29 Gallon Black Sand And Soil

Discussion in 'Aquarium Aquascaping' started by spike98, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. spike98Valued MemberMember

    I plan on having a plants in my tank and read it is good to put soil in for the plants. I want to put maybe an inch of organic soil under a black sand cap. I was wondering how big the sand cap should be and what type of soil is recommended? I read for the black sand and a good brand is Estes also known as Stoney River. Additionally I have a 29 gallon and wonder for 5lb bags, how many should I get?
  2. endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    Here's a link to my favorite substrate calculator:  
  3. Silister TrenchWell Known MemberMember

    Personally, I don't like capped soil substrates for many reasons with the top being 1.) If you're the type of hobbyist prone to rescaping, moving hardscape or plants around, or even a thorough substrate vacummer, then it's almost a certainty that the soil and sand will mix in a short time and - 2.) if the tank isn't planted with enough fast growing plants, or plants in general, stirring the substrate and uncovering the soil releases abundant nutrients that, if not consumed, lead to high levels and algae. Skyrocketing nutrients levels for some fish and most shrimp is not ideal.

    Diana Walstad, who popularized this method for the most part, recommended using Miracle Grow Organic Soil Potting Mix in an article. I believe it is also recommended to have a 2 inch cap, but you'd be better off investigating this process on your own due to ammonia spikes in the initial month and other precautions.

    If I wanted a nutrient layer in my tank I would just place osmocote plus root tabs on the bare bottom before adding the sand, which would keep my new sand from mixing (which will happen eventually) while still providing nearly every benefit as a soil layer. Lots of people do the soil cap thing, myself included, but it's not what I'd ever try again.

    If you go that route just make sure to read up on the pros and cons.
  4. spike98Valued MemberMember

    I decided on trying root tabs as I'm new to planted tanks and believe this route is easiest to beginners and has a lower chance of me messing it up. Thanks for the advice.

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