Did I use the wrong sand as a dirt cap? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Did I use the wrong sand as a dirt cap?

Hello, newbie here. I have had fish tanks forever, have had live plants in them, but didn’t get into it any more than just sticking some beginner/easy plants in there. I did elaborate planted terrariums for a long time for frogs. Now I recently became interested in the really fancy aqua-scaping I’ve been seeing with dense plants and low-tech. I started watching some videos and had been wanting to re-do my 15 gal long, so I followed one of the videos and took my tank apart and added organic sifted dirt on the bottom (about and inch to inch and a half) and then capped it with the sand I already had in that tank (another inch...deeper in the back) and put it all back together. Since the tank was already established, only thing new was the dirt underneath, I was able to add the fish back and they are fine two weeks later. It is not super heavily planted yet as I didn’t have money for that, so I’m just waiting for things to spread. I do still have a filter going, but the flow is blocked by a decoration cause I have a betta in there and they don’t swim well with lots of flow. I also got a much better LED light for it and the plants seem to like it. I didn’t lose any fish, they didn’t even seem bothered by the change, so assuming the tank didn’t have to cycle since I re-used everything in it. In fact they seam healthier and are now doing breeding behaviors. (Fish are 1 female betta, 7 galaxy rasboras, 5 ember tetras, tons of ramshorn snails.)

BUT I’m concerned anyway! LOL The more research I do, the more I’m seeing that the sand I used might be bad? I used Carib Sea Super Naturals tan colored sand from the pet store. I rinsed it a ton, it made the water slightly cloudy for maybe a day, but then was fine. But now I’m seeing people saying it’s too fine and roots can’t go through it and air pockets will get stuck in the dirt and become toxic, etc....I haven’t noticed an issue, but will I later? I have poked it and air bubbles came up. Plants are growing...only ones that died were dwarf hair grass, but I suspect it was because the light isn’t full strength in the very front of the tank, so I took it out and put it in another tank where it’s in the light. Other plants have grown. But now I’m concerned that the sand is too compact and is just sealing off the dirt instead of it providing for the plants like it’s supposed to. What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid since I’m not seeing issues, or is this not good for the future?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky1980 View Post
Hello, newbie here. I have had fish tanks forever, have had live plants in them, but didn’t get into it any more than just sticking some beginner/easy plants in there. I did elaborate planted terrariums for a long time for frogs. Now I recently became interested in the really fancy aqua-scaping I’ve been seeing with dense plants and low-tech. I started watching some videos and had been wanting to re-do my 15 gal long, so I followed one of the videos and took my tank apart and added organic sifted dirt on the bottom (about and inch to inch and a half) and then capped it with the sand I already had in that tank (another inch...deeper in the back) and put it all back together. Since the tank was already established, only thing new was the dirt underneath, I was able to add the fish back and they are fine two weeks later. It is not super heavily planted yet as I didn’t have money for that, so I’m just waiting for things to spread. I do still have a filter going, but the flow is blocked by a decoration cause I have a betta in there and they don’t swim well with lots of flow. I also got a much better LED light for it and the plants seem to like it. I didn’t lose any fish, they didn’t even seem bothered by the change, so assuming the tank didn’t have to cycle since I re-used everything in it. In fact they seam healthier and are now doing breeding behaviors. (Fish are 1 female betta, 7 galaxy rasboras, 5 ember tetras, tons of ramshorn snails.)

BUT I’m concerned anyway! LOL The more research I do, the more I’m seeing that the sand I used might be bad? I used Carib Sea Super Naturals tan colored sand from the pet store. I rinsed it a ton, it made the water slightly cloudy for maybe a day, but then was fine. But now I’m seeing people saying it’s too fine and roots can’t go through it and air pockets will get stuck in the dirt and become toxic, etc....I haven’t noticed an issue, but will I later? I have poked it and air bubbles came up. Plants are growing...only ones that died were dwarf hair grass, but I suspect it was because the light isn’t full strength in the very front of the tank, so I took it out and put it in another tank where it’s in the light. Other plants have grown. But now I’m concerned that the sand is too compact and is just sealing off the dirt instead of it providing for the plants like it’s supposed to. What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid since I’m not seeing issues, or is this not good for the future?
I have not used caribsea before but if it is to fine then yes it can build up pockets of gas. One way to solve this is use a poker like a chopstick, grill fork or something similar to poke your soil releasing the gas. Do this at least once a week. You can also get some Malaysian trumpet snails to keep your soil turned over. Have you noticed any bubbles coming up from the substrate? Could you post pics of the grain size of the sand?
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 03:13 PM
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Is it finer than play sand? I've used that a couple of times with absolutely no problems and it's pretty fine!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 03:23 PM
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I have used it multiple times... I used it just to make 'pathways' etc. I never had issues- but I never had an entire tank full of it.

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