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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
 
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Normal old sand

Is it possible to get away with normal old pool or play sand in a heavily planted, medium light, CO2 injected tank?

Or would I be better off using onyx sand, or by using a planted tank substrate where there are plants and sand only where there will be no foreground? If so, how do you get the sand to not mix in with the other substrate?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Should I put something like laterite underneath the sand maybe?

Anybody?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 03:15 PM
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I think sand alone would be a poor chose for the planted aquarium. It contains no nutrients and can not hold any you may add., Also sand compacts significantly, and that can be a problem depending on the thickness of the layer. Having said that I have used sand over shultz aquatic soil mixed with a little garden soil with great success. Plants with runners spread well in sand. I think as long as your substrate supports good root growth you can make many substrates work. I think your idea of sand over laterite would work. I recall others here having success with that. Just know that over time the two will mix in your tank.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 03:33 PM
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I know a handful a few people that have used sand with great results. Sure, it doesn't contain any nutrients, but diligent dosing of the water column and root tabs, where indicated, will adequately support plant growth.

My only issue with sand was that when I bought two batches of the exact same brand/type of sand, the first batch was inert and never changed my water parameters while the second batch made my hardness skyrocket within a matter of weeks...check the sand you buy!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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Well, lately I have been meeting more and more local planted tank hobbyists in my city on my quest to expand my aquarium plant collection. The one thing that I am finding increasingly interesting is there use of pool filter sand. Seems word is getting around about how well plants do in this stuff. And it is all the same cream colored pool filter sand that they are all using from the same pool supply shop. FWIW: Labelled as Granusil Silica Fillers and produced by Unimin Minnesota Corporation. What is especially interesting is that most of the setups have been up for more than a year and the owners claim to dose ferts only once a week and only traces, Lol. No pressurized or DIY c02 and not even any Excel dosing. Absolutely beautiful tanks with no signs of any plant nutrient deficiencies or major algae. And the samples that I am getting from that have good root growth and are a nice lush green color with good leaf and stem growth. Go figure. I am still scratching my head over that one.

Anyway, from what I have seen, I doubt that you could go wrong with pool filter sand if it is the right kind with the proper grain size.

For what it is worth, this is what I came across when I Googled Granusil silica fillers.
http://74.125.95.132/custom?q=cache:...70091971271392
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 06:05 PM
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I agree with epicfish but I will say that adding root tabs to the sand beneath the plants, I ended up with a blue green algae above where I put the tabs.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 07:34 PM
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Pool filter sand works good, but also has some sharp edges, so really isn't that good for cories, but one advantage, it doesn't take much cleaning. I prefer the blasting sand as its finer and the black contains iron. It does have a lot of dust in it though and takes a lot of rinsing.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:05 PM
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If you use only sand be sure to select plants that can feed from the water column. Crypts would not enjoy being rooted in plain sand
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 11:12 PM
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I have only tried watersprite and jungle val in sand. The vals spread like wild fire. Once in a while, a runner would start growing above the substrate, but they might be my pleco's fault.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 06:50 AM
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I have grown crypts, swords and others in play sand with no problems. The swords would outgrow my 75 gal. I would use jobe spikes broke into 1/3rds and put deep into the sand bed, didn't cause algae and the roots would grow all around the spike. I would put in new ones every 2 months.

This tank is done in playsand. has been running for about 4 months when I took the picture.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:08 PM
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Just normal sand. No root tabs. No anaerobic pockets. No peat underlayer. I've grown plants in this tank that had huge root systems, and they flourished, just like all the plants that are in the tank now. Plants can take in nutrients through the leaves in addition to the roots.

I've also kept cories in the tank when it had pool filter sand, and had no problems at all.

A tank with pool filter sand, and river mud underneath. I don't know the nutrient content of the mud I added, but the plants in this tank did just as well as the plants in the tank with plain sand.

As a final note, DO NOT use paver sand from Home Depot. Paver sand is for pavers! Not for fish tanks! It has a very nasty dusty film crap in it that you cannot wash away, and will not settle even after the tank has been set up for months.


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