I used inert sand on the 1st go and that pic is of the HC about 2-3 months in to the scape. slowly creeping out, full of algae and just not healthy. I also wanted something less busy than that scape. I decided on the AS route after reading through Franks thread and wanted to set up something proper to achieve a more artistic look in a quicker timeframe. I am soo much happier already with the set up and growth, its looking how I want it to look rather than hoping I could make it happen with the sand.