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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Starting a new tank soon and I am hoping to use some fine sand that I love the look of in it.

I am looking for suggestions on specific, or types of plants to look for when considering what to put in it. The sand is very fine, so I am guessing plants that don't rely on a root system as much?
 

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Sand isn't a great substrate for plants as it compacts, doesn't have any nutrients and blows around real easily unless it's a courser kind.
Like mrbelvedere said, why not use the decorative sand and create a sand border around areas of your tank? There are some nice tanks that utilize this method, particularly some of Takashi Amano's tanks.
But if you must, I used sand when I first got into plants and grew amazon swords and crypts ok, provided you put root tabs in there. I also had some success with hardier, easier-to-grow stem plants like Wisteria. You could certainly use ANY floating plant or wood/rock-attaching plant like anubias, bolbitus, java fern or moss as they don't need a substrate.
 

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I agree with MrB and I disagree- mine would read more like:
Why not use pool sand for forground and soil master select for the areas you'll plant (what can I say? I'm cheap) Its a total PITA to keep them separate- you need to have some sort of devider to make it work, but definately worth it.

I do have a 20 that I set up a couple years ago 100% sand. I have grown a bunch of different stems and a hairgrass foreground (I do add root tabs) as well as anubias. RIght now it contains anubias, L. sessiliflora, najas indica, hygro poly. azurea and weaping moss, mayaca, can't remember what else. IT all grows. I've tried crypts and swords without sucess (isn't that funny that my experience is exaclt opposite other people's? I guess it goes to show you there is no "right" way that works for everyone)

I would recomend MTS if you're going to do a sand bottom. becasue there is no waterflow in the sand you can get pockets of anerobic bacteria in the substrate much more esily than you can with gravel. It will funk your tank up quick. It will discolor the sand, and it smelly and it can kill your fish so be careful.
 

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I agree with MrB and I disagree- mine would read more like:
Why not use pool sand for forground and soil master select for the areas you'll plant (what can I say? I'm cheap)
Lol, to each his own. I certainly couldn't afford ADA if I had as many tanks as you do.

Most stem plants will grow, and many will do wonderfully. It's just that they could be grown so much better. Plus, sand doesn't really hold a slope indefinitely. That's why I use a very thin layer of ADA sand inthe foreground.

If I didn't have plants I'd use an all decorative sand tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmmm, interesting suggestions, thanks!

I had a sand/aquasoil separated substrate before and it was torture keeping them seperate.

I was thinking though, would it be possible to plant the plants in a cup or some sort of container and then surround it with sand? What type of container would work and how big would it have to be, for say an Amazon Sword (since they have a huge root system).
 

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Hmmm, interesting suggestions, thanks!

I had a sand/aquasoil separated substrate before and it was torture keeping them seperate.

I was thinking though, would it be possible to plant the plants in a cup or some sort of container and then surround it with sand? What type of container would work and how big would it have to be, for say an Amazon Sword (since they have a huge root system).
It only works when you have a group of plants to keep it stable, like when you plant trees to combat erosion. Or, when you have a group of dividing hardscape, such as a row of rocks or carefully placed driftwood.

A small clay flowerpot would work fine. Any inert container will do.
 

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I've seen people make dividers out of really thin plexiglass, which bends easy and is easy to cut with a jig saw.
Someone here di it recently, and used hardware store suction cups to hold it in place. they cut a little slice in the top of the suction cup that they coudl push the plexi into so it couldn't move- now where was that thread.....


I did mine with window screen folded over a couple times and sewn together so the sand can't get though. It worked great for me.
 

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I think that was Unirdna's new 90-P. Plexiglass would work fine, and it has the plus of not allowing pesky runners through it, but I would worry about the Plexiglass showing through and being visible.
 

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Sand isn't a bad substrate for a planted tank. You can add bottom ferts (I use Tropica Plant Nutrition+ capsules and Tetra Crypto tablets), you can stir it once in a while to prevent compacting (and you can add Malaysian Trumpet Snails to help you). I have never had problems growing any plant I've kept. For example, see my old 38G with only sand blasting sand as the only substrate. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/photo-album/18356-38g-rain-56k-rest-peace.html

One of the great benefits of using fine sand is that all the small plants are way easier to plant and they will stay in the substrate better. Like HC and Utricularia graminifolia. Heavy root feeders will do fine too and will grow good roots.

Here's some HC grown in fine sand:

 

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fine sand

I love a fine sand tank. I've grown lots of plants that way. It is true that when I tried flourite with the sand my crypts finally spread, but they also grew larger than I wanted in some cases. Another thing, I had a beautiful tiny sword, a tropica I think, it was like a little jewel when it was in my sand tank. Now it's in my aquasoil-under-sand tank and it is doubling in size and turning brownish probably from iron. I liked it better before. So maybe your plants don't grow as big in sand, but this is not always a bad thing. Replanting or re aquascaping is so easy in sand, and it holds the tiniest clippings, and it looks great.
 
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