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Old 01-23-2017, 08:09 PM   #1
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Root tabs or fertilized substrated for carpet plants?

I have to pick up the substrate for my future tank, which will have several carpet plants (Hemianthus Callitrichoudes, Staurogyne Repens). I have 2 options:

1) Fertilized substrate (Dennerle DeponitMix) + Quartz gravel 1/2mm
2) Quartz gravel 1/2mm + root tabs

What i fear about fertilized substrate is the possible mixing with the gravel in case of change to the layout or replating of some plants, so this makes me lean towards option 2. But my concern is that root tabs won't be as effective as the fertilized substrate.

What do you think? Can the root tabs perfectly substitute the fertilized substrate maintaining the same effectiveness?

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Old 01-23-2017, 11:02 PM   #2
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I understand your concern with the disturbance that will occur when uprooting plants. Well developed Staur repens roots nearly rival those of crypts. So you are using the fine gravel as a cap for the fertilized substrate? If you are careful, you could always recap any exposed areas.
On the flip side, I've had good luck with EcoComplete and root pellets/tabs. I think the only difference between EC and quartz gravel is the high CEC (cation exchange capacity) of the former. Basically, EC can retain a large amount of positively charged particles including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. This helps with plant growth.
Although plain sand has a low CEC, with the addition of appropriate nutrients plant growth should be fine.
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