Aquarium gravel- What kind of susbstrate to use in a planted tank? Different gravel types

Aquarium gravel- What kind of susbstrate to use in a planted tank? Different gravel types


what’s up fish tank people
fishtanktv.com dustin’s fish tanks bringing it to you on a Friday who have
been even while apologize about that I’ve been busy I’ve been out of town
been a wild having a lot of fun though I had a lot of real good time showing off
my boys reef tank by the way I was completely sober making that video that
was my boy I had not seen him and I don’t know almost a year I haven’t
showed his tank off I love the love the comments on there though thought it was
real cool so yeah glad to show my dudes reef man I got him in the hobby it was
cool but so yeah we’re trying to get him a YouTube channel but we’ll see here’s
what’s going on I want to talk today I was actually in the fish tank TV chat
last night I had some people asking me about gravel well I happened to have
gravel a bunch of different types of gravel right now so I figured I’d talk
about it this is gravel I got they came with the 125 I’ve got a nice little
trick to show you in a second here but I want to show kind of my thoughts on the
gravel a lot of people ask me about eco complete I actually don’t look I’ve used
it once I’m not going to say it’s bad product for those of you you know don’t
want the the mess of dirt and want just that real pristine tank those kind of
you know I don’t know it’s not my style because my tanks are all dirted but you
know if you want that eco completes go but I just want to talk today about
gravel and just kind of the different sizes and what I recommended and how it
would work not door just gravel touch a little on dirt but for me this gravel
right here is a little too large I would only use this kind of stuff in like a
goldfish tank or maybe a big cichlid tank but in a cichlid tank I probably
wouldn’t keep too many plants that’s another story but a little too large
this gravel right here is my kind of go to this is I really like this stuff I
think it’s great I think it’s a little too large as you can see the granular
size that’s a little too big for my liking but you got to think like this
folks think like a plant you know could you push it if you were a little tiny
root could you push down through this large stuff you know be easier to push
your root down through this stuff so that’s kind of
what I would say I don’t use sand and I’d love to hear your opinion on sand
some people love it some people don’t I don’t use sand I think it’s too fine of
a grade so this is the kind of the size grammar I recommended and before I use
dirt I use this stuff I used a real thick layer of gravel also when you’re
setting up your tanks I think it’s important to use like 75% of the gravel
that you have and then like put your plants in and then kind of fill in
around the plants with the extra gravel I think that’s important to do also use
natural colors I don’t know it’s personal opinion you know get your
colored gravel on out of there I mean it happens we’ve all done it I had a tank
with pink gravel and black gravel because I thought it was sweet so you
know just get your natural colors get your dark your Browns you lighter colors
are good too actually the best gravel I have is downstairs and the one one of my
rainbow tanks it’s a little smaller this the ideal size for me is about the size
of a BB gun BB I think that’s the bus but I want to show you this trick right
here they’ll check this out this can be done I’m using a filter container from a
this is off of an e Heim you can use a flew ball but this is a separate big
gravel from little and I think it’s pretty cool too so check this out just
scoop it in here blow it all up get it all in there and I’m going to take it
back over that piece of paper cut show you all how it’s done to check it so
what you do to remove your big round from your little gravity take it it’s
not too easy to do while holding the camera shaking but just shake it on out
here and that’s how you going to separate your gravel kind of a cool
trick every now and then you got to like kind of you know make sure it’s not
getting in the holes but and you know it’s easier to see here but just kind of
shake it off like that and then this is actually a fluorite
which i think is a pretty good gravel in fact I use the
laterally fluoride mix in my original 125 above the dirt so I use you get the
idea so I actually used the clay balls kind of thing above the dirt so plants
absorb this is from Greg Moran at sea camera right see chem as the bomb they
know what they’re doing said plants absorb four to four hundred
times more nutrients through their roots so you’re really going to want to do it
right with the gravel um I use read play that would you I would suggest using red
clay in your gravel because it makes that iron that I think it’s I don’t to
get too scientific with the FB three positive I think it is is the one isn’t
able to be absorbed by the roots so you know good sized gravel here that’s it’s
a really good size you know fluorides good stuff I mean see
comics you can makes great products so I’ve never used a mono soil I talked
about it a long time ago never got around to it two young kids apologized
but someday that’ll get done when I’m doing this full-time but so yeah I’m
having some fun with it I want to show you guys some gravel this stuff you can
get it anywhere go for it if you can’t find the better stuff the fluorite you
get what you pay for I think it’s pretty good stuff
I wouldn’t recommend the big stuff eco complete I’d like to hear your opinion
on it I’m not a huge fan of it but yeah that’s what we’re doing so that’s my
go-to if I’ve got it I’ll use this I’m obviously going to be doing this trick
this trick is pretty sweet love it shake it you can use a food wall
you can also let me use whatever you got I mean if you got like a spaghetti
strainer some the battle that will make separating out grab a little easier
mines will show you the greenhouse so this is what’s fun folks so I got I got
the awful Friday I actually worked a little bit today back to the greenhouse
though and here’s what we’re doing I left Steve’s tank alone you all be
proud of me for that so Steve’s tank looking pretty baller in
there um trying to shut this greenhouse store
and I move the 125 in here so my project because I got a babysitter over here is
I’m going to build this all up same deal as this slide this over so I have the 40
over here and then the 125 here and yeah I’m going to hang out in the rain in the
greenhouse I’m going to get that tank cleaned up too and show you more of it
so 125 out of your folks we’re excited about it
happy Friday let me know your thoughts on gravel I’d love to hear it like

100 thoughts on “Aquarium gravel- What kind of susbstrate to use in a planted tank? Different gravel types

  1. I have fluval stratum in my tank. The stuff looks nice but I have not tried anything other than Petco gravel in my first tank and the stratum in my 20. I did just set up a tank for my sister with sand but mostly for looks not planting it. I would try seachems stuff on my next tank if for nothing else but comparison.

  2. I just started useing sand in my 55 Cichlid tank I love and they do to and I think that black or dark sand or gravel makes the color of the fish stand out more but love your videos you should take a look at my tanks and let me know what you think I sub to you to hope you do the same thanks

  3. i havent tried it yet , but Ecocomplet makes a substrate that looks just like natural gravel, thats for plants. If it works , it would be pretty sweet

  4. Sand works excellent in harmony with gravel. On one side of my tank I have gravel like you had, the smaller kind and fine yellow sand on the other. To add I followed dustins way and used red clay on the lowest level of the tank along with miraclegrow potting mix. The root systems on my plants are crazy.

  5. I only use sand and large gravel. Lol. But I also only keep large American cichlids and some cats. The only plants I have are amazon swords but they are doing fine is both substrates. The ones in sand have led lighting and are doing a lot better than the others in the big gravel but that is lit by flourecent. I think its more the light than substrate but I love em both. Sand looks so damn pretty when it's clean. Try it bro. Pool filtration sand. Cheap and pretty. Good grain size

  6. Sav7125 : what i do is get a bucket boil water and pour it on ur wood in the bucket cover with aluminum foil and let it soak

  7. I just switched from a low tech dirted tank to a high tech with eco complete… and so far, the low tech was doing what the high tech is doing now. The only difference i'm seeing is i can keep more CO2 and light dependent plants, but there is absolutely no difference with my easy to keep plants (hygrophila difformis, ludwigia repens, anubias nana, etc…). And i learned all my low tech methods from this guy right here!

  8. And I bought a bunch of my plants from Dustin when i first started out (before aquaticjungels was even around), and let me tell you, he knows how to hook a man up with some plants!

  9. Sand isn't too bad, but I've found that large plants tend to loose traction if the sand isn't deep enough. I like the look, so I ended up tying down my big plants to palm sized rocks.

  10. Sober ya right lol JK
    But i have tried both sand and gravel and like gravel better like the stuff that you filtered with the basket is perfect.
    Green house looking good Dustin!

  11. eco complete alone is realy nothin.but when mixed with other nutrient riched substrates its very good to have because it has a high cec cashion exhange capacity and sucks up lots of nutrients and stores them for the plants.also good when dosing ferts.but would never use eco alone with any other ferts being added

  12. Started off with a 40 gallon breeder turtle tank with sand. Got rid of the turtle added two angels and a pictus. Kept the sand, have Water Sprite growing in it like crazy under low light. I also dose flourish once a week. 15G first planted tank, went with organic choice dirt capped with a layer of flourite. Plants growing like crazy in that tank but yes you can obtain growth even with sand, just not as much nor as quickly as dirt or other substrates.

