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Hello Lady E! SurWrathful is right that "it depends." There are a lot of options for planted tanks - and substrate can be gravel (as long as there is a lot of 'mulm' (fish waste, etc) in it that the plants can use. There are also planted tank soil-like substrates and even potting soil (the kind without ferts). I use Eco-Complete, which is wonderful because plants love it and it doesn't have to be rinsed before using -- just dump it in.

I suggest you have a look around this site, and there are some things that you may want to consider -- amount of light, and Co2 -- in terms of what kind of a set up you ultimately want. Most plants will require much more light than comes with normal fish tanks, but some will do fine (i.e. java ferns, anubias, etc.).
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