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Does depth of substrate matter?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Jdinh04, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Jdinh04

    Jdinh04 New Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    East Lansing, MI
    Among all the aquascapes that I've seen, I notice some aquascapes with short and tall depth of substrate.

    I was wondering however, if the depth of the substrate really make an impact on the growth of plants?

    For instance does a tank with a substrate depth of 4" in the back to 2" in the front grow plants better than a tank with a substrate depth of 5" in the back to 3" in the front.

    Does an 1" or 2" have an affect on the plant's growth?

    What do you guys think? :popcorn:
  2. fishman9809

    fishman9809 New Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    healthier roots from deep substrate.
  3. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Good question. :)

    If you take a look at your plant's roots grown in deeper substrate you'll notice more robust roots systems, which equates to a healthier plant. Now, the common practice is to have a deeper substrate as you move towards the back of the aquarium. This makes sense for two reasons.

    One, the plants grown in the back of the aquarium usually are the heavy hitters of an aquascape. They require the most space, and most nutrients compared to foreground plants. So having a deep substrate here will help provide a good foundation for lush plant growth.

    Two, aesthetically you raise the aquascape and make the aquascape appear deeper and larger with a higher substrate depth in the back. The extra height in the back helps avoid the dreaded "flat plain" of a planted aquarium.

    Depending on plant species, I would say a deep 3" substrate is better for a plant than when it's planted in a thin 1" substrate layer.

    -John N.
  4. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

    Mar 2, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Kuala Lumpur>Malaysia
    I'd always go for 2" or less at the front for aesthetics depending on size of tank. Bigger field of view.
    Growth doesn't seem to be an issue. Not that it can be measured IMO.

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