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What Is The Best Planted Aquarium
Are you looking for a good aquarium
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
One of the best things about building your planted aquarium is choosing what fun plants you’ll delight your fish with. After all, this tank is going to be their forever home, so we want to make it enjoyable.
After you decide on the perfect fish and the plants you want in your planted aquarium, you’ll need to find the best substrates for planted tanks like yours.
Luckily, we’ve broken down our favorites so you can choose the right one for your planted tank.
There’s certainly no shortage of plants, rocks, and accessories to deck your fish’s home with, but what you choose is important to the life of your fish and your planted aquarium.
By the time you finish this article, you’ll know everything you need about which plants and substrates to use.
Grab your tank; we’re getting started!
- What Is The Best Planted Aquarium Substrate?
- Top 3 Picks
- What To Look For In A Good Planted Aquarium Substrate
- Top 6 Different Types Of Planted Aquarium Substrates That Promote Plant Growth
- 1. Seachem Flourite Planted Aquarium Substrate (Clay Based)
- 2. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate (Black)
- 3. Mr Aqua Fine Pet Habitat (Good Layer Based Substrate)
- 4. Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Aragonite Sand (Lack of Essential Nutrients)
- 5. ADA Aqua Soil For Planted Aquariums (Nutrient Rich)
- 6. Spectrastone Shallow Creek Gravel (Best Inert Substrate)
- FAQ – About Aquarium Substrates
- Substrate? Check! What’s Next?
Top 3 Picks
|Top||CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black||Prime||Buy On Amazon|
|Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum, For Fish Tanks, 4.4 lbs., 12693||Prime||Buy On Amazon|
|ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia 9 Liter Normal Type||Prime||Buy On Amazon|
What To Look For In A Good Planted Aquarium
Depending on the fish you plan on keeping or the plants you plan on buying, the best
Here’s what to look for in a good
- Won’t affect water chemistry
- Promotes root development
- Includes live Heterotrophic bacteria
- High quality, long-lasting nutrients
- Provides nutrients to root-feeding plants (if needed)
- Lower’s your tank’s ph levels (if needed)
When shopping for substrates, keep in mind the type of plant you plan on keeping in your tank. Rooted plants require nutrients from the
Substrates come in a variety of types: marbles, aquarium gravel, aquarium
We reviewed all the best substrates for planted tanks available and found a few that stood out!
Here they are;
Top 6 Different Types Of Planted Aquarium Substrates That Promote Plant Growth
1. Seachem Flourite Planted Aquarium
Substrate (Clay Based)
Flourite Black is an excellent choice for a
I choose it because of the material: stable porous clay gravel. It’s untreated, meaning there are no chemicals added, making it safe for all of my fish. The porous nature of the clay allows the food and fish waste to readily dissolve into it, keeping my tank looking clean all year long.
The best part about Flourite Black is that it maintains the pH of my water and never disturbs the quality of the tank water, which means less work for me.
I love the sleek black look of it in the bottom of my tank, and my fish seem to too. It’s lasted for two years so far and still working perfectly. I haven’t had to replace it yet, and it will last as long as my planted aquarium does.
My only complaint would be the dust it kicks up when you first pour it into the aquarium. The water is a little cloudy for the first few minutes after adding it in, but it subsides. My tank and I haven’t had a problem with it since.
The Seachem Flourite
At the same time, it still retains its light, permeable clay gravel structure. Its high-quality design is best used in planted aquariums with live, natural plants.
One of Flourite
The Seachem Flourite is pre-washed. Yet the manufacturer recommends that you give it a quick rinse before placing it in your tank. When you rinse it, you’ll remove any traces of residual dust that may be in the bag.
When it’s time to place this
If you’d prefer to speed up the clarifying process further, try Clarity. It’s one of the most trust-worthy water clarifiers available. It’s suitable for both freshwater and marine tank water.
Another feature that makes the Seachem Flourite
Even though the Seachem Flourite has a light, permeable surface, its gravel settles completely on the bottom of the fish tank. it doesn’t float to the top or drift in the water.
