Sand Substrate and live plants? Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by Huicho, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. HuichoNew MemberMember

    Hi fellow FLers! I'm new to this site and thought I'd give it a go.

    I've found all of your threads to be very beneficial. So far, I've learned that pool filter sand is quite the substitute for the the expensive stuff at LFS, and will be contacting my local pool supplier today. I have a 60gal tank with about 9 African Cichlids (Zebras, Electrics, and Peacocks) I've been running for 2 years (Cichlids for about 4 months).

    I currently use gravel and have a few live plants in there (Onion, lily, Italian Val). I know Cichlids are notorious for picking at live plants (no exception here) but have found that generally my plants do OK and give my tank a more organic feel.

    Onto my question: From the threads I've read so far, I haven't really heard anyone talk about using live plants in a sand substrate, particularly the Pool Filter Sand? Can anyone lend a hand to a newbie (to like me? Much appreciated.
  2. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    My plants seem to be doing great with flourite black sand. I don't have any experience with PFS though.

    EDIT: Oh yea...and Welcome to FL ;D

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  3. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I avoid plants in a sand substrate. I don't think of Flourite or Eco-Complete as sand as they need to be treated differently to how proper sand does.

    Plants can be grown successfully in pool filter sand but some extra maintainance is needed. The sand bed needs to be at least 2" deep, (preferably 3") so nitrogen bubbles will probably form in the substrate. Those nitrogen bubbles are poisonous to fish & need to be released from the substrate regularly. Usually by stirring the sand with your fingers every week or two. Because of the lack of oxygen in a sand substrate, anerobic conditions can form around the roots of your plants which can lead to the plants roots dying off & then the rest of the plant. You need to carefully stir the sand around the roots every week. Use you fingers for this so that you can feel the roots & avoid causing too much damage to them. Substrate fertiliser tablets are a must for sand substrate planted tanks. There aer no nutrients contained in the sand & because of the poor wate flow, liquid fertilisers don't penetrate to the plants roots.

    As long as you don't mind doing the weekly stirring & using substrate ferts, sand can be used quite successfully for a planted tank. It just isn't my substrate of choice. Worth noting for you that Vallis is one of a few plants that will often grow better in sand than in fine gravel.
  4. HuichoNew MemberMember

    Thanks so much Nutter for the highly useful info. This kind of info is invaluable. I'm doing biweekly water changes as well as shifting of my landscape as to switch up territorial fish so I don't so much mind shifting the sand a bit.

    I'll report back with my findings... :)
  5. Bulldogge16New MemberMember

    Every time I come up with a idea, or question in my mind that requires an answer, this site never fails to rise to the occasion. I keep doing generic Google searches and I always end up back here.
    This is the exact question I was looking for an answer to. I want to redo the substrate, with pool filter sand. Even though I dont want to have plants at this point in time. I wanted to make sure that I did not have to have another material underneath the sand.
  6. HuichoNew MemberMember

    By the way, my Pool Filter Sand is working just great. My live plants don't seem to miss a beat and my little Melanochromis auratus loves digging in this as does one my Zebras

    Gravel vac-ing is pretty easy as well. Sand doesn't go up the chute and leaves only the feces to go through the siphon. Thoroughly pleased with my $10 and 2 hour cleaning investment
  7. sik80New MemberMember

    i use pool filter sand and find that all of my plants are doing ok and showing growth after a period of settling in - they include: amazon sword, vallis spiralis, vallis gigantea and water sprite

    lots of people recommend malaysian trumpet snails for use with a sandy substrate as they move through the sand bringing the decaying matter down to where the plants can use it and also preventing gas pockets forming. i've just ordered a few from ebay for peanuts
  8. HuichoNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the suggestions Sik80. I'm looking on ebay for some now. :;snail
  9. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    most locally owned LFS have (or can get) MTS, they breed like crazy and are often hitch hiking on plants and substrate, so they are often seen more as a nuisance than anything. I've gotten some just by buying a small plant that had a few of them on it lol

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice