Useful tips to set up a planted tank: Part 1
Substrate is one of the most critical issues for a planted tank. The substrate can vary from set up to set up and heavily depends on the species that you are planning keep in the tank. Please remember that the substrate in your tank is not just few colorful pebbles with shiny look or a heap of sand dumped at the bottom of the tank. It is one of the key elements that keep a tank living and growing.
Layering in your substrate is also very critical, as you need to use multiple materials for the substrate, depending on the need of the flora and fauna kept in your tank.
For the bottom layer, I use ¼” thick, Iron rich Laterite soil layer at the bottom of the tank to ensure a constant source of Iron for l-o-n-g time. On the top of that I use a 1-1 1/2” think layer of 4-5 mm sand and then 3-5” thick layer of 2-4 mm sand. I put fine sand at the top most layer just for decoration.
Please remember to use calcium-free sand, i.e. sand free from broken pieces of shells etc. if you are planning to add CO2 in your tank, at a later stage.
Use fine sand only for decoration and in limited amount, (better not to use them at all) as the plants do not grow well in fine sand.