Can You Get Away With Sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Can You Get Away With Sand?

Doing a heavily planted tank, but currently have sand which I don't want to switch out. Would it be possible to provide adequate nutrients via root tabs/liquid ferts and maybe co2, or is that only possible with soil?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 06:55 AM
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People manage to get good results with sand root tabs and fertilizer. CO2 is not necessary. You can also get good results with typical aquarium gavel you find in most let shops.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 07:57 AM
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Dirted tanks are always recommended for heavily planted. I have never dirted a tank but all my tanks are well planted, I generally use a layer of something geared towards plants capped with sand, but sand or gravel works well with many plants, I would advise steering clear of the high tech plants. Co2 helps but is not necessary.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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by high tech do you mean the difficulty of plants and equipment needed? What if I get a bunch of low/medium maintenance plants, would that be fine?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 09:00 AM
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You can grow anything in plain sand or gravel with good co2 and nutrients in the water column. Maybe a root tab here and there.

Folks do it every day, here's my example - https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...-dutch-33.html


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 03:38 PM
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Doing a heavily planted tank, but currently have sand which I don't want to switch out. Would it be possible to provide adequate nutrients via root tabs/liquid ferts and maybe co2, or is that only possible with soil?
yes plants will still be able to grow in sand. for sure

put liquid fertz or root tabs for boost
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 04:36 PM
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Keep in mind too, that all sand isn't equal. Coarse sand like pool filter sand is great. Fine, powdery sand like playground sand can compact over time smothering roots and creating pockets of anaerobic bacteria. A good friend of mine used playground sand at first with good results. A year later, his plants started dying and he decided to switch substrate. We found gobs of black slimy, stinky root material under there. Having MTS to sift through the substrate may have prevented this, but long term problems can arise if it's too fine.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 07:33 PM
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Keep in mind too, that all sand isn't equal. Coarse sand like pool filter sand is great. Fine, powdery sand like playground sand can compact over time smothering roots and creating pockets of anaerobic bacteria. A good friend of mine used playground sand at first with good results. A year later, his plants started dying and he decided to switch substrate. We found gobs of black slimy, stinky root material under there. Having MTS to sift through the substrate may have prevented this, but long term problems can arise if it's too fine.
MTS with really fine sand here for 10 years now ;-) By really I mean it's 0,1-0,3 mm, I'm starting to think that 10 cm thickness is not enough to get anaerobic or maybe MTS and plants roots are doing a great job.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 11:31 PM
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yes absolutely look @ my 75g journal for results in high tech setup with only inert sand (i use black diamond)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 09:09 PM
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Why not use soil under sand if you have the choice? By volume, soil is less expensive than sand, and results will be better. Soil with a sand cap seems to be the best... I guess until you replant, then it gets messy... for a day or two.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 04:51 AM
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Why not use soil under sand if you have the choice? By volume, soil is less expensive than sand, and results will be better. Soil with a sand cap seems to be the best... I guess until you replant, then it gets messy... for a day or two.
Because some of us don't like the mess. Plus, I like to rearrange often, and I don't like the risks associated with it.

As to the whole root tab thing, I've had awesome results with just column dosing. I really question the benefit of root tabs other than convenience.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies guys, I currently have 60lbs of imagitarium white sand https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...-aquarium-sand
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 05:54 AM
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Just a tip in case you didn't know, there is no need to buy "aquarium sand". The stuff you get at the hardware store or the fleet and farm store works just fine for a fraction of the price of "aquarium sand". Its all just sand.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I know. I was originally trying to get my hands on #30 lapis lustre sand, but being from NY, and the sand coming from CA, I couldn't find it in 4 home depots/2 lowe's stores and just settled for this sand. I even spoke to the LFS and they said not to get it for cories because they feed by suction and can choke. Pretty much a typical LFS with non-experienced employees. 5 months with the cories, and all is well.
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