I use ADA AS because I can scape a lot with it, it is all 100% the same stuff, so when I re slope the tank, the design etc, it does not look tacky and mixed.
It has a lot of ferts in it. Might as well use both locations for ferts.
No good reason not too really.
Takes some getting use to, newbies can run into trouble there and with dirt/sand cap mixes.
Go with sand based on your goals though.
Later, consider something else.
I decided to take your quote because it seems to be well respected....and forward! Not judging, but I do find it funny how overly complicated we can make things. I've read thread after thread after thread. Everyone with a different opinion. To be frank, I think it freaks out the new guy....it did me.
I have tendencies to take my projects to the extreme quickly....and that's not a good thing. In this particular case, I wanted the "perfect substrate." No such thing, although I do think either MTS or Aquasoil will be my next venture. I've been trying to make a decision on substrate for over a week now, worried I would "fail" if I chose wrong.
Someone on this thread posted it best, for me at this time anyway, when the comment was made that aquatic plants are highly adaptive to their substrate....to paraphrase it anyway.
In other words most substrates are going to work for a planted tank, although some more convenient for planting, or minimizing fertilizer additives, etc....but regardless of our substrate choice, if it is mentioned in this forum chances are it CAN create beautiful planted tanks. Please correct me if I am wrong.
But thanks to many of you I'm going to stop over complicating things and just get the D*#N sand. LOL.
I really thought I was going to settle on MGO with a cap of some type...but forget it, although I'm sure if I used just a 1/2 inch and capped it with a few inches of Black Diamond Blasting sand it would be slightly better.
ANYWAY, I'm tired of searching.
I'm going to go with Black Diamond Blasting sand and dose it with Osmocote Plus.
Couple quick questions and its getting ordered.
1. What grade? Does it matter all that much for carpeting or are they all small enough? I've seen it range from Fine to Course, 4 or 5 grades total.
I was thinking about something simple like this...
2. I imagine no, but is depth an issue in any way with Blasting Sand...or ANYTHING inert? Hypothetically is 4 or 5 inches a problem? I know I would like to sacrifice a little height in the water column in lieu of higher lighting. Just trying to raise the PAR at the substrate level a little...
3. I'll probably need to buy two 50lb bags anyway, but for the purpose of using the substrate calculator below, what substrate is closest to the recommended grade of blasting sand...
4. How much osmocote plus do I need to add?
5. Anything else I should add to the substrate?
6. Most importantly....any tips on rinsing the sand first? I know I need to get as much of the oil out as possible. I've read people adding a touch of Dawn to the bottom of their bucket before they begin....
Thanks much for everyone's help. Believe me when I say I get something out of every single post. You have a great community here....
Time to go check out dry dosing threads.