What is the minimum or good average inert playsand depth for a planted tank?
In a frenzy of activity on my tank, from discovering when I measured that I had less than 3/4ths of an inch of sand, to adding the rest of the bag of playsand to bring the tank to 3.75" in the back, approx 2 in the front, now I believe I have created a "deep sand bed" and can see a layer of black anaerobic activity forming underneath.
a) I am a little fearful of the anerobic depths even though I know that if it is left undisturbed it could, or even should, be no problem.
b) When the black layer finishes spreading throughout the front and side views, it will not look very attractive.
c) I hear that the anaerobic areas will consume nitrates, which is not desirable for plants to perform well.
Now, I really do not want to use any substrate other than playsand. I love my corydoras Sterbaii, and my "other half" does as well so I can't simply adopt them out and change to a better planting substrate. I have observed their barbels grow out over time on this substrate and I do not wish to take any chances with the decidedly mixed reviews of any non-playsand sandy substrate. I am happy with what I have now.
I don't have another tank nor the inclination to buy and cycle one in order to create a second tank for the sterbaii; my next tank purchase will be at least twice as large as my current 20 gallon high, and I will use Eco Complete or some such and not keep Corydoras in it.
So - Is there a recommended depth of sand, which a) will not have the anaerobic issues and b) still support healthy root systems? I wasn't even coming close to being able to properly root vals, sag, crypt wendtii etc in the previous depth and although the vals pop up from time to time, more and more of them are now starting to "grab" the sand with their roots and the crypt is growing great.
Thanks for any help because I would like to keep my current community setup and also plant it (with CO2 and EI in the next 2-3 weeks as parts come in), but not also be worried constantly about the "DSB"!
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