Plants need to find a place for their roots to take hold of. Substrates offer a nice base for the live plants to help strengthen the roots, and ultimately, the entire plant. It also boosts their growth and helps them stay rooted in one place.
Seachem Flourite Pros and Cons
- Made from specially fracted porous clay gravel
- Rich in minerals and micro-nutrients
- Doesn’t require replacement
- Boosts healthy plant growth
- The bag comes with an inner mesh bottom for easy rinsing inside the bag
- Free of chemicals or dyes
- May create a thin layer of film on your plants
2. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium
The Carib Sea Eco-Complete boasts of using volcanic soil that not only allows your plants to root deep into the soil but keep them there throughout the wavy environment of your tank. It’s Iron-rich and eliminates the need for laterite also doesn’t release any dust into the water when you first add it into your tank.
An essential aspect of a healthy planted aquarium is the cycling of fish waste to organic matter, which results in food for your plants, which the fish then feed off of. Carib Sea Eco-Complete contains heterotrophic bacteria that promote this healthy life cycle.
What are the Features of Eco-Complete?
Eco-Complete is rich in microorganisms that quickly establish balance to encourage your plants’ fast growth while creating the perfect environment for your fish and other aquatic animals.
When you open the bag, you will notice that the particles are wet, as they have been washed to encourage the growth of bacteria. You can also see the little nooks and crannies where the bacteria will grow.
Eco-Complete is made of natural volcanic soil, which looks attractive but is also packed with essential nutrients that encourage the growth of the root systems in your planted aquarium. These nutrients promote the fast growth of your aquatic plants while keeping your fish healthy.
At the same time, they prevent the growth of algae, which compete with your plants for the same type of food. The nutrients are all naturally sourced because this
The smaller particles settle at the bottom of the aquarium, allowing the roots to grow and expand quickly. Eco Complete promotes faster plant growth as the root system doesn’t have to work hard around the large granules to suck out the nutrients.
With other types of
This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to cycle this
Since Eco-Complete is made of small and large granules, the particles will arrange themselves thanks to the bimodal grading. The smaller particle will sit at the bottom of the aquarium while the larger particles stay on top. This will eliminate air pockets, as the smaller particles will fill the gaps in the soil.
The Pros and Cons of Eco-Complete
Here are some of the pros of Eco-Complete.
substrateis packed with 30 necessary nutrients and microorganisms that maintain the health of your plants.
- Thanks to the bimodal grading, the smaller granules will settle at the bottom, allowing the roots to grow faster.
substrateis pre-rinsed and pre-cycled, so it can be used immediately in your aquarium.
Here are some of the cons of Eco-Complete.
- Eco complete contains fewer nutrients than the ones found in ADA Aqua soil. You can add root tabs to Eco Complete if you want to grow nutrient-hungry plants.
- Cleaning the
substratecan be a little challenging since the smaller particles might be siphoned out while using a gravel vacuum.
We also compared Eco-Complete to a few other popular brands of substrates available;
3. Mr Aqua Fine Pet Habitat (Good Layer Based
Another excellent choice for a planted tank
If you’re looking for a tank bed material that packs a ton of nutrients as well as aiding in anchoring your plants to the bottom of the tank, then look no further. The porous material of the soil promotes healthy bacteria and aids in creating a happy and healthy environment for your aquatic life.
The only problem with this
People love Mr Aqua’s
4. Nature’s Ocean Bio-Activ Aragonite
Sand (Lack of Essential Nutrients)
If you’ve got fish or other aquatic life that love to burrow in the
My Favorite FilterWe love Nature’s Ocean because it’s collected in its natural environment and packaged in its natural state. No chemicals and no additives. It’s naturally stocked with live marine bacteria that promote a healthy water cycle in your tank.
