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How important is substrate

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by rockhoe14er, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    I keep seeing mixed reviews on the importance of substrate in planted tanks.

    does root tabs + innert sand give you just as fast of root growth as eco complete? or some amazing ADA soil filled with nutrients?

    the plants i have in my tank are HC, Rotila Rotadifila, and HM. I have a single T5HO bulb 6 inches above my 29 gallon tank. I also do EI for fertz. Also have a pressurized co2 system.
     
  2. HolyAngel

    HolyAngel Junior Poster

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    I know certain substrates, like Eco-complete, have the ability to absorb certain nutrients like iron and/or nitrogen+possibly all of them depending on the substrate, from the water column so the plants can use them more readily.

    Plain Inert sand will not do that whatsoever.

    The root tabs will definitely help, most likely all substrates at that, but the play sand with root tabs won't be quite as good as a planted substrate like MTS, Eco-complete, floramax, ADA substrates, ect ^^
     
  3. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    How important is it though? is it still possible to grow just about any plant from a inert soil just at a slower rate? or is a good substrate one of the most important items for a planted tank next to a decent two stage co2 regulator.
     
  4. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Its important, but each option does have trade offs depending on your goals. For instance, if you are the type that experiments with layout and uproots plants on a regular basis a more inert substrate, rather than a soil substrate might be a better choice. A substrate with more nutrients will allow you to get away with less fertilizing of the water column. If you want to get your plants off to a quick start and are setting up a new tank then ADA Aquasoil might be a good choice. With the exception of MTS, Tom says the nutrients in aquasoil and other soil substrate typically are exhausted in the first 9 months anyway, and then the water column fertilization will be more important.

    In your case if you are using root tabs and inert sand, as long as you are doing some water column fertilization and using pressurized CO2 with the lighting you have I don't think it makes much sense to change the substrate you can do fine with what you are doing.
     
  5. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    how important is it for a plant such as dwarf baby tears? Also what is MTS? multi tank syndrome?
     
    #5 rockhoe14er, Jan 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2011
  6. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    MTS certainly can stand for that, and I am certainly affected by that. MTS is this context is mineralized topsoil. TPT (The planted tank forum) has all the information about that. Honestly, my opinion is that starting HC would be easier in aquasoil, but not in eco, which to my understanding is largely inert but with a good CEC. The most important need for HC is CO2. With sufficient light and CO2, if you follow EI you should be able to grow HC. Many of the substrates out there flourite, eco, etc claim to have all these nutrients and element in them, but they are not available for the plants. They may have good CEC, which will allow these substrates to hold sufficient nutrients eventually, but they don't start out fertile. ADA aquasoil is different, what is in it is available to the plants immediately. Same with MTS.

    You could ,if you are concerned about the substrate make ice cubes, using and old fashioned icecube tray and water filled with osmocote and bury the ice cubes in the substrate, that can help more than root tabs (especially if you are usually the seachem flourish tabs). Many of the root tabs are just iron. There's plenty of information about that on here. Good luck
     
  7. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    thanks for the great information Fred. What if i got some of the Aqua Soil- Amazonia Powder Type and put that on top of my already inert soil? Would that help or is that pretty much useless and more hassle than what it's worth.
     
  8. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I wouldn't, the reason is there would be a big NH4 spike, which will cause problems for the livestock and trigger a big algae bloom. Unless I'm missing something, I think the best way to use ADA aquasoil is in setting up a brand new tank with no fish, or using Dry Start. Doing the osmocote and ice cube would be better in your case.
     
  9. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    Alright thanks a lot Fred that helps a lot. I guess if i ever tear this tank down and start over then i'll give this stuff a try.
     
  10. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    So i wanted to try some Syngonanthus Sp. Madeira in my planted corkscape tank. I was curious what you guys think about this plant in my inert soil. I realize this is a difficult plant but i would like to try it and see what happens. Will using root tabs be enough substrate wise for this plant?
     
  11. symon_say

    symon_say Junior Poster

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    I you're concern about the inert soil you can use rood tabs or make your own with somocote. I have silica sand and that's what i'm gonna do, my osmocote arrives on monday.
     
  12. rockhoe14er

    rockhoe14er Prolific Poster

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    Yeah that's actually what i'm doing right now. All my plants seem to be doing really well.
     
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