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Which substrate as a base?

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  • Which substrate as a base?

    Hi, I'm considering redoing my substrate using a mineral rich base substrate capped with a coarse sand. Just not sure which substrate base would be the best choice especially with regard to longevity. I'm considering a lava substrate such as this LCA Base:


    Or alternatively, a laterite base such as that offered by Aquagreen:

    So lava or laterite. Any thoughts on how they would compare?

  • #2
    I would suggest checking this thread.

    It is not easy to cap thes subs with sands because the lava would probably migrate upwards.

    You can cap em with aquasoil though as aquasoil is lighter.

    Depending on your setup, one doesn't really need fancy stuff as simple clay, blood n bone with sand cap can grow many things; es easy plants. Crypts will go crazy on this.

    Check out my old tank here.


    • #3
      Thanks for the links. They are long threads but I'll go through them after work when I get a chance.

      I'm not sure about using Aquasoil or a high nutrient DIY substrate I was hoping to just move the existing fish into an uncycled tank or tub for a day or so while I redid it. If I used Aquasoil it would be a while before I could move the fish back in wouldn't it?


      • #4
        Ah yes, you'd need to presoak the aquasoil. That's a pain.

        Best to use coarse sand and root tabs as required.


        • #5
          You don't think the laterite or similar provides much benefit?


          • #6
            I'd say that would be similar to using root tabs (which have clay in them).

            Will you be injecting CO2?


            • #7
              Yes, maybe some background will help. Been running low tech for about 18 months. Substrate is about 1.5 inches of fine quartz sand topped with about an inch of extremely fine and heavy iron sand. About a month ago I added some more plants – crypts, monte carlo, hairgrass and some other stuff and then figured it might be a good time to try pressurised co2 which I set up a week ago. Following from that I thought I could now add extra light with less risk of an algae outbreak so I’ve ordered an extra MML XB2 tube.

              So to the substrate, I’ve been worried for a while that such fine sand might compact and I might eventually have issues. I’ve been considering changing it to coarse sand or fine gravel for that reason. Just for peace of mind really I haven’t had problems yet. With the recent upgrades I thought now might be the time and with the focus now more on plants I thought the base substrate might help and I might not have to spend so much time and money on root tabs.


              • #8
                Sand substrates are a great alternative to gravel, especially when keeping bottom-dwelling fish with barbel organs that need protecting. And, Yes, several species of aquarium plants can grow in sand, but you would need to fertilize your substrate as most types don't have the nutrients required by plants to thrive.


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