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Substrate in new tank

3148 Views 16 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  dthb4438
So I'm planning to start my aquarium hobby all over again from scratch. This time I want to do it correctly so I wouldn't be ending up with an aquarium I'm not satisfied with. I'm still waiting for a cheap aquarium I can buy somewhere around here, but there's really no rush. One thing that I've been thinking about is the substrate. I'm really not sure as to what to go for. Sand is nice and good, but I haven't had good experiences with it. It seems that it tends to compact (despite the large population of sand snails I have) at the bottom and waste accumulates on the top of it. Doesn't look all that appealing to me.
Anyway, I would appreciate it if you could suggest or more like recommend certain types of substrate I should use. I figured it would be good to have all this prepared before I buy a new aquarium. I've been thinking of buying Aqua Soil Amazon. The dark color looks pleasant to the eye especially in contrast to the green color of the plants I'll be having. I live in Norway, so I have no idea where to order it to make the purchase as cheap as possible.

Also, would it be wise to mix substrates? Would that help not only when it comes to appearance but optimal plant growth as well. Would it pay off to invest in a substrate heater? I know it's not a necessity, but it's good to have this decided before I start.

Thanks in advance!
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I vote for ADA Amazonia. It's amazing what a difference it can make to the plants. You use it straight out of the bag. There is an ammonia spike for a few weeks but if you plant heavily the plants will love it and become established quickly.

I have mixed the above with flourite, just to try to cut costs and stretch it. It's not as good for the plants but will work.

I would not do the substrate heater. They are costly and unnecessary. There are those that say they are even harmful to the plant roots. At any rate you don't need it, so save your money for your substrate. :D
Hmm, there are a lot of different substrates out there that are very good for plant growth. Is Volcanite any good? Or what about Eco Complete?
But I'll definitely try getting my hands on Aqua Soil. Seems like a good investment. Any ideas on where I can get a hold of Aqua Soil here in Europe for a cheap price? I live in Norway and it seems that the only way I can get it is to order online, but I think I should try asking the LFS first.
+1 on the aquasoil if you can get your hand on it. I wouldn't call it an investment. :D
I have had a lot of success with Eco-complete. It was cheaper than Aquasoil and was what I could afford.

Depending on what kind of tank you could try a soil substrate. I set-up a non-CO2 tank with a 2" later of soil and 1 1/2 inch layer of gravel and it has worked great.

Here are a couple threads....
I just want a heavily planted aquarium. Hmm, it's really hard to decide what to go for, seems like Eco Complete might not be such a bad idea either. What about flourite and volcanite?
Anyway, has anyone had any experiences with spiking Aqua Soil/Eco Complete? Any "recipes" you would like to share? I'm planning to mix it with fine sand since I have half a sack of it.

Is Aqua Soil really soil? Not like gravel or sand?
I used eco and ADA. Grow wise, nothing really compares to ADA. You won't be dissappointed spending the extra money. I would really say Aquasoil is like little small pellets of soil. They wanted slightly larger granules to prevent compaction that happens with sand or smaller particles.
Ok, so if I were to buy ADA aqua soil, how many litres would I need? Seems like they only sell them in 3 and 9 liter bags. Hmm, I might have to spike them with some other substrate. Does anyone have any experience with this?
It depends on the size tank. For instance, I used approx 3 1/2 9L bags for my 75 gal (US) tank.
My tank I'm planning to buy is about 125 liters.
I'm starting to think about spiking ADA aquasoil if I do decide to buy it, but I'm not really sure it would be a good idea. What's the best alternative? Should I mix it with regular sand or should I go for something "fancier" like Volcanite?
Hmm, I just received an email from the LFS and they said that they currently have JBL Aquabasis plus in stock. Is this any good?
I have good experiences with JBL Aquabasis. It's not a standalone substrate, more of a base layer. You would need to cap it with a layer of inert gravel/sand.
I would say 2 lb per gallon to make it 2 inch layer. It also depending on what plants you have. Rooted plant best to stick with 2 inch. If not 1.5 inch would do well too. For exmaple if you have a 10 gallon tank you'll need 20 lbs or 15 lbs. I made a mistake on my first planted tank putting 1 inch layer of substrate. Lot of my plants end up
9Thirty, Hi. I am in a comparable situation to you and yours. 'Comparable' because starting over isn't too far removed from starting out! I too am ruminating over what to use but since my tank is a little nano 4 gallon I can afford even pricey ADA.

Quick question: Is Norwegian your first language? or are you an English-speaker who just happens to live in Norway? Reason I am curious is because your English is better than most English-natives in how you write. The level of English deterioration in native speakers is alarming IMHO.

But back to the issue at hand. It has been since 16 December when last there was a posting on this. Plenty of time for you to have gotten more info? By the way there was a thread on this sub-forum I noticed where in Sweden was mentioned viz. ADA products.

Thanks, Breck
Hi 9thirty,

I like Turface Pro League (Grey) which I just used in a 6 gallon shrimp Nano aquarium. It is a Calcined (Illite) Clay product typically used for sports fields but it works well in planted aquariums as well. It is inexpensive, has a nice small grain size (Turface MVP has a larger grain size), and a dark grey color when wet. I have included a link to Profile Products below. I suspect there is a similar product available in Europe, or maybe they export?
I started out using Florite, then mixed in some Ecocomplete. After awhile I got tired of my foreground not growing. I changed over to ADA Amazonia III. Had an ammonia spike for two weeks, daily water changes and now the plants are just loving the changes. I can grow anything I want in there now. HC, glosso, any of that. My choice, Amazonia if you want really nice plants. I don't even dose any ferts now (at least now). I have hard well water, so the minerals seem to do it well. My GH and KH went down to 4 from 11, the pH went down to 6.8 from7.2
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