The Planted Tank Forum banner

For all that use sand...

1482 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ShortFin
Just curious from all you sand users out there about your setups. I am considering either pool filter sand or if I want to go the black route (which I really do), 3M ColorQuartz S-grade (need the substrate to be fairly smooth for bottom dwellers).

I've seen pics and topics here and there about sand but not a whole lot of info it seems on long term success and the fine details.

So if you have had a successful planted tank using a substrate like sand or very fine gravel (anything that isnt really intended for plants), chime in with some info like what type of plants and how you fertilize. I'm curious about the use of root tabs on plants that are heavy root feeders (swords, crypts?) or if dosing the water column has been adequate. I'm mostly interested in those that maintain heavily planted tanks with co2 and moderate/bright lighting.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
I see, its a well kept secret then! :biggrin:
lol, of course not. i had a tank that use white beach sand i took from Bali as substarte. stem plants didn't have huge problems back then, but i have some issues with root plants. it seems like that if you use fine sand, there will be anaerobic pockets developing that will kill plants growing there. MTS helps a lot fixing the problem here.
I use 2" of; course 1-2mm sand in a tank with primarily foreground plants.
my Botia's love jamming their heads into it, and the plants are doing fine.
If I were to do it again, I'd probably first put down a dusting a pete moss.

I use powder ferts in my water column, and a few tabs for larger plants.
I'm running 4wpg but only DIY Co2 and Excel instead of compressed Co2.

I suggest you consider the T-Grade ColorQuartz, as the S-Grade may be
too fine. If you find an online source of 3M T-Grade in Black, let me know
because I was meaning to use that instead of CaribSea Peace River sand.
I replace the top layer, since I end up sucking up some sand when I suck out the fish poop that gathers. Quite unsightly. I wish I bothered to get some black sand, but nope, just got "regular" fine-graded sand, and I've got close to 50 lbs of it sitting in my garage.
ive used play sand from HD in all my tanks. Some have layer of flourite on top.
Thanks for the replies. I'm just trying to figure out what using sand will be like, as compared to a plant substrate. Anyone else have problems with 'root plants' in sand? I do plan on including various crypts, swords, and perhaps crinum and other rooting plants.

Spypet- not sure about any online dealers, there is just one dealer here in Ohio (cleveland) which I'm only considering since my inlaws are up nearer there and if I'm already up there cleveland isnt too much farther.

But its really tempting to just use some local sand, and probably a lot cheaper. Although all the ones I've seen at Lowes and HD seem to be very fine and very pale white. I've already painted the tank black and I just think black sand would really complete the look, but I suppose going the opposite route with white would probably be ok too. I havent seen any sand actually labeled 'pool filter sand' so maybe its a bit courser than the other stuff.
See less See more
Sand (coarse) would be just fine if you know how to play old school way. The rule is to stick to inert type (pool filter or 3M variety are quartz and they will do the job) and get those 1-3mm grade and never too fine.
Fine particle sand will be easy to become compact, hard for plants to live in and create anaerobic pockets over time.

If you go this route, the substrate will worth no nutrition, esp when not doing the el-natural way. This means old school base fertilizer method is necessary.

Base ferts (the one that you lay by the bottom part and cover them with your coarse sand) such as Denerle deponit, JBL's, Tropica's, Sera's to name some.

Supplement greedy plants with high quality root tabs so they will not seriously deplete resources from neighbouring areas. In my experience, just water collumn nutrition is acceptable, but adding supplement from the roots to such plants is even much better.
See less See more
My current tank has 100% sand from HD. I believed it was labeled silicon sand, size #10. It's been running great for 7 months now. My dwarf sag, crypt red, crypt green, and hygro angustifolia are doing well any without root tabs. I use the EI method with pressusize Co2.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.