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Hi,

My name is Luis and I am in Los Angeles. This is my first post in this forum. I have kept both salt water and fresh water tanks in the past; about ten years ago. I am starting again with fresh water. I have a question that I am hoping you could help me with:

I am using pool filter sand as substrate. I have never had real plants in my tanks so I want to try plants this time. I want to keep clown loaches, dojo loaches, angel fish and maybe two more species. My main concern is if I am able to use the sand with those species and with real plants. I might put a thin coat of pebbles on top. Should I put a layer of Eco-Complete at the bottom? I assume the sand will not provide any nutrients for the plants.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Luis
Los Angeles
 

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I have never been able to keep live plants and now wife would like to try, so will help from here we will have some.
 

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IME sand is not a good substrate for planted tanks. some plants will do fine, but many will have trouble rooting properly.

keeping in mind that different plants will have different requirements, the following information is only a general guideline.

I like to use a fertilized substrate (like fluorite) as a base 2" - 3" deep and then cover the surface 1/2" - 1" with a small grain unfertilized gravel to lock nutrients in the substrate.

once substrate concerns are settled, you need to think about lighting, CO2, and what fertilizers to use. these are decided based on the type of plants you intend to grow.
 

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hi

my name is fouad ,from egypt, i am using plain gravel in my 20 gal aquarium , can i use tablet fertilizers without using fluorite or laterite layer , i am planing to plant some crypts,amazon swords,anubias and cabomba , any advice will be appreciated

thanks
 

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the crypts and amazons will appreciate a rich substrate, so i would encourage the use of a fluorite layer and add fertilizer tablets around the sword plants once they have started growing vigorously.
 

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I prefer to use two to three inches of fluorite covered by one inch of unfertilized gravel to lock down any sediment.
 

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but my quarantine tank is small(10 gal) ,i can't put my fish in this tank for along time ,so what shall i do when i add the fluorite to the main tank ?shall this fish wait for weeks in the quarantine tank ?or i can put them in the main tank after a day or few days
 

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use your judgment on where to house your fish, but it should only take a day or two for the tank to settle and clear with my method. of course every tank is different and water testing is recomended before any reintroduction of fish.
 

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My friend and I both use fluorite, about 2" in places with plants, and then a light layer of small rocks rather than gravel because gravel seems to trap anything that may fall through to the fluorite. I think the small rocks are about .5" in diameter, at most. Her plants do much better than mine due to having a much better lighting system. I think she uses dual compact fluorescent bulbs, while I only use a single crappy fluorescent bulb - though that's fine for plants like java ferns. Neither of us have ever had trouble with the fluorite clouding the tank, though I do believe my tank was a bit cloudy when I first added the fluorite. If you want to add it and you already have fish, you can put your fish in another tank until the cloudiness disappears. It really shouldn't take long to disappear - maybe overnight or something like that.
 

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Wash it thoroughly to get sediment off and put in a decent layer 1.5'' or more i ad black sand on top (the sand is easier for plants to root in in my experience) there will be some cloudiness but it settles quickly, day or so.
 

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Many suggestions say fluorite ,But what about laterite ? Can I use Laterite as a substitute to fluorite or shall I use laterite +fertilizers ? or laterite will not give me good results.
fluorite is very expensive in my country.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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latterite is pure clay, and is meant to be placed under a layer of gravel. It works very well and if full of nutrients, but if it gets stirred up into the water column it could cause some algea problems.
 
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