It’s ready to use as is, just add the
Tip: Be sure that you’re only using this
Can Aquarium Plants Grow In
Yes, lot’s of aquarium plants can grow in
5. ADA Aqua Soil For Planted Aquariums (Nutrient Rich)
This is a premium freshwater active
Further reading: Another
substratesimilar to ADA and just as good is Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum Review
What are the Features of ADA Aquasoil?
With traces of decomposed leaf mulch, it is rich in organic nutrients that promote the root systems’ growth.
Aqua soil is extremely rich in organic nutrients and necessary elements that nourish the plants in your aquarium. The composition of the soil encourages the transformation of fish waste into food for the plants, keeping them alive and healthy. At the same time, as the
Tip: Make sure when completing water changes, that you don’t suck up too much soil as you can remove some of the good nutrients that have built up over time.
Plants can successfully suck the nutrients to grow fast in your aquarium when you add this
When used with a depth level between 1 and 3 inches, it lowers ph levels in your aquarium. This is excellent for different types of fish and shrimps that can be extra sensitive to the PH level.
Just like any other type of
The Pros and Cons of ADA Aquasoil
Here are some of the pros of Aqua soil.
- This is an active
substratewith tons of nutrients.
- The granules promote explosive plant growth.
- It buffers the PH level, making the process of monitoring your planted tank less time-consuming.
Here are some of the cons of Aqua soil
substrateneeds time to cycle. Otherwise, it will increase the level of ammonia in your planted tank.
- The granules stir up quickly. If you’re likely to move your plants a lot, this
substratemight not be the right one for you.
Do Aquatic Plants Need Soil To Grow?
No, many plants can grow in inert substrates like
Further Reading: Controsoil vs. ada amazonia
Here is a great video from DMichaels Fish Den about using this soil, it’s part one of a two-part series and worth the watch if you are considering using ADA as a
6. Spectrastone Shallow Creek Gravel (Best Inert
Spectrastone Shallow Creek’s gravel is the perfect
If keeping freshwater fish and plants in your tank, this gravel is ideal in anchoring your plant’s roots. They’re all-natural, non-toxic making them a safe choice for plant life and fish. The Spectrastone Shallow Creek gravel
You will have to rinse these rocks until the water runs clear before inserting them into your tank, which can add another step to an already long process of building a planted tank.
Can You Use Aquarium Gravel For Plants?
Yes, lot’s of aquarium plants can grow in gravel, but you will need to fertilize at the root for any heavy root-feeding plants as gravel lacks many nutrients.
FAQ – About Aquarium Substrates
You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Keep reading for the most frequently asked questions regarding planted tank substrates.
What Is Considered A
Substrates not only provide a particular aesthetic to your tank, but the fish feel more at home in their new glass pond.
Why Do I Need
If you’re keeping plants in your tank, their roots must have something to latch on to, since they cannot grasp the tank’s glass. The right
Depending on the type of animals you keep in your tank, adding a
If you think about your fish’s natural home–whether it be the ocean, a lake, or a pond–the floor isn’t bare, but covered in a natural
Substrates are vital in producing beneficial bacteria and are a crucial player in the filtration of your tank. Some substrates provide additional nutrients or affect the pH of the tank, so you must do your research before choosing a material.
What’s the Best Type Of
Substrate For Root-Feeding Plants?
Substrate For A Planted Aquarium And How Deep – Calculator
There’s no real maximum on how much
Here’s a tip on how to achieve this: One pound of
To help make things easier for you below is a table of how much
|Tank Size||Pounds of ||Pounds of ||Pounds of |
|10 Gallons||10 lbs||20 lbs||30 lbs|
|15 Gallons||15 lbs||30 lbs||45 lbs|
|20 Gallons||20 lbs||40 lbs||60 lbs|
|30 Gallons||30 lbs||60 lbs||90 lbs|
|55 Gallons||55 lbs||110 lbs||165 lbs|
Substrate? Check! What’s Next?
Now that you know about the best substrates for planted tanks, you can move on to the next item on the list, how to find the right filter for your tank!
If you’re considering what plants to put in your planted tank, check out this aquarium plant care guide