Are you a passionate aquascape hobbyist and are you looking for the best substrate for planted tanks that would make your aquarium garden even more beautiful? Well then, congratulations! You have found just the right place where you will get the solutions to all your problems.
In this article, I will provide you with a comprehensive review of the best substrate for planted tanks, along with detailed comparisons among various products. After you read my review article thoroughly, you will be able to decide for yourself which product you would choose to purchase for your aquarium plant tank. I will be elaborating all the features of every product that I will discuss in this review article. Make sure that you go through it till the very end before placing your order for purchasing your desired product.
Best Substrate Comparisons Table
Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews Top 5 Best Substrate for Planted Tank
Now that you have already decided to check out the various features of the different substrate products that you would need as a hobbyist, it is about time that you do a detailed study of all the pros and cons of those products. The detailed reviews of eight of the best substrates for plant tank are presented for you as follows:
ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia
The Aqua Soil Amazonia is an excellent substrate for your aquarium plant tank. The product normally comes in a pack of a capacity of 9 liters. This product is manufactured by Aqua Design Amano. The primary and the most important feature of this product is that it effectively creates an aquascape that would depict the fertile South American rainforests characterized by the dynamic alterations of the rainy and the dry seasons.
The features of ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia are described in details as follows:
- This substrate is superior because it is composed of plant-based black soil and not volcanic ash-based black soil.
- This particular substrate is very rich in organic ingredients and natural mineral nutrients, which the aquascape hobbyists prefer as it is ideal for the aquatic plant life.
- This substrate contains buffering properties that balance the pH level and reduces the hardness of the water.
- However, this substrate contains a high concentration of humic acid which may cause water cloudiness which many aquascape hobbyists would not prefer.
We have already read the overview of the features of this particular product. Therefore, the following list will enumerate the pros of using this substrate:
- Rich in organic elements and mineral nutrients that are ideal for the aquatic plants.
- Balances the pH level and reduces the hardness of the water.
- The substrate is of great quality.
Since this article is concerned about providing an unbiased product review, I am going to list the cons of using this product as follows:
- Only meant for expert aquascape hobbyists, not for beginners.
- The substrate may sometimes cause water turbidity, that is harmful to the fishes.
Mr. Aqua N-MAR-067 (8 L) Course Pet Habitat Water Plant Soil
This product is also considered by many professionally experienced aquascape hobbyists to be one of the best substrates for planted tanks. This product normally comes in a pack of 8 liters capacity of the substrate. We will now discuss the various features of this product with meticulous attention to details.
The following points will give you an overview of the various features of this particular product:
- This substrate is composed of organic elements and natural mineral nutrients which aquascape hobbyists prefer mostly.
- The substrate possesses a buffering quality to either neutralize or significantly reduce the pH level and consequently the hardness of the water, which helps in the aquascape process.
- The substrate is composed of fertilized plant derivatives that make this product long-lasting with a guaranteed life span of 12-18 months, thus, benefitting the customers.
- This substrate is black and is granular in structure. Because of this granular structure of the substrate, the water exchange period is prolonged and the purification of water is also initiated by this substrate.
To discuss the pros or the benefits of using this substrate, the following points have been listed:
- Contains organic elements that are ideal for the aquatic plant life
- The granular structure of the substrate helps in prolonging water exchange.
- Helps in water purification.
- Has long-lasting life span.
The only thing that can be counted as a limitation of this product is the high price at which it is sold.
Hermit Habitat Terrarium Sand (Blue) – Good choice for betta fish tank
This product is meant mainly for hermit crabs in an aquarium but it can also be used for the soil/ sand in flowerpots or gardens. This substrate is available in a bag containing 2 lbs of this sand.
Let us now look at the specific features of this product in a nutshell:
- This substrate is composed of 100% digestible calcium carbonate which provides for a rich source of calcium that is beneficial for the hermit crabs in the aquarium. This will be a preferred choice for hobbyists who wish to keep hermit crabs or other aquatic animals other than fishes.
- This substrate is completely free from phosphate and silica. Thus, this creates a safer aquatic environment in the planted tanks for the aquatic life forms to sustain.
- This substrate contains non-toxic colored pigments, so, aquatic hobbyists will get to experience a beautiful color without fearing about the aquatic environment of the planted tanks.
The advantages that this particular product has to offer are discussed in the following points:
- This sand has a beautiful color that looks good in an aquarium.
- This substrate is rich in calcium content which is beneficial for the hermit crabs.
- This substrate is free from toxic pigments of color, silica or phosphate.
The cons of using this product are depicted as follows:
- This product is too expensive.
- The bag contains too less amount of substrate.
- The consistency and the texture of the soil are often complained to be unsuitable for hermit crabs for the sand is not as wet and moist as it should be; it often clings to the shells of the hermit crabs which may suffocate them.
Carib Sea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate (Black)
This product is often shortlisted under the best substrates for planted tanks. This substrate manufactured by CaribSea Inc. Is supposed to be used by experienced aquascape hobbyists for it has been scientifically made implementing all the latest technologies. This product is packed in a bag with a capacity of 20 pounds.
Let us check a comprehensive overview of the important features of this product. The list is as follows:
- This substrate is made of basaltic volcanic soil that essentially contains rich sources of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sulfur among almost or even more than 25 other mineral elements. These mineral nutrients and elements help to improve and enhance the aquatic plant life.
- This product is free from artificial dyes, synthetic paints and/ or chemical coatings that may be harmful to the aquatic environment of the planted tank. Thus, it is an ideal choice of substrate for planted tanks recommended to aquatic hobbyists.
- Because of its feature that promotes an exuberant growth of aquatic plants due to its highly porous soil texture, this product is one of the best substrates in the market.