  13. For my planted tanks I either use plain ol gravel or plain old gravel with a layer of potting soil underneath it. As an experiment, I set up a dirtied 5 gallon. Within a week or two the plants had crazy roots and nice growth. I don't use sand – I found that the plants never fully rooted if that makes sense…The dirted tanks are easier than people think…

  14. I'm having very good luck with a mixture of flourite black sand and flourite black in my 75 g planted aquarium. The root structer of the plants are very thick.

  15. DO NOT USE SAND it sucks through my personal experiences. Listen to Dustin use gravel. Gravel and dirt u cant beat it trust me.

  16. The Walstad book suggest gravel so that oxygen can come in contact with the soil. However, in personal experience, sand and gravel both work fine.

  17. I used sand and gravel. Both work fine, no obvious differences regarding plant growth. The advantages of sand is less messy when uprooting plants and it's much cheaper.

  18. I use nothing but eco-complete and I love it!! plants have done wonderful using it, dosed it with ferts after bout a month and plants have gone crazy on me, doing alot of trimming. no irregularity with this I have rams and discus in planted tanks. LOVE IT>>>>>

  19. I had an extra 5.5 gal tank so I turned it into a low tech planted betta tank. I had some extra live sand from my saltwater tank so I killed it and used it for the betta tank. Hasn't been up too long but its working great so far. Planting can be a little tricky but all my plants are growing great in it. Just my two cents 😉

  20. Nice discussion. i use Estes sand and my plants grow fine in it. I think people just need to see what works and doesn't work with their fish tanks. I think I would try the Seachem onyx sand the next tank, but sand has been good for me especially the cories love it.

  21. I use flourite from seachem and its pretty amazing its better the what ive used in the past other then dirt but i think this is doing alot better considering im using ferts and co2 lol

  22. Here in Portland, the local quarry grinds basalt to a grade they call builder's sand. It's a bit bigger than Kosher Salt? Its all sharp angles–stays where you put it, certainly not all soft & billowy like beach sand.
    The disadvantage is that you're limited to whatever the local rock IS, since that's what the sand & gravel company will be grinding down.
    As for whether or not roots can get thru, no worries, roots will go thru the tiniest holes, & turn them into the Grand Canyon if need be.

  23. I used a mixture of eco-complete florite and laterite in my 130 and everything thrives. I will be moving soon so I will re-vitalize the substrate with fresh laterite and I'm going to use a inch of dirt on the bottom of the substrates. I will strain all the gravel threw different size screens and put the largest on the bottom and finer on top. Originally set up about 3 or 4 years ago and substrate is still giving great root systems. I also use a substrate heat cable and firmly believe in them.

  24. Good info, man! The only time I personally use sand is in areas of a tank that I don't intend to plant. I use sand in a foreground area that I keep clear of plants, sort of like a clearing in the woods.

    Pink & Black gravel?? BEEN THERE! Did that when I was 15 because I thought it was cool. Now I strive for that natural look.

  25. it belive gravel plays a major role had gravel in my 20 when i switched to sand i got crazy groth but its a pain to clean

  26. Kinda related, kinda not- can you use an undergravel filter as a secondary form of filtration if you're doing eco complete or flourite only?

  27. Amano soil is the best, it is not terribly over priced, and i think it is the best for plants, but I only have it in one out of several tanks i have. But Dustin's dirt method works very well it is really what got me started on plants, Thanks Dustin.

  28. Dustin I take it you don't like Eco complete because its too pricey to fill your 75 gallon and up tanks? What size tank was the one you used Eco complete and how did it turnout ?

  29. I find "aquatic" sand that you buy from like petsmart is really light compared to the other stuff and moves easier. Roots can really dig in the light sand but like playsand not so much. Still easier to put in than gravel I find but I'm not really sure how much better it works than the gravel. I have had some luck with dirt and sand substrate tanks.

  30. For sand I use silica sand that is used in pool filters. It's a pure white sand that doesn't clump like play sand will and it is a lot better looking. Just ask for pool filter sand.
    I used Eco-Complete in my first tank and after washing it out and everything I had great results. I wouldn't buy it again thought just due to the cost and it is really not that much better than cheap gravel from Lowe's/Home Depot.

