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Sand and Miracle Gro

4268 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Cottagewitch
I know the sand is mostly inert and I'd have to use root tabs with it. But I have Miracle Gro Organic potting mix. What are the pros and cons of layering these two? How deep would the soil have to be and how deep would the sand cap have to be? If I used both, at what point would I expect to have to start fertilizing the plants because the Miracle Gro has been depleted?
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The demand is differant on every tank so things vary based on the plants, lighting, the entire bioload in general just like every other thing related to planted tanks. My choice was to cap with Flourite. It's got great CEC, it's heavier than other substrates like EcoComplete, turface etc. Sand caps can have issues over soil not allowing enough gas to exchange. I've read several threads regarding problems with sand caps.

My soil tank is still growing plants after 1 year 9 months without adding anything but new water and CSM+B on a regular schedule (ha ha 'schedule' really hit or miss on that too) About 1 to 1 1/2" soil and a 1" cap. HTH
I've had great success with a sand cap, all you must do is cover the whole bottom with plants and the keep the gas exchanged for you :)

Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk full carpet if using Miracle Gro
I've had great success with a sand cap, all you must do is cover the whole bottom with plants and the keep the gas exchanged for you :)
Regardless of your capping material planting as completely as possible is important when using a soil base.

There's a new soil tank thread here that the OP used sand as a cap and is now adding Flourite.
Ok...I finally chose. I used the last bit of Miracle Gro I had and it only gave me about 3/4". Will that be a problem? As for the sand, I'm going with pool filter sand. All the landscape and stone/rock yards didn't have "river sand".

So, my questions are:

1) Will 3/4" of Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix be enough or should I add more?
2) When planting, should I plant in the soil and then put the sand cap on after I finish or should I add the sand first THEN plant?
3/4" should be fine IMO.

I'd definitely add the sand and THEN plant. The sand will help hold in the plants. The Miracle Gro on its own is really, really light- even after it's fully waterlogged (which tends to take a while).

I've found that if you add just enough water to soak the Miracle Gro it will help hold it down and in place while you add the sand cap. Otherwise when you go afterwards to fill the tank with water you'll get a mess with air pockets under the sand.

Skim the floating Miracle Gro off the top of the water with a fish net, works pretty well.
Thanks for the advice!!!!! I just added some heated water. (I know when I use peat pellets for planting seeds that they absorb warm water more quickly than cold water.) We'll see how it looks in the morning to see if its ready for me to add the sand. I believe tomorrow will require a trip to the LPS to see what they have for plants. :D
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