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Are Hydroballs Required?

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  • Are Hydroballs Required?

    Getting a baby Crestie and starting it off with a smaller cage until he/she grows. I don't want to get into the live plant scene until I've gotten its permanent residence in a year or so from now. The cage is kind of small for that anyways. Getting all that out of the way, do setups without live plants need hydroballs? I plan on using Exo Terras plantation soil if that's any help in answering my question...

  • #2
    You need an inch or two of a drainage layer in a planted tank. Many people use hydroballs but you can replace them with gravel or something similar. Once you add a layer of drainage then you will need to get a screen separator to separate the soil from the drainage layer. Then you will put in your soil (Many use ABG mix's) and finally top it off with a layer of leaf litter to reduce impaction.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Commander View Post
      You need an inch or two of a drainage layer in a planted tank. Many people use hydroballs but you can replace them with gravel or something similar. Once you add a layer of drainage then you will need to get a screen separator to separate the soil from the drainage layer. Then you will put in your soil (Many use ABG mix's) and finally top it off with a layer of leaf litter to reduce impaction.
      And what if you dont have any live plants?

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      • #4
        -nodnod to the above- It's just there to absorb and hold excess water, and helps develop stronger plant roots. I've seen some people that just raise the substrate up 2" using eggcrate, leaving the space underneath empty or just filling it with water, but the people who do that also have drilled a hole into the bottom of their tanks and secured a drainage pipe to it so when water level gets too high, they can drain it without ripping it all apart.
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        • #5
          I use'd eco earth without hydro balls for about 6 months and it really sucked honestly. It was either too damp or completely dry for me, so you can do it, but hydro balls really make a difference if you have the extra money to throw it in. It stays a lot more consistent and you don't have to keep an eye on the humidity as much from my experience.

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