  31. SAND IS THE WORST!!! ESPECIALLY If you have a tank full of messy eaters like me. Just got rid of sand and would never recommend it to anyone Gravel > Sand

  32. Gravel is the best choice over sand in any planted aquarium, or any aquarium at all. gravel in the size that dustin recommends lets water flow through it a little bit, letting nutrition find its way down to the roots and gives you an extra dimension in biological filtration. also as dustin mentions its the optimal size for roots to easily grow in. i only use sand for my cichlids that needs sand to sift through for food or make pits for their fry etc.

  33. I use natural colored gravel but i put a layer of substrate in 1st and pu the gravel on top. My next tank though, I think that I will put in just a good substrate.

  34. I love sand for my cichlid aquariums, however when it comes to my planted tanks, I prefer to use soil based substrates such as ADA and fluval stratum, these are a bit pricey and not always affordable, which is why alternatively I have used eco complete and flourite in the past. In terms of growth, I always find that soil takes the lead, I used eco complete and ADA at the same time period and found better growth with ADA, both tanks were also dosed.

  35. ive used both sand can be a bit harder to work with but both work well stay away from larger sized gravel.. a trick i do with sand is add a handfull of smaller sized pebbles so you get more air circulation. Also malaysian trumpet snails help with air circulation in sand.

  36. Hey Dustin. Sick videos. Do you know a good way to salvage gravel that is totally mixed in with dirt? I have a big bucket of it I want to re-use. Thanks!

  37. no, but if you dont use a plant substrate(ecocomplete, flourite) then yes you do need soil. but plant substrate works just fine and less messy imo

  38. I have 2 tanks with sand topping the dirt. I would not do it again only because its more of a pain to keep clean, especially when you pull plants. Natural gravel, small grain as you suggested, is the easiest way to go. Other concerns with sand is the thickness of the layer. Too much will cause anaerobic soil conditions to occur, gravel is more forgiving in this aspect.

  39. Dump a couple of handfuls at a time into a colander.
    Then either run water thru it, or if you're trying to save the dirt too, swish the colander up and down in a bucket of water.

  40. well the trick is to have plants the roots absorb a lot of the waste for the mts and balances out.. you dont really need them but it works fine in all my sand sub tanks.. and i think if youre not doing sand you dont really need them.. for over poulation get a few assasin snails

  41. I did 3 layers. Bottom to top is Organic Potting Soil, then a layer of Seachem Flourite, then topped off with standard small pebbles. Making some major lighting improvements with hopes of something good happening. BTW, your the shit dude. Your videos got me into planted tanks and are keeping me here.

  42. I've used dorset pea gravel 3mm and 5mm and miracle gro all purpose soil. New to this so don't know how it Will work out.

  43. I have sand in 3 10 gallons and 1 20xh.
    It looks cool, the plants and fish love it but, you can't siphon it!

  44. I use white gravel because it reflects light which I believe is better for the shorter plants. But I don't know if it's any good for my fish.

  45. i recently started a planed 30 gallon with xmas moss, anacharis, large sage, dwarf hairgrass and amazon sword and with in the first 2 weeks of planting it just using pool filter sand I went from 7 amazon sword leaves to 13 large and very healthy leaves and my sage is increasing its leaf count exponentially and my anacharis is rapidly growing. I really like the look of pool filter sand and it seems to work great for me. I think you should do a sand tank just to show us and give us your opinion

  46. I use Carisea Flora-Max mixed with laterite in my 10 gallon planted tank. Great product, don't have anything bad to say about it, plants love it and grow like crazy! I highly recommend it:)

  47. My goldfish loved the sand but my plumbing didn't if you use a gravel cleaner I suggest a small gravel. My gold fish didn't like the large stone it looked pretty but I find for the average person small gravel works best.

  48. I have the big pebble stuff. I bought a 25 lb bag for my 20L tank…I wanted to make it a planted tank.

    I bought this specific type of gravel because I have alot of loaches, and I read that their barbels can be damaged on rough gravel, so I got smooth pebbles…..Not thinking about the plants. So, I suppose i should just work with plants that are hardy and dont have a hard time in this gravel? I could focus the majority of my plants to attatch to driftwood and rocks…Hmm…Or maybe I could mix the gravel with smaller stones to make it a little easier for plants without totally comprimising the smooth gravel…hmm…idk, I'm a little iffy on using dirt because I've never used dirt before, or seen it used in an aquarium, other then online of coarse. At this point I have anacharis and what was labled 'baby tears' at my pet store/ workplace….the anacharis is semi melting away, I think I've planted them too far down into the gravel.

