I talk about all different types of substrate for a planted aquarium

Best Substrate for Planted Tank | The Aquarium Guide
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The substrate you plant in your aquarium needs to be carefully selected. Think about what you need your tank to represent. Should your substrate be penetrable? Will it provide enough nutrition for the living aquatic creatures to survive? Will it provide enough support for your plants and other objects you would want to add to the tank?
Live Plant Substrates for Freshwater Aquariums - Big Al's Pets
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Substrates are important; their depth, size, granuleshape and composition can make or break an otherwise ideal live plantset-up. Here are my ideas on what to look for and avoid in choosing andusing aquarium sand and gravel for the aquatic gardener. Do I Need Special Substrate For Aquatic Plants? | My Aquarium Club
Photo provided by Flickr'plant substrate' necessary for a successful planted aquarium?
Photo provided by FlickrGravel as Substrate for Live Plants - Aquarium Forum
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Aquarium substrates, the gravels and sands of tankbottoms, perform several functions in planted tanks; as root anchors,ballast for weighing down nutritive soil, possibly acting as buffers,mineral sources, even inorganic catalysts! Heck, they also make thesystem a lot more natural and attractive. Imagine tanks with barebottoms; no thanks.The advantages of decorating a fish tank with live plants instead of plastics are numerous.A healthy planted aquarium is essential to maintaining a population. Most importantly, plants contribute to balancing the oxygen level and algae growth while providing hiding places for fish. However, it is hard to cultivate plants in an aquarium because it requires some effort. Plants need lighting, water circulation, and good aquarium substrate to grow healthy. Substrate is the medium where plants and beneficial bacteria grow due to the rich nutrients. Each plant requires different care and each substrate type depends on the plant species in the tank.How do you achieve some sort of uniformity in sizing ofsubstrate particulates? Either through buying it pre-graded or doing ityourself. You can buy or make two sieve-meshed screens that will removethe bigger/smaller pieces; and while you're at it let's mention. Concurrent with grading you may washthe new substrate, or utilize my favorite method, a batch (about ten pounds) at a time in anaquarium-dedicated plastic bucket with a garden hose, pouring it outand re-rinsing till clear. Wash all substrates, new or used beforeplacing them in your system.Sand is one of the most common substrate materials for plants because it gives the aquarium a natural look. Silica sand, onyx sand, pool sand, and other commercial types of sands are available for an aquarium environment; however, these do not contain adequate nutrition since sand compacts too tightly with the plant’s roots and can obstruct oxygen and nutrient intake by plants. Fortified sand can be purchased and commercially sand is available, such as Fluorite, to be used together with common sand in the planted tank. One important detail to remember is sand can be dusty, so before using any type of sand, especially silica sand,wash it to remove any dirt.Gravel is one of the most common substrates for freshwater aquariums. This substrate is cheap and easy to use in the tank. Plain and uncoated gravel between one to three millimeters in size is suitable. Gravel size should not exceed 5 millimeters. Gravel should be free from any kind of chemicals because they can be toxic for the fish. Your surface should be covered with peat moss or laterite layer and the gravel should be placed on top of this layer; these under layers provide the necessary nutrients for your plants. The gravel should cover the roots of the plants. Nevertheless, the cheapest gravel will not contribute to plant growth; plants need iron (Fe) to grow. A high-quality substrate will provide the proper iron needed for the plants. Therefore, a combination of gravel and commercially ready (eco-complete) substrate is a good choice for plant growth in the aquarium.Free floating plants obviously derive nutrients directlyfrom the water, and this mechanism has been proved for rootedvarieties. However, the many beneficial functions of substrates inaquariums cannot be denied; for anchoring, aiding in filtration, actingas stores and catalysts for mineral and organic nutrients... and forlooks sand/gravel is a worthwhile addition.