I want a low/mid light, low tech tank without the need for C02. I don't have my heart set on any specific plants yet, as I figured I'd test out a variety and go with what works. I'd like my fish to include cardinal tetras, cories, a few ottos, some shrimp if I can pull it off, and whatever else may be recommended for a community tank.
I definitely want a black substrate, and that seems to limit my options quite a bit...
...I know flourite and eco-complete would require root tabs, which is fine. I also know cories do fine in both of those, but I'd love to give them sand to really play in. And I know any sand on top of eco-complete or flourite will eventually end up on the bottom.
So I was considering doing an all sand substrate with root tabs for any root feeders I put in there. Would this be a good idea for my situation? That way I have my black sand (either blasting grit or Tahitian Moon Sand) and I won't make a mess when re-scaping because it's all one substrate. Did anyone go this route and would you do it again?
Or would it be better to nix the sand and go with all eco-complete or flourite because they have higher CEC properties for the root tab nutrients?
i love my sand. its super easy to plant, and grow in. i did use root tabs. but one day i looked up at the bottom of the tank and saw that i have a layer of unused root tab and so i have stopped, to be honest i haven't used root tabs in about 3 months and everything is growing like crazy.
my cories are happiest in the sand, i've tried in my eco-complete tanks and they just seem to prefer the sand. the only "draw back" to sand is that it will not stay level and even. as your cories dig around they put sand up into the current and it will settle in different places based on current and give you some natural sloping, which i enjoy.
it seems like you know that you want sand, so go ahead and get it! its fun.
there was more i wanted to say but this sandwich is soo tasty i forgot it.