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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I plan on converting my 45G tank from a gravel substrate to a sand substrate because I want to keep corys. I heard that soil substrate needs to be replaced after the nutrients run out, or you need to add stuff in, and I dont want THAT much responsibility/cost. So here are a few questions before I do so and any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

1) I love plants and currently have lots of, amazon swords, anubias, ozelot swords, Hygro Corymbosa, Water Wisteria. Will these plants grow in sand substrate if I continue to use root tabs and liquid co2?

2) Which sand substrate is the best? After research im getting that Estes is one of the best? Carib sea is good but too expensive and Seachem sand is really dirty?

3) If I wanted to do like 85% sand bottom and 15% gravel, kind of like a beach look, how would I keep the two substrates separate so when I vac it, it doesnt mix together?

4) Is there anything else I should consider?

THanks again everyone
 

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I don't have huge experience in the sand department, but I'll do my best to answer your questions.

As I understand it, the plants will grow okay in sand, though plants that like to anchor themselves through their roots will have a tough time grabbing hold of the sand grains if they are too fine. The root tabs will help, but the nutrients won't be absorbed into the substrate like some special inert gravel substrates (flourite, eco-complete) will.

I can't answer about what sand substrate is best. I would say go with what looks is best.

I tried mixing 85% gravel with 15% sand for a similar look. I have to say it was impossible to keep them from mixing, and if you're gravel vac'ing long term I find it highly unlikely that the substrate will stay separate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks overgrown. So the plants that I have, are they considered fine rooted plants?

That sucks to hear about the gravel and sand. I was hoping they sold some kind of flexible plastic screening or something to keep the two apart.
 

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IME as long as the sand does not pack too tight your plants will be fine. I think it is Carib Sea super naturals that I have in my cory tank, it is super soft and packs really really tight, my plants hate it. I've used pool filter sand in 2 other tanks and it works great, the color is a little lighter than i would like but for ~$10/50lbs I deal with it. Corys will also be fine on aquarium gravel, sand is preferred but not a necessity.
I've seen aquascaping videos where they use cardboard strips to keep the substrates separate during scaping then they remove it and fill the tank very carefully. Add a gravel vac and some corys to stir up the substrate and all bets are off. Maybe you could get some larger rocks to build the island, like small black lava or something that would sit on top of the sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks steamboat for helping me out. I just feel bad cuz my Corys barbels are all gone and they look like old men with no teeth. Does anyone know if Rams (German and Bolivian ) need sand substrate as well? or can they live with gravel
 

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Gravel is not a problem eco complete and others like it don't have nutrients added but hold on to nutrients from decaying food and fish waste,for thr swords who are heavy root feeders a root tab every 6 months or so is all you need.if you go sand pfs is used by many with no problems.
 
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