Sand over Saf T Sorb? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-22-2014, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Sand over Saf T Sorb?

I'm about to set up my first planted tank and am thinking of using Saf-T-Sorb as a substrate with a cap of Pool Filter Sand because I like the look of sand. Do I need to worry about the sand settling to the bottom of the larger Saf T Sorb? are there any tricks to keeping the finer and heavier sand at the top? Is putting sand over Saf T Sorb a bad idea?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Farm Fish View Post
I'm about to set up my first planted tank and am thinking of using Saf-T-Sorb as a substrate with a cap of Pool Filter Sand because I like the look of sand. Do I need to worry about the sand settling to the bottom of the larger Saf T Sorb? are there any tricks to keeping the finer and heavier sand at the top? Is putting sand over Saf T Sorb a bad idea?
I personally think it is a bad idea. The only benift of Saf T Sorb is that it will hold whatever detritus there is in your tank and place to breakdown and allow for a nice bed of nutrients that your plants can use. The pool filter sand will prevent this from happening to a greater degree than if it were not there. Also the sand will settle into the Saf T Sorb. Quite possibly leaving you with something that you will hate.

How big is the tank?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 01:53 AM
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You can put a cap of sand over Safe T sorb. Nothing wrong with doing that. Sand settling through to the bottom is mostly dependent on how much you disturb your substrate. If you plant your plants and then leave them and aren't constantly pulling them up and disturbing substrate, the sand will stay on top for a long time.

In my experience you have to jostle things around to get the sand to settle. Will it eventually happen? Yes, but it's not like its going to happen overnight a week after you set up your tank. Think at least a year, probably a lot longer than that. When you do notice Safe T Sorb coming up just add more sand in those spots.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 02:20 AM
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with a fine grain caping over a coarse one the smaller will always sink below to the lower layer exposing and mixing. Consider using partitions and using sts in the rear and sand in the foreground. that is going to make maintenance significantly easier.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 02:57 AM
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Been there, done that.
Won't work.

PFS and Soil Master Select (same as Safe-T-Sorb) in 40 gallon breeder.
Sand sifted to the bottom, SMS was all over the top. There were some blended areas, but nowhere did the sand stay on top.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Thanks for the advice, folks. It does seem to me that settling sand would be a problem. Give that this is my first planted tank, I expect to do a lot of planting, moving things around, and generally messing with stuff. Maybe I'll start with just SafTSorb and save the sand for later. The STS doesn't look bad in it's own, but I thing the mix would bother me.
The tank is a 75 gallon Sea Clear System 2, with the built-in sump in back. I got the aquarium from Craigslist and am trying to set the whole thing up on the cheap. Bought some 24" T5 grow lights at a yard sale and plan to use decorative rocks and wood from the back yard.
I would guess that pool filter sand on its own doesn't make a good substrate for plants. Is that right?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 08:52 PM
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PFS is not too bad, but it cannot hold fertilizers the way that STS does. Sand (any sort) has no cationic exchange capacity. I have used several forms of montmorillonite clay, and these tanks work really well. They hold a nice reserve of fertilizers so if I skip dosing the plants are OK.

I like the look of STS. The blend of soft tans and greys looks really natural. The PFS I can get here is too glaring, for me. Too close to white. (It is off white, few black specks)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2014, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again. STS it is.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2014, 12:50 AM
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Ive used PFS and root tabs and plants grew, i have a 20long with STS and i dose dry ferts on sundays and mondays only and i love this substrate. Only id say is clean it first otherwise ur tank will be dusty for awhile. But the stuff is awesome.


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2014, 04:54 PM
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I have a somewhat related question...if I may. I am growing plants in PFS and things have gone quite well dosing EI. My stems get pretty "rooty" higher up but I understand that is normal. However my low Crypts send roots straight up above the sand rather than down which just looks weird lol. They are growing and look great. I am to the point where I have started using root tabs and actually purchased some Osmocote to make my own. I can't help but keep wondering though if I would benefit more from adding or *gasp* replacing the substrate. As much as I hate to think about ripping the tank down...I dread even more trying to track down a bagillion Endlers, CPD, and some others. Would it look terrible to add the STS on top of the sand? I guess I don't care if it mixes I just want the nutrient holding properties. My sand isn't super deep maybe 2"? I used one 50# bag on a 40B. I like the ease of planting/moving plants in sand but like I said I'm at that point where I feel like I should be feeding the plants better at the roots.
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