The pros of using this product are as follows:
- This substrate is essentially rich in elements and various ingredients that nourish the aquatic plant life.
- This substrate encourages excellent plant root growth.
- This product is a complete substrate for your planted tank.
This product is not recommended for beginners in aquascape practice. This substrate should only be used by experienced hobbyists. This is the only limitation of this product.
Seachem Fluorite Clay Gravel (Black)
This is a natural substrate manufactured by Seachem for the planted tank and is characterized as clay-based stable porous soil. This product comes in a package that carries 15 pounds of this substrate.
The features of this product are listed below:
- This substrate is composed of fracted stable porous clay gravel soil.
- This product is suitable for planted tanks but it may be used in any aquarium environment.
- It is mainly recommended for knowledgeable aquascape hobbyists.
The following list depicts the advantages of using this substrate for your planted tank:
- The porous clay gravel soil makes the best substrate for planted tanks.
- Suitable to almost every kind of planted tanks or aquarium environments because of its unique substrate composition.
This substrate is only meant for expert aquascape hobbyists, not for the beginners.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Substrate for Planted Tank
In this review of various aquascape substrates, we have provided detailed comparisons between the different products and we have also enumerated the specific features of every product based on the respective needs of the concerned aquascape hobbyists.
However, reviews often tend to provide a lot of details and information which might confuse the buyers. To help our readers get rid of any confusion whatsoever, we have provided them here with a buyer’s guide that would help them choose the best substrate according to their specific requirements and preferences.
To buy the best substrate for your planted tank, you will have to consider the following features of the products:
- Composition of the Substrate: It is important for you to thoroughly know about the composition of the substrate. According to your specific needs, the composition will vary if you want to choose the best substrate for your planted tank. Your preference and requirements will tell you if you need a chemical-based aqua soil or an inert substrate or an organic one. However, you may always rely on organic ingredients in the substrates. The products that we have reviewed in this article are of the organic type in composition.
- The Texture of the Substrate: The texture of the substrate also needs to be considered by every aquascape hobbyist before deciding to buy the product. The substrate soil may be highly porous, moderately porous, or fine-graded and not porous at all. This will affect the length of the water exchange process in the aquarium or the planted tank. Thus, you will have to choose your substrate according to the size and quantity of your planted tank that will determine the required texture of the aquascape substrate.
- Buffering Property: The buffering property of the aquascape substrate refers to its tendency of either balancing the pH level of the water to a scale of 6.5 to 6.8 or to reduce the hardness of the water in the planted tank. This is essential to maintain the aquatic plant life under ideal conditions or to optimize the aquascape environment.
- Life Span of the Substrate: Aquascape hobbyists must also consider the life span of the substrate. Usually, customers prefer long-lasting substrates for their planted tanks.
- Price of the Substrate: Any aquascape hobbyist needs to consider the price of the substrate that he/ she is going to purchase. In this review article, the products that we have listed are all budget-friendly.
- Type of Soil: This is also an important point to consider when you are deciding to buy the best substrate for your planted tank. The types of soil may vary from gravel, clay, basaltic, black soil, and sand, among various others. The type of soil that you need to choose depending on your preferred aquascape environment or the type of aquatic plant or animal life present in your planted tank.
Best Substrate for Plant Tank FAQs
Here are a few quick fact-based questions and their answers to help you get a better understanding of the best substrate for plant tanks from the perspective of an aquascape hobbyist and depending on your unique requirements:
What is the substrate?
Substrate refers to the soil material that remains at the bottom of the aquarium or the plant tank. This substrate is composed of a variety of ingredients and contains numerous elements, like organic materials, inert elements, biological substances, chemical materials, etc.
Why is it necessary to choose the best substrate?
Choosing the best substrate is of utmost significance to every aquascape hobbyist for it determines the kind of aquatic plants that you want to grow in the planted tank.
How many types of substrates are there?
There are various kinds of substrates, for example, gravel soil, clay soil, sand-based, porous soil, wet and moist soil, etc. Besides, substrates also differ depending upon their respective composition and texture and a pH balance scale.
What is the function of a substrate?
The primary function of a substrate is to maintain the optimized conditions of the aquatic environment for the concerned aquatic plants to survive and grow.
How to use substrates?
While most substrates require a thorough rinsing before use, some of them don’t. The instructions for using a substrate depend on their composition and types.
What color gravel is best for betta fish
The best products for your gravel would be the natural type and color for your tank. Although, as previously stated, some fish owners choose bright pinks or reds, those colors compete with the color and beauty of your Betta and other fish in the aquarium. Also, due to the natural environment Bettas love, neutral gravel will feel more normal for your fish and actually reduce stress on them in general.
Having read this review and the thorough comparison of the best substrates for the planted tank and having gone through the FAQs, you would now probably be able to decide for yourself which substrate you shall need to buy according to your specific aquascape preferences and requirements. I hope this review article will help you make the best decision regarding the best substrate for planted tanks.
Before you decide to make the purchase and place your order for the planted tank aquascape substrate on Amazon, it is recommended that you thoroughly consider your requirements as an aquascape hobbyist and the needs of your respective planted tank and note them down somewhere. Now, you should go through the ‘Buyer’s Guide’ section of this review article and compare your requirements and preferences against the specific pints in that section so that you would have no doubts in ultimately choosing the best substrate for your planted tank.
- 1 Best Substrate Comparisons Table
- 2 Reviews Top 5 Best Substrate for Planted Tank
- 3 Buyer’s Guide for the Best Substrate for Planted Tank
- 4 Best Substrate for Plant Tank FAQs
- 5 Conclusion