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RE: Flourite or Laterite... which is better?

Morgan Gerk asked the following question...

>Which is better for planted tanks- Flourite or Laterite substrates?

You really know how to start a fight Morgan <g>. There are probably as many
"opinions" on this topic as there are people using the products. There are
many different ways of setting up a tank's substrate which will work and
other than second hand information, which is really all that is available,
the choice is up to you and your pocketbook. There are a number of major
"schools of thought" on substrate design - and any number of commercial or
home-made products which can be used. A lot of people wonder if any one is
better or possibly "best", but without actually trying them for yourself,
you are still flying dark. To solve the question for myself, I decided last
summer to set up a few tanks using different substrates and compare the

It became very apparent rather quickly that there are a lot of variables
involved in an aquarium and it is a daunting task to control them all - the
bottom line was that my "experiment", at least as originally conceived,
proved inconclusive - I saw differences between the tanks but I could not
say exactly what caused the differences. I have used laterite with excellent
results and I have used Flourite with excellent results. Either one seems to
be quite capable of providing what the plants need. But if you are new to
growing plants, remember that the substrate is only one part of the whole
equation. Seachem, the makers of Flourite, produce a range of products which
are designed to work in a complimentary fashion to meet all of your plant's
nutritional needs. I've tried them and they work. Dupla (one of the
suppliers of laterite) also has a range of products designed as a "system".
I've used the Dupla range of products and they work very well too. And there
are lots of other manufacturers willing to take your money who also produce
"full range product lines".

So, to be realistic, there is no one answer to your question - both methods
work, provided that you follow instructions and learn to observe your tanks
and make adjustments as necessary.

James Purchase