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What can be achieved using just a gravel substrate?


29 Mar 2011
As title really just wondering what can be achieved using just a gravel substrate in a planted tank?
Any pictures would be great as nearly all the ones ive seen on here use soils cat littler ect
Thanks in advance
Is this is in the wrong place? if so could a mod move it to the right place please
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Not sure if this counts as there's a 2cm layer of Colombo florabase under the sand that I didn't remove

But it is mostly unipac Senegal sand and the florabase was well over a year old only issues I've had stemmed from being away and no ferts added otherwise I think it's done ok.
This is an old tank from before I new anything at all about planted tanks. It had plain gravel and some play sand in and wasn't given anything in the way of ferts or carbon.

Here's a closer view of the same tank at a different time. It was getting DIY Co2 and EI ferts in this one but had the same substrate. Sorry about all the bubbles, I was trying out the venturi.


Does sand count? There were filter bags full of cat litter and osmocote underneath - toward the back - but I don't think they did that much TBH since they were largely below the root zone. Anyway the point is if you add fertz you could grow plants in marbles (to quote Clive), if you really wanted to that is.