you mentioned above (Onyx Sand, Flourite, Eco-Complete). My recommendation would be either Eco-Complete or Flourite Black Sand. Onyx Sand I am still using but it isn't as dark as you might want. I currently have some zebra loaches in a tank that uses Flourite and they have never hurt themselves.
 

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I've used flourite and onyx sand. The onyx seems to buffer the water to some extent though the effect is reduced with time. A lot of plants including the hard water crypts do very well with it. I like the flourite a lot better. It will grow anything and it has never hurt my loaches or cory cats. I've had kuhlis, Yo Yos, and some kind of striped loach in it and they dig around without any problems. Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More Substrate Questions

Okay so after giving this awhile to get responses, and taking a look at costs and such locally it looks like Eco-Complete is the all around winner. I just have a couple of more questions.

I know the i want to terrace the substrate, with about 3" at the front and 5-6" at the back. Should I use a layer of gravel then the eco-complete, or should i mix some gravel in with the eco complete, or should I have gravel on top of the eco-complete, or should I just go plain eco-complete?

Also, what is your guy's take on heating cables in the substrate? Is it helpful, absolutely required, or just plain dumb?

Lastly, should I mix in some fertilizer pellets with the substrate, or will the eco-complete provide everything I need right off the bat?
 

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You could always sprinkle muriate of potash on the bottom to give the plants a kick start. As far as mixing the eco with gravel..... DONT. I mixed a little bit of Flourite with my eco ( which rocks) and i absolutely regret it.
 

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I wouldn't mix anything with Eco-Complete unless you want to save money. I've never used heating cables myself but you may see some benefit from them. I would recommend using Flourish Tabs as a fertilizer for plants that are heavy root feeders.
 
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