    I also think anacharis does better in cold water, my tank is on 76F. Its weird though, about 4-5 stalks are decaying away in the back left corner, but to the right, I have 3 or so anacharis stalks that are flourishing. I've trimmed maybe 4-5 little baby stalks off of them so far. Could you think of a reason for this? why one side is okay and one side isnt? I have flourish excel by seachem and dose as much as I can without overdoing it.

    Any tips for a newbie?

    I have access to alot of aquarium stock as well, I work at a fish specialty store, and, since I got the job…..I began with no fish tank, then i had a 10 gall. Then i realized i could put 2 tanks on 1 stand…so i set up another 10 gallon. Then I noticed the extra space on my night stand, So then i set up a 5.5 gal…(planted as well with 2 kulie loaches {babies and I plan on moving them to the 20L when its cycled all the way [it has about 2 more weeks to go]}, 1 really fat danio {poor guy is lonely…and a bit overfed….} 1 bristlenose pleco {that again I plan on moving} and a snail. a big snail.) AANDDD then i decided my dresser was taking too much space, So I took it outta my room and moved in another tank stand….with a 20L….4 fish tanks in 4 months. …..lol. I bought the gravel for my tiger loaches (botia angelicus or something like that, They're gold, white, black, with little silver dots in their pattern..) They're my babies…but they don't like each other, at least not when I put them in the 10 gal together, they lose all their color and start swimming in circles around eachother trying to spike each other with their barbs…not fun to watch when they were 11.99$ a piece. I thought then that maybe theres not enough territory for the both of em in there…I also have 4 cory cats (looking to add some haborsa corys….probably spelling it wrong but their pygmy corys with an autocinclus pattern to them.

    Lastly, you said in another one of your videos something about how the browns weren't playing today which meant the browns weren't losing today so it was a good day. U from cleveland fam? I grew up in the suburbs. but i live by their training camp…that i think is moving….anyway. thanks, ur vids are fun and…if you read all my rambling thanks for reading and tips are appreciated.

  49. I have been doing a bunch of Facebook LIVE as
    it fits my quick style – Click here to follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DustinsFishtanks.
    And EVERY DAY I do 30 second
    videos on Instagram: Click here to follow me on Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/dustinsfishtanks/

  50. I used fluorite. turned my water brown. now I have gravel and use seachem tabs and flourish excel. I'll see how that works.

  51. i have a 220 gallon tank but i have live sand an its causing problems with my filters, so i wanna swtich to gravel and i just have fresh water tank.. the sand its just way to much work to clean

  52. No offense but your videos are hard to watch to much face not enough fish/tanks. Also I REALLY don't want to be mean because its the inverse of what you actually look like due to the camera but you scare me, like a school shooter look about you

  53. Carib Sea (instant Pease River substrate).
    Natural, small 1 – 2 mm
    smooth rounded no Sharp edges.
    I only wish it was a solid color

  54. This is called classifying.  We do this in gold panning/mining.  We have specialty made plastic "bowls" similar to the filter tray, that fit into the top of a 5 gallon bucket.  The bottom of them is made of screen that comes in different sizes.  Screen with a 1/4" opening is called #4, meaning 4 holes per linear inch.  #10, 10 holes per linear inch (WAAAAAY smaller).   I've been using my classifiers to sift gravel we get at the lake or river for my tanks for 25 years.  Super handy trick to getting the substrate the exact same size.

  55. Eco Complete. Problem I ran into, I think, is it makes the ph too high. Already set up planted Betta bowls with it and they have been in 2 months and 1 month and surviving. Have more bowls waiting to add other Bettas. All this happened before I realized the ph was 7.4. My tap water (well) is 6.0. Hate to tear up and start over. Added shrimp to two of these bowls which is turning out to be somewhat of a disaster.

  56. If you all are interested look up gold paining classifiers. You and can find them in any mesh size so you can get a vary consistent gravel size . And they are relatively inexpensive.

  57. Great video! I’m setting up a New tank for my Kribensis and I know they like to sift the substrate, I really don’t want to go with sand, what is the finest gravel I could use that would work?

  58. Hey Dustin can I raise grade of my seachem flourite with cheap black aquarium gravel to give depth to my tank I wanna slope my aquascape from back to front?? Please help!!!

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