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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

First post here, all the way from New Zealand :D

I am thinking of swapping out my current sand substrate for Caribsea Eco-Complete to help out my plants after reading many good reviews. Even with root tabs and liquid fertiliser they just aren't developing well in the sand and their root systems seem weak and shunted, apparently this can happen as some find sand too compact as well as the obvious lack of nutrients?

My main problem is that I have Cory, and this substrate on its own isn't really suitable for them. So I was thinking of topping it with an inch layer of JBL Manado - with it being round and light the Cory should happily be able to sift through it without damage, and it keeps the red colour I am wanting. In theory as it's light it *should* also stay on top of the Eco-Complete rather than mix or sink to the bottom, I think??

Thoughts? Is there a better option I haven't considered?


Thanks! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How have you managed success with sand and plants?

I find none of mine like it for very long, new plants start ok but within a couple of months deteriorate. Lighting is medium and plants are all low-medium light plants. There's JBL 7+13 balls in there and I dose with Seachem Flourish Comprehensive weekly after each water change.

I have had a bad run with blue-green algae/bacteria the last couple of months and I think that's really affected some plants, although they weren't looking great before that. I also did a full tank antibacterial/fungal treatment last year and that killed some plants and left most looking worse for wear and none really recovered, I wonder if there's still remains left of those chemicals in the sand?
 

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First of all it will help you to understand that it is not the sand your plants "dont like for very long" but some other condition.

What that is could be a million things and there's very little info to go on.

However, a couple things that do stick out to me are

Not sure what jbl 7-13 is, but you have to be careful using non aquarium brand fertilizer products. Many are ammonia or urea based which can make for a volatile situation if not applied properly.

Flourish comp only contains micro nutrients (trace elements and iron) it does not provide any of the 3 main macro nutrients which plants use the most of. These are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. It does list these ingredients but the amounts are negligible.

Doubt there's any chemicals left in the sand from the algae meds.

Cyano is a sign that everything isnt kosher in the first place, could be poor flow, poor filtration, lack of nitrogen or other nutrients, plants being in a general state of ill health, dirty conditions, just to name a few. In other words cyano was another symptom that things werent right, not the cause.

It sound like you probably have appropriate lighting. It may be best for you to do a little more research on fertilizing a planted aquarium and possibly address filtration issues. Again this is based on very limited info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First of all it will help you to understand that it is not the sand your plants "dont like for very long" but some other condition.

What that is could be a million things and there's very little info to go on.

However, a couple things that do stick out to me are

Not sure what jbl 7-13 is, but you have to be careful using non aquarium brand fertilizer products. Many are ammonia or urea based which can make for a volatile situation if not applied properly.

Perhaps you haven't got the JBL brand of products over there? They an aquarium specialist brand, and the 7 balls are a slow release root fertilizer ball/tablet for tropical plants

Flourish comp only contains micro nutrients (trace elements and iron) it does not provide any of the 3 main macro nutrients which plants use the most of. These are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. It does list these ingredients but the amounts are negligible.

I always understood this to be done specifically to reduce the likelihood of resultant algae blooms commonly caused by excess of particularly nitrogen & phosphorus? Should they be added in addition?

Doubt there's any chemicals left in the sand from the algae meds.

The blue colour stain remained, so there's still something, but by now it could be inactive anyway. Although that's where things definitely first started going downhill and never picked up again

Cyano is a sign that everything isnt kosher in the first place, could be poor flow, poor filtration, lack of nitrogen or other nutrients, plants being in a general state of ill health, dirty conditions, just to name a few. In other words cyano was another symptom that things werent right, not the cause.

Yea been trying to work out what the issues is and why it's showed it now. Nothing I can think of has changed other than moving house but everything in the tank, the systems and the water source is the same

It sound like you probably have appropriate lighting. It may be best for you to do a little more research on fertilizing a planted aquarium and possibly address filtration issues.
Flow & filtration *shouldn't* be an issue, although I have heard that this is a leading cause of the cyano. It's a 150L tank, medium stocked with plants and fish and running a 1200L/hr filter that provides surface agitation along the length of the tank. I test key parameters regularly and they are always good (0, 0, 10-15). Fertilising was something I was hoping the substrate change would help with by giving the plants more consistent nutrients as well as possibly a better substrate for their root systems.
 

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Corries will help nutrients penetrate into sand by sifting through it.

Thing is, if you go over half inch of sand, the blue stuff will follow shortly.
 

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Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential macro nutrients. Even in excess they DO NOT cause algae. Not having enough of either one certainly will though. Thriving plants and a clean tank deter algae. Any condition that that stalls plant growth will cause it.

More info is needed to get further into what may be the problem, and pics. But it is not the sand substrate, especially if you are supplementing with root tabs.
 
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