Haymac33 Haymac33
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  • Posted on: 10/2 11:45
Do you need a plant substrate? #1
I was searching for sand/gravel for the aquarium and came across plant substrate. My new Tropical aquarium is going to be very plant filled for places to hide and look good - and I was just going to put white fine sand in, as I have and like already. But I’m getting confused what constitutes a plant substrate? Is it just sand or gravel? Is it something different and do you have to put another layer of what you like on top? I have loaches that dig up all my plants in the sand so something holding them down/buried roots more would help. Lastly are all of these substrates safe with fish? Some are peat based. A lot of them don’t mention fish they just say aquarium and these days with aquascaping that word is becoming too interchangeable.
Any guidance appreciated. Thanks
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 10/2 13:15
Re: Do you need a plant substrate? #2
This guide might be helpful to you as a 'starter for ten': https://www.ukaps.org/index.php?page=guide-to-substrates .

Some plants can be tied/attached to wood or rock, some can be purchased like that such as moss-covered caves/hides, some can be planted into tiny terracotta pots, and marimo/moss balls can be helpful to achieve the effect you want too, rather than necessarily opting for plants that have to have their roots planted in a specialised substrate.
Haymac33 Haymac33
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  • Posted on: 10/2 22:27
Re: Do you need a plant substrate? #3
That’s very helpful thanks. I saw a reply from you on someone else’s post about finding wood and stone and you attached a on ebay link - where you order the exact piece of wood you see. Ive ordered some rocks and wood from the site so thanks for that as well! Getting excited to set it all up (not sure where in the room it’s even going to go yet! ).
SuzanneLawson SuzanneLawson
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  • Posted on: 15/2 23:17
Re: Do you need a plant substrate? #4
I was confused myself, as when I had a fish tank with my ex husband we put the plants in the gravel and they did fine.
I have been recently trying to set up a new tank, and when chatting to a person at Pets at Home they told me if you want real plants you need a soil, so I was confused if I should have real plants when only having gravel.
Then I was told plants can do fine without the soil, for food and for looks, but they won't grow as much as if you use the soil.

I also have some moss balls, as they can just sit on top of the gravel.