New to planted tanks — substrate suggestions/opinions?

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apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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Hey! I am a newbie to planted tanks but recently I’ve been researching some low tech plants to include in my aquarium. I currently have two plants and am using the Seachem Flourite brown natural substrate. My question is: is this an okay option? My plants so far haven’t seemed to stay in the substrate very well (but I also haven’t anchored them to anything) so I am wondering if some finer gravel/sand/soil would be better, especially since I am thinking about getting a carpeting plant and am worried how well it will stay in my current substrate. Another option I’ve seen is combining two different types of soils and substrates together. Is that a good idea? I am open to any tips too!

In summary: does anybody have any opinions on the Seachem Flourite brown natural substrate or suggestions for better substrate options? (specially one that works well with low tech plants and/or carpeting plants)

Thanks so much!! :)
 

fishorama

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I'm all about low-med tech plants! Easy plants include java fern, anubias & cryptocorynes (many of those 3); mosses (meh, not my favorites) & a few stems...Ground covers are not very successful in a low tech tank IME.

Tell us more about your tank & lighting...I've killed many a "carpet plant"...but sometimes negative info helps too...
 
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apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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I'm all about low-med tech plants! Easy plants include java fern, anubias & cryptocorynes (many of those 3); mosses (meh, not my favorites) & a few stems...Ground covers are not very successful in a low tech tank IME.

Tell us more about your tank & lighting...I've killed many a "carpet plant"...but sometimes negative info helps too...
Sweet! Okay! Some specific plants that have interested me are hornworts, water sprite, hygrophilia pinnatifida, and monte carlo for “carpet” plants. These ones seem to fit my ph and temperature conditions pretty well. Do you have any opinions on those? Otherwise I’ll try to stick to the ones you suggested.

I have the Fluval Spec V 5 gallon tank and it says it includes a “powerful 37 LED lighting system.” So far I have it on from 8-5ish so for around 10+ hours of the day. I also have the a Fluval Marina submersible heater and Seachem Flourite brown natural substrate. I don’t have a fish in my tank currently, but I am hoping to get a betta once I figure all of this out and can get a stable tank
 

fishorama

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Well, I have NO experience with LEDs (& that shows just how low tech I am, lol). Hornwort & all your choices are not "carpet plants"...except maybe the monte carlo...if it's happy...I'm doubtful...IME...but your tank is small & lights close to the substrate

I've been given & killed H. pinnatifida a few times (it "should be easy" but not for me).

Water sprite gets very large if it's happy, too big for your tank...

I'll give this some more thought tomorrow, it's my dinner time now, sorry...
 

apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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Well, I have NO experience with LEDs (& that shows just how low tech I am, lol). Hornwort & all your choices are not "carpet plants"...except maybe the monte carlo...if it's happy...I'm doubtful...IME...but your tank is small & lights close to the substrate

I've been given & killed H. pinnatifida a few times (it "should be easy" but not for me).

Water sprite gets very large if it's happy, too big for your tank...

I'll give this some more thought tomorrow, it's my dinner time now, sorry...
Haha okay! Right, sorry, I meant all of those other plants for mid ground and background plants and just the monte carlo for a carpet plant. Hmmm... good to know. No worries, have a good night! Thanks for your help.
 

fishorama

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I belong to a plant club here, so I've been given (& killed :( ) many plants that don't like my tanks' parameters...yep, I'm lame...but I'm trying to help you learn from my freebie plant mistakes....It's not to say you won't have issues with your plants...I have too...but every tank is different...Live & learn?!? I hope so...Go slow...especially with "groundcovers", they're hard in most tanks, especially without co2...I get my plants for free...so take that with a grain of (salt)!
 
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apenhow

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I belong to a plant club here, so I've been given (& killed :( ) many plants that don't like my tanks' parameters...yep, I'm lame...but I'm trying to help you learn from my freebie plant mistakes....It's not to say you won't have issues with your plants...I have too...but every tank is different...Live & learn?!? I hope so...Go slow...especially with "groundcovers", they're hard in most tanks, especially without co2...I get my plants for free...so take that with a grain of (salt)!
Sounds good. Maybe I’ll just try to go with the “flow“ (pun intended) and see how everything turns out.
 

fishorama

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LOL! Ask us before you buy plants. I love cryptocorynes in all their many colors & forms, also anubias & java ferns...mosses & hornwort, not so much...but that's me, you might find they work for you...or not...that's part of the fun of our different tanks all over the place...it's an adventure!
 

dougall

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A couple of things that might help ..

1, is it the old or new version of the light that came with the Spec? The new one has much more light output.
2, you have a budget?

Flourite is ok, if a little big especially for small plants and especially for tissue culture. So at first it is easy for them to be uprooted by fish or by the flow from your filter.

It also does not contain any nutrients for the plants, but will hold onto them if they get down there

If you don't want to replace all the substrate, try pointing the return if your filter up, and hope fish behave and plant the plants deep enough. Invest in root tabs to feed them and give them some time

If you still have problems you can try floating the plants till bigger roots form.

As for pinatifida, I'm not sure if it should be buried, I think it is normally attached to rocks in the wild, but it may root also.
 

fishorama

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For plants that uproot easily you can try a few small stones around to anchor them until the roots grow better. I've lost some floaters to filter fodder, a sponge over the intakes helps too & keeps bigger bits out of the filter.

Mixing substrates is iffy at best. The finer bits will fall or be washed into the lower levels. Same with mixing colors of substrate, they will eventually be mixed in not necessarily a pleasing way.

As for h. pinnatifida, I think my water is too soft (not enough GH or KH). I have seen it rooted but, like dougall said, often attached to wood or rocks. Hygros are usually weeds, this 1 is not like others IME.

Glossostigma may be the easiest option for a ground cover but it's iffy...try 1 pot & see. I was given Lilaeopsis NZ, an inch tall...but while it's growing ok there's no way it'll ever be a ground cover, sparse at best. Mine does very long runners with plantlets every inch or so. I suppose I could cut it up & try to get better coverage eventually but it's a PITA in an extra deep tank...

What are your tap water parameters? It helps to know. What size is your tank? I've forgotten if you said...
 
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