Substrate question

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Nov 18, 2023
Has anyone ever used Aqua Natural Bio substrate (or another one like it) for the bottom layer in a planted tank. I really want a lighter color and was thinking of putting a light natural color gravel on top of it.
I asked the guys at my fish shop and one said plants won’t grow at all and one said plants would grow just fine! Looking for some insight before I set up my new tank (37 gal tall).
Its not a planted substrate if thats what you are asking. It says it contains nitrifying bacteria, which would consume nitrate and turn it into nitrogen gas, and plants need nitrate. But nitrifying bacteria is very difficult to keep alive in freshwater aquariums unless you have very deep substrate beds, so i dont see that as relevant as if the manufacturers claims are true, the nitrifying bacteria will just die off in 99% of aquariums.

Will plants do ok in it? I cant see why not. Most of those commonly kept, low demand plants, will do just fine in any gravel. I dont think they will benefit from it any more than just ordinary gravel though either. If this is your first go at a planted tank, then stick with those low demand plants, and go for whatever gravel you like the appearance of. You really dont need to spend money on any specialist substrates for most plants.
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