Top sand layer? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Top sand layer?

Hi
I would like to know if it is not recomended to put a 1/2" layer of 1-2mm size sand on top of the planting substrate my main worry is that the sand will conpact the substrate and cause a bad bacteria build up.


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 06:37 PM
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Ok, simple as i can say it. Eco-complete(and all the others with a decent CEC) absorbs nutes from the water column.. so if you cap that nutrient magnet, it may as well be alley gravel.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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aww i would of liked to use a black top sand to "neaten it up" so that is did not float around but i see what you mean as i will be using eco-complete or ADA aquasoil.

thankyou for your input
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 08:58 PM
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Ethan - The whole compacting sand "danger" is taken out of context and exaggerated. A cap of 1" to 2" of fine grain sand over dirt is just not going to be a problem. Most of us use that depth range.

I may have one of the highest organic loaded substrates on this site in my "Toxic Ten" tank. The thread will show that over 200 days after the start all is going well.

I feel That the "seal" created by sand cap it the reason they system works vs. using a pebble sized substrate cap. I also thing 1" in the min. sand cap depth and 2" should be about as deep as one should go.

Best of luck with your tank
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thankyou for your opinion.

Is there anyone else who can say the same as StevenP or DogFish above to as at the moment it is 50:50
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:24 PM
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Sand that compacts is usually the finer product, or a mixed sand that has some particles as fine as dust. Play sand is often like that. Also sand that is deeper than 2", or tanks that have very minimal water movement. Unplanted tanks.

Sand that does not create anaerobic issues:
Sand where all the particles are one size such as pool filter sand and blasting sand.
Sand that is no deeper than 2".
Planted tanks with thriving rooted plants.
Tanks with average or better water movement. (roughly 5x or better)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know the sand i have got is quite grainy not as fine as playsand.

The filter that i have is a eheim eco pro 2034 which does 600lh so that means that it would be 12 times the tank volume every hour but the fact that it is on the floor probably means that is will be around 8 times is this too much

also What is your veiw on the sand preventing nutrients from getting to the soil ? would it just take a while for them to get through or does it not realy matter as it will also keep the nutrients in the substrate.

many thanks

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 12:06 AM
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8x is just fine.
I aim for 10x per the labels, and I think I am lucky to get about the same as you.

Over time an aquarium will reach a balance of nutrients in the soil getting used by the plants and getting replaced by the decomposer organisms working on fish poop, fallen food, dead plant parts and so on. This takes time to develop. Water column dosing also gets fertilizers into the substrate. If the substrate has a high cationic exchange capacity there can be quite a lot of activity going on. If the substrate is more like a sand or gravel the water flows through faster, because of the larger space between the particles, but the fertilizer flows through with the water because those coarser materials do not have significant CEC. Eventually the organic matter (mulm) will get broken down small enough to have significant CEC, so even in pure gravel substrates there can be a reserve of fertilizer.

In the case of a high CEC substrate with a sand cap I see no problem at all with the fertilizers in the water working their way deeper into the substrate. The sand is little or no barrier to that. As I said above, it just takes time. The plant growing substrate will not become a fertilizer-rich substrate overnight, but it will happen.
Starting with some fertilizer in the lower part of the substrate can get the plants growing well without the water column dosing that might contribute to algae until the whole system is getting established.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan View Post
.... What is your veiw on the sand preventing nutrients from getting to the soil ? would it just take a while for them to get through or does it not realy matter as it will also keep the nutrients in the substrate.

many thanks

Ethan
I use construction grade sand. it runs from extremely fine powder to pebbles the size of a peeper corn. I don't "dress-up" the4 front and sides of my rank. You can see the dirt and sand layers. I find it interesting that yjhe dirt is at the booton. then a 1/4" layers of the fine sand that had settled out of the sand Cap. then the larger grain sand.

Occasionally if I pull a rooted plant, I may get a bit of dirt pulled up. You can actually see the dirt settle back into the lowest level over a few days. If I ever get a video camera I will film it.

That sand the sand cap is permeable layer. Rooted plants take most of their nutrition from the dirt by their roots. However, nutrients in the substrate do leach out into the water column.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 03:50 AM
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Use Silica Sand... heavier and cleaner than play sand. Buy at Menard's for less than $6. I would only use about 1/2 inch for cap but Flourite should cap nicely if cleaned properly.
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