Re: Best substrate for planted tank
Thank you for your questions, RJIESQ. When using a good substrate in a planted tank, one can have a very successful planted aquarium, if if little to no additional supplementation is implemented. Many substrates available on the market are simply soaked in the nutrients that plants require for growth. Here, nutrients are slowly leached from the substrate, allowing the plants to utilize them. While this works very well initially, eventually the substrate will become devoid of nutrients and essentially inert, limiting any further growth of the plants.
Seachem offers a variety of substrates for planted tanks, all of which we utilize in tanks here at the office. These include Flourite, Flourite Red, Flourite Black, Flourite Black Sand, Flourite Dark, and Onyx Sand. These substrates are all naturally-mined products that inherently contain the elements that plants require. Therefore, plant roots can grab onto the gravel and extract the nutrients as needed. Thus, the substrates never break down or become devoid of nutrients.
The Flourite varieties are all fairly similar chemically. They are all stable porous clay gravels high in iron, potassium, magnesium, as well as several other elements needed for healthy plants. Because each of these is so similar chemically, one should choose between the Flourites based on what is aesthetically-pleasing to the user.
Onyx Sand is a bit different than the Flourites, as it is higher in aluminum, calcium and magnesium. Additionally, being carbonate rich, Onyx Sand provides an advantage to any plants able to utilize bicarbonates. None of our substrates will ever break down, become devoid of nutrients or require replacing, so they are good for the life of the aquarium. Heating the substrate is not necessary.
As I said previously, one can have a very successful planted aquarium by simply utilizing a good substrate. However, as the tank becomes more heavily-planted, limiting factors of growth may begin to occur, thus evoking a need for foliar supplementation. This is where the Flourish line of products comes in. Seachem has a product to address the needs of all plants, allowing the customer to target the needs of his or her individual plants.
We hope this information has been helpful, and please let us know if you have additional questions. To read more about our planted substrates, please see the following link:
Have a great day!