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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I personally love the look of sand in my aquarium. Much better looking when compared to gravel, but I am not sure if my plants like it as much as I do.

Sand in general has a very small particle size (duh!). The small particle size allows it to compact, thereby decreasing the amount of nutrients and oxygen reaching the roots of the plant tremendously. Another "bad" thing about sand is that all that mulm (aka, dirt, fish crap, food, etc) that normally settles in the gravel of a normal aquarium, just sits on the top of sand. This mulm would normally provide lots of nutrients to the plants as it decompose in the gravel around the roots of the plant. With sand though, this doesn't happen.

Do the above "problems" affect the plants to the point that gravel is a better alternative? Does is depend on the grain size of the sand? Does it really all depend on the plant?

Just wondering if my pool filter sand is "hurting" my plants.
 

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I personally don't like sand for the simple fact that it goes everywhere that I don't want it in my tank, and gets dirty very easily. Having said that, I do think the look of "clean" sand is very eye appealing.

As far as for the plants, sand has a horrible CEC, so in order to get decent growth you should use root tabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
sand = :thumbsdow
Care to elaborate? :icon_wink

I loved sand when I used it.

Where are some keys to make the sand good for you.

1. Root Tabs
2. Trumpet Snails.

That is what I have heard: Tumpets and tabs are a big plus when using sand. I'll have to look into those trumpets more.

i love sand. the mulm can get ugly. but still looks better imho!
Same here! I am a little bit of a clean freak, so I vaccum all the crap up every couple of days. :icon_mrgr

I personally don't like sand for the simple fact that it goes everywhere that I don't want it in my tank, and gets dirty very easily. Having said that, I do think the look of "clean" sand is very eye appealing.

As far as for the plants, sand has a horrible CEC, so in order to get decent growth you should use root tabs.

Such a low CEC is a little problematic... Would adding dolmite help with that at all or?

IMO sand is nice looking but should be used as a cap to a good source of nutrients (such as dirt) - it is poor by itself for all the reasons you state.
That idea may work for some, but I have to rearrange my tank ever 3+ months. So, unless keep the substrate separate is as easy as breeding convicts, I think I am going to stay away.
 

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I tried sand in my 10g. It looked great for the first week or two. But IMO once it gets dirty there is no way to get it back to the origonal clean. I will be tearing down my tank this weekend and changing it out.
 

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I like my PFS. I've had friends that used other types of sand and PFS seems to have fewer problems IMO.

The grains are heavier, so if they sink fast when uprooting plants or if they get into your syphon. Also, PFS is processed to be more uniform and spherical in size than other grades of sand. As such, PFS does not compact like other sands, so no worries about releasing trapped gasses and water circulates much better through it.

On the down side, it was quite bright when I first used it. After a few months in the tank with peat running through the filter, though, it's a nice golden color.

Keep in mind, I don't have experience with other planting mediums. I've only ever used PFS. So this is just my meager $0.02.
 

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I loved sand when I used it.

Where are some keys to make the sand good for you.

1. Root Tabs
2. Trumpet Snails.
Pretty much this. PFS is great stuff. I use MTS to keep mine churned up and I've never had any issues with it. Fish love to pick at whatever food is sitting on it and my pleco loves to scoot along the bottom. Play sand on the other hand.....is the devil. I've never seen so much BGA in my life when I used that stuff, lol. Maybe I just had a bad experience.
 

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It depends on the sand doesn't it. I don't like the ultra white sand. It has the same feel as neon color gravel and the white sand getting dirty is a problem.

I have sand but it varied in size with a little small gravel mixed in like river sand.
 

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I love sand... I hate gravel.. Unfortunately I hate most of the colours it comes in.. So I either mix it to my desires colour... or take a trip to river and hope I find some...
The rivers near me are mainly rocks everywhere and trout.. sad lack of small fish and plants...
I find it easy to keep clean... A nice colour hides mulm pretty well and a really quick vacuum gets rid of it all... MTS help stir it... But I've found that a school or cories does pretty much the same thing...
I do think that root tabs help alot...
 
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