There is something to be said for "old fashioned" quartz gravel/laterite (high CEC) tanks.
This a a "parting shot" of my 30+ year old 75G tank. I've decided that the time has come to retire it, because I am concerned about the age of the silicone.
It has been set up as you see it, with NO CHANGE OF SUBSTRATE for close to 20 years now. I have occasionally uprooted plants, thinned them out and de-compacted the substrate, about a third of the tank at a time... a technique taught to me by Claus Christensen years ago. This has been done approximately 4 times over the life of the tank.
This certainly isn't an "aquascape" tank... I challenge anyone to keep a pristine aquascape for that long. ;) But it is a vibrant, healthy, tank that still grows plants like gang-busters after all this time. Part of the prblem with trying to keep this tank "aquascaped" is that it has always been my go-to tank for new plants, if I wasn't sure of the best conditions. Almost everything grows in this tank. (other than the very soft water species, but this is due to my tap water, not this tank) So I'm always sticking new things in to see what will happen.
So, sort of as an "in memoriam" I thought I'd post my old friend here, so that folks could see that you DON'T need expensive or complicated to make substrates to grow a beautiful planted tank!
© Karen Randall Photography