Sand or Gravel?

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timg

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I have re-posted this in this sction, since it relates to here moe than general:

My new tank, (Tank 9), should be arriving at the end of next week and I'm wondering about what I'm going to put in it. I am keen on the idea of a planted tank, but till now, haven't had much success with real plants and am wondering if this has to do with the substrate that I use.

The 100 gallon tank will be home for clown loaches, plecs, silver sharks and some other larger fish, such as angels that are going to outgrow my existing tanks.

All my tanks have gravel substrate now, and nothing to hold any nutrients for plants. This leads me to wonder if sand might not be a better option, although I am concerned that the inhabitants of the tank might start digging and cloud the water all the time.

I have read several threads referring to this subject, and there are views for both types of substrate, with lots of ideas as to how and what to use, but as yet, can't decide what to go for.

I would appreciate your input on this before I start setting it up. As yet, I haven't sorted out a filter system for the tank, but a sump is now out of the question, since I have no room for one anywhere, so internal filters will be the way forward. There's no hurry for this, other than it's going to look awfully empty for a while, and patience isn't one of my strong points. It's also going to be the center of attention, since this 8' tank is the one we will be looking at while sat on our sofa!
 

Butterfly

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I have sand in three tanks and really like it. I prefer pool filter sand since it's already clean and doesn't have to be rinsed
I gave eco-complete in one tank and gravel in the other eight
Plants don't grow as well in sand as gravel but with work and careful selection they will grow. My sand tanks have lots of rocks and wood with plants growing on them.
Carol
 

shollia

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From what I understand and have read, just sand on the bottom isn't very good for plants since nutrients won't be able to really get to the roots.
Now if you added in a layer or some sort of plant substrate... and then have the sand on top of that, so the plants roots will be in the substrate getting nutrients from it, then sand would be ok.
You could always try to find some small gravel though if you're still unsure
 

marek313

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I guess the best is suppesed to be substrate specific for planter tanks such as Flourite or Eco-Complete but I also read that they make a mess at first so I just used pea size gravel and my plants grow great. You can see my tank as it was couple weeks ago here:



Now my swords are going above the water and my tank is 45 tall so needless to say everything is growing fine. You can always use root tabs to add extra nutrients if needed. Sand isnt really good for planter tanks. It compacts overs time and plants have hard time get nutrients from it.
 

griffin

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i think sand is fine. it will compact over time, but only if you don't stir it up or have MTS to do that for you, and it really only applies to parts where there are no plant roots (as far as i can tell).

i personally have had no issues with using sand, but i don't have a lot of heavy root feeders, so that is something else to consider. i chose sand because it is sooooooo much easier to maintain and i like the look of it.
 
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Well folks, this time nature supplied the answer. The plants that I bought a couple of weeks ago decided they liked me, threw down roots and started to grow like mad!

I haven't changed anything, just put them in the gravel and hoped. I actually had some pearling this morning! My nitrates are dropping too, so I guess the problems are solving themselves. I'll just have to stick with gravel now, but when the new tank arrives, I think I will still go for sand, just to be different. It will be much bigger than the tanks I have now, and will not have small bottom feeders in it. (Saying that, I suppose BIG bottom feeders might stir it up even more!)
 
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