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Discussion Starter #1
I have only aquarium gravel in my tank. How much does this restrict the growth of my plants. And what are the negative effects of using only gravel. I was also wodering if any one could tell me what good essential nuts or ferts to use. Thanks
 

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I've met people who keep plants in gravel-only tanks. The plants aren't dying, but they aren't growing very much either. Perhaps some fertilizers can make the plants grow better?
I personally use a mix of Seachem Flourite and gravel, which worked quite well in the past, until algae took over. I'm using the same mix again this time around, so I hope nothing goes wrong!
I was also wodering if any one could tell me what good essential nuts or ferts to use.
Some peanuts will do fine. *r2 Just kidding. *j4 Seachem Flourish root tabs are really good. Their bottled fertilizers are also really good. But I must warn you, if your plants are doing fine, fertilizer may not be necessary. Usually, using fertilizers is best utilized with CO2 systems. The three basic needs of plants are light, nutrients, and CO2. All three work hand in hand; you will not get maximum growth if one of the components is missing. So what I'm trying to say here is that if you use fertilizers and your plants don't utilize it well, algae may make better use of it...which brings me to the whole water change thing. You really gotta do frequent water changes or high nitrate levels can cause algae!
I think the biggest goal of planted tanks are to make sure the plants beat the algae to the nutrients.
Sorry for the novel. *old dude
 

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I use 1" peat moss ($10/bale),1" play sand ($3/50 pounds bag), and 1" pro choice select red ($8/50 pound bag) (or aquarium gravel)

with each layer I fill with water the clean and level and add the next layer

I them add plants and finally fill the aqaurium by pouring water over a dish.

The peat seems to provide any nutrients plus keeps kh ad 4 degrees and gh at 9 degrees.

I do not use co2 or add any ferts.

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #4
With three different layers do you vaccuum still? Or have bottom filters or do you just let it go and do water changes more frequently? Thanks for all the help fellas
 

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From what I've heard, with layered substrates (or sand), you would stir up the loose junk on the top of the substrate and vacuum it up. Even with heavily planted tanks using regular gravel, this would be the method to use. The rest of the junk would eventually be used up by plants as nutrients, so no need to poke the gravel vacuum too deep, which might break the roots.
 

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actually I never vacuum the substrate. The substrate is still layered years later.

I do once a year or so suck the crud off the top. Perhaps I should do that more often just for looks though.


my .02
 
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It will depend somewhat on the type of plants you want to keep IMO. Stem plants dont send out much of a root system and take much of there nutrients from the water column so plain gravel could be fine IMO
 

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Gotcha. Ya man I would definately say my plants are staying alive ok but they do take a long time to grow. I did get the tank from walmart and I'm not sure if the light is even good enough to grow plants :) but I got an assorted plant bulbs that I planted and they grow ok I guess. But I do see what your sayin not to just go throw extra nutes in there.
 

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What kind of light (fluorescent or incandescent) came with the tank? There are different Kelvin rated fluorescent bulbs available. One particular type is meant just for plants! It gives off a pinkish tone. If you have incandescent, you may want to upgrade to a cheap fluorescent fixture.
But again, if your plants are alive and well, then no need to change anything. It just gives you more headaches when you upgrade and you have to start compensating for the extra light and such.
By the way, where did you get your assorted plant bulbs?? They seem interesting. :)
 

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I like your style man. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I just got one pack of bulbs from petsmart. It said it has an assortment of water lily aponogeton and onion if I remember right. I think the brand was top fin. I have gotten the three diferent plants to grow pretty well and have never had algie. I did however put some kinda plant fert in a month or so ago. The onion and aponogeten ( I think that's how you spell it) really liked it and started sending lots of stems to the top that grow long white kinda flowery things. But the Lilly didn't react well and started wilting so I cut it back and it looks to be coming back strong. I will try to post some pics tonight so you can check em out
 
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