Aquatic Plant Forum banner

Capping Substrate??

9966 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  YaTeS
Is capping substrate necessary?? What I mean does it effect how good the plants will grow, or do we just do it for looks? Being a somewhat newbie, in my 80gal i put 2" fourite mixed with eco-complete and capped it with 1" of 1/8"dia gravel. The plants are doing pretty good but was just wondering if they could be doing better....without the top layer of gravel!!! I'm get'n ready to start a 180gal planted with eco-complete and just looking for a few suggestions...
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
No, don't need to cap substrate if you don't wish to. You are only capping the substrate with an inert material, like sand or gravel, to make it aesthetically pleasing to look at.

In fact, I wouldn't cap the Eco that you will be using due to the fact that it is already the near-consistency of sand. Topping it with more sand would not make too much sense to me, but you could if you wanted to. Capping it with gravel would probably make it look worse, but that is only my opinion.

Your substrate choices are perfect, and capping adds no real value to growing plants; it is "everything" under the cap that matters.
You don't need to cap flourite or eco-complete.

The reason people cap substrate is generally when they use soil (like regular old garden soil type soil)as their substrate. This is known as the El natural or the walstad method. There is a forum dedicated to this type of system on this site.

The soil likes to float around and make the water cloudy so it is capped with a heavier gravel or sand to keep it in place.

Flourite and Eco definitely do not have this floating problem and in fact would probably make a good cap themselves.

Hope it helps...
Layering substrate has never made sense to me. One uprooting will mix everything up. Unless you are very careful. In which case, you will probably drive yourself crazy trying to keep the layers intact.
Like Logan mentioned, some substrated just have to be capped. It helps prevent cloudiness and nutrients leeching into the water. Eco and flourite don't need this and are relatively inert. They have high CEC to absorb and hold nutrients.
I have a a question..

My tank is 75gal with 2 40# bags of pea gravel. I just bought a 7.7 lb bag of Flourite from my LFS.

They told me to rinse the florite like 6-7 times which I did. I then slowly added it to the tank and gentley mixing it with the gravel. I did this saturday night and this morning the water is still slightly cloudy. Will this clear up? Do I just leave it alone?

Yes it will clear up. A diatom filter would speed it up.
Actually the fluorite ends up moving downwards anyway if it's smaller than the gravel.
Awesome!!! Thanks for all your help!! Being as "green" as i am, I couldn't find anything on here that related to capping. I've seen pictures of tanks where people do and don't. Your explanations and opinions are much appreciated.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.