substrate- sand? sand mix? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question substrate- sand? sand mix?

hey.
as i keep planning this tank i would really like to do a sand substrate. it is going to be heavily planted but i would like to mix eco complete and a black sand..
any thoughts on this? i just like the sand look but am also thinking that the eco complete will help the plants because it contains a bunch of nutrients.

thanks again


-bill
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:22 AM
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Well, the sand will work its way to the bottom over time. So, if you want the sand to show, you'd be better off going with straight sand, IMHO. Substrates like eco, flourite, ADA AS, etc. are nice, but not necessary. Lots of folks use sand only and have very nice planted tanks. Water column fertilization works very well

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the sand will work its way to the bottom over time. So, if you want the sand to show, you'd be better off going with straight sand, IMHO. Substrates like eco, flourite, ADA AS, etc. are nice, but not necessary. Lots of folks use sand only and have very nice planted tanks. Water column fertilization works very well
water column reftilization?
im about to google it..

so the eco complete and flourite stuff isnt really worth the money?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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oh, is it just a way to fertilize the plants, so the plants pull nutrients through the water? the "root feeders" will eventually find it easier to pull nutrients thru the water as well?
i have just read that the eco stuff, can cause contamination cus of the water it is packed in..
i asked about sand in a fw planted tank somewhere els and thehy said no.. it willl suffocate the roots.?
how true is this?
i would like to get a almost white sand for the tank.. or a light brown.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:39 AM
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Yes, the plants can pull the nutrients from the water column. Those of us that dose ferts using methods like EI simply add them to the water column, where they circulate throughout the tank and are available for the plants. Plants can grow just fine in sand. In fact, some people here only use sand in their tanks (eyebeatbadgers is one, I think).

You can use a number of different sands. Personally, I would steer clear of white sand, as it gets dirty/shows waste very easily. You need to siphon it off almost constantly to keep it looking nice.

Mike


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, the plants can pull the nutrients from the water column. Those of us that dose ferts using methods like EI simply add them to the water column, where they circulate throughout the tank and are available for the plants. Plants can grow just fine in sand. In fact, some people here only use sand in their tanks (eyebeatbadgers is one, I think).

You can use a number of different sands. Personally, I would steer clear of white sand, as it gets dirty/shows waste very easily. You need to siphon it off almost constantly to keep it looking nice.
what would you reccomend? just a black sand then? it seems logical then not to use it.. althought in my saltwater tank my light brown/white sand looks very clean after oer a year..
i have googled the 3m stuff t and s type. and i cant seem to be able to buy it ne where. the s type is less abrasive, so better for bottom dwellers, while t being more abrasive not so good for those kinds of fish..
i have heard, i can go to homedepot and get sand. but with or without silicate? do they make colored sand?

any links? sugestions?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 03:01 AM
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It really just depends on the look you want. Don't worry about the silicates too much, as they generally aren't soluble in this form. If you really want black, you could try and find tahitian moon sand or flourite black sand.

Mike


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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It really just depends on the look you want. Don't worry about the silicates too much, as they generally aren't soluble in this form. If you really want black, you could try and find tahitian moon sand or flourite black sand.
color isnt an issue.. wheather a white/brown or black..
so if i went to homedepot and buy playsand.. of whatever color im all set?
anything i should look for in the contents or things added as a caution thing like it shouldnt have this or this in it for example..

one last question.. do u need antyhing below the sand like a eggcrate stuff. (its like a big checkered plsastic sheet) tht plants can attach to under the sand?

thanks again
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 03:19 AM
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You should be fine, as long as there isn't some weird chemical or additive listed on the bag.

I actually just bought some "all purpose" sand from home depot the other day to use in a new tank. I'd suggest washing it thoroughly to prevent clouding issues when you plant/move stuff around. I don't think you want to add the eggcrate if you are going to plant the substrate, as the roots will entangle with it and make it a pain to move plants around. I added it to my tank, but that's because I am planning to add a decent amount of rock (it's supposed to help spread the weight more evenly I guess), and I'm not really planning to plant the substrate

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 04:30 AM
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I've noticed an incredible difference in growth between eco-complete/flourite and sand. I started out with a mix of eco and flourite, got tired of it and switched to a mixture of sand and Sera's Floredepot. I must say that with the sand mix, the roots are showing ten times better growth.

From what I understand, these planted-tank specific substrates actually lose the nutrients as time goes on, and after about 6 months of use, you're left with expensive gravel that's not doing much of anything for your plants.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mpodolan View Post
Well, the sand will work its way to the bottom over time. So, if you want the sand to show, you'd be better off going with straight sand, IMHO.
What are you basing this on? Certainly true of flourite, aquasoil, etc. in my experience. But I've have a tank of eco and pool filter sand for going on two years now. Still a nice mix of black and white ... some large black grains go to the top, but Eco is pretty heavy. It doesn't 'float' up like flourite, aquasoil, etc.

I'd suggest the same. White sand instead of black. About 2:1 Eco:sand. You can see it in the background here of this photo of e. tennellus micro I just posted in SnS:
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 05:29 AM
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Well, mainly, I mentioned it because the OP noted that he liked the look of sand. Different substrates are certain to mix over time, so if one is going for a uniform look, mixing substrates won't accomplish this, IMHO. This is not to say that mixing is bad. It is just a side effect of mixing substrates

Mike


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 05:48 AM
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so if i went to homedepot and buy playsand.. of whatever color im all set?
I highly recommend pool filter sand. at hd or lowes outside with the pool stuff. larger, more uniform grain size, way easier to rinse, no compaction issues, no gas pockets etc etc. Pretty cheap too: $5 for 50#
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