Will sand work for me? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Will sand work for me?

I have Saf-T-sorb in a few tanks. Very pretty. Very light weight and hard to plant in. kH went down gH went up.

Anyway, I'm buying a 40g breeder for the main tank in the house. It will have 2-3 pendant lights hard wired overhead for low/medium light. I may spring for co2 on this tank. I plan to have 99% water column feeders. I like the look of sand and have made a special sand vacuum to clean my sand. I find sand holds beneficial bacteria really well. I plan to get burrowing snails and can poke the sand from time to time.

I have sand on hand ready to go. I'm going to Petco and they have Eco Complete. I would need two bags. $40.

Given my desired set-up will sand work for me or will I be happier with the Eco? Keep in mind I have established cycled sand tanks that I can seed from.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 01:33 PM
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You don't need to vacuum substrate in a planted tank. When doing so, you remove what plants feed on.

Sand will be cheaper and if you plan on dosing ferts or using root tabs, you'll have just as much success with it as you could Eco-Complete. (EC is inert, contains little to nothing for plants - it's just crushed lava rock)

If you want to save money, you should explore Black Diamond Blasting Grit. You can get 50 pounds for about $8 at Tractor Supply. Or Pool Filter Sand if you want something that's lighter in color.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. I vacuum because the poo looks bad on the sand but...if the substrate is black I won't be bothered by it. I already do ferts and don't mind root tabs for something that needs it though there will be maybe one or two in the whole tank. I have seen the blasting grit. I wanted a few cories in that tank. Is the blasting grit too coarse for them you think? Other than that the tank will house burrowing snails and female betta. Possibly...maybe...a small shoaling group just for visual interest.

So the Eco complete is just providing surface area for beneficial bacteria then. Hmm. Sand does the same thing pretty well I'd just have to deal with compacting and anaerobic issues, right?

I wonder if a layer of small volcanic rock under the blasting grit would be a plus. Blasting grit is larger than sand though so possibly not even necessary for volcanic rock under it.

Great idea. Money saved on substrate=money to spend on plants!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 02:51 PM
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Blasting Grit is fine with Cories. I keep several species on it and prefer it over pool filter sand, for the most part.

The only sand that's really going to compact is play sand. It's not that attractive in a tank and I wouldn't use it. If you want to keep things aerated, consider Malaysian Trumpet Snails. (And before listening to anyone who freaks out about them - check some journals of those who keep them to see how beneficial they are.)

Blasting Grit isn't larger than sand. It's about the same size - if not a bit smaller - unless you go with the really large variety. No need to place anything beneath it.


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