Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Millersburg, PA
I can offer advice from the perspective of another beginner.
I hated gravel because waste falls between it and gets stuck down there. You can use a gravel vacuum, but it takes a long time to really clean it deeply.
I switched to sand and couldn't be happier. I was told that it would be hard to vacuum, but I actually find it easier than vacuuming gravel. I just sweep the siphon over the surface and waste gets sucked up, leaving the heavier sand behind. I don't have any problems with it getting kicked up by anything, really.
I went with pool filter sand from a pool supply store because it was inexpensive and fit my budget for what I needed. If you want a lighter color, try that. If you want black, the black sand blasting grit from Tractor Supply, as mentioned earlier, is what you want.
Putting dirt under either one is up to you!