What Cap For A Dirted Tank?

LeviS

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Hey all,
I am setting up a 20 gallon long aquarium and wondered what sand (play sand, regular sand, black diamond blasting sand-medium grit) I should use. My 37 gallon tank is dirted and I used pea gravel( river gravel to be exact ). It’s doing good but I noticed during planting that it sometimes releases dirt particles into the water column. As far as fish I eventually want to add blue rams but I also love Apistogrammas. I just want to try sand since I’ve done the rocks to see my preferences. Pool filter sand is out of question since it’s $25 for 25lb bag where I’m located. If I wanted to spend that I would have went with a brand substrate. I ordered a SunBlaster T5HO light for this tank. Any input is appreciated.
 

candiedragon

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I've only experience with play sand which has worked well for me thus far. You gotta clean it good a couple times before you get it into the tank and even then the water will be cloudy for a couple days, but I find that it settles pretty well and does not stir much even when I've uprooted plants to transfer into another tank. Maybe someone can share their experience on the others you've mentioned.
 

TankGeek

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Play sand will likely compact too much due to its small grain size. Any coarse sand should do, pool filter, diamond blasting sand, Etc.
 

Annie59

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I use the black diamond sand. Any kind of sand or gravel you use will let some of the dirt up when you plant or remove plants. I just let it settle back after planting, never hurts anything in the tank and I've done it for years.
 

TankGeek

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I use to use some netted fabric, such as laundry bags cut open and with the zip cut out, as a cap between the dirt and gravel. It prevents the dirt from coming up through the gravel, however, once plants rooted through the netting they could be difficult to pull out and move, especially plants with large root systems like amazon swords. It's best used if you know you won't be moving things around much.
 

galaxy5

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I use gravel mixed in with the dirt, then pea gravel on top, and a fine layer of regular play sand at the very top and that sand layer works good to block the dirty soil and the gravel mix/sand adds aeration. The gravel mixed in with the dirt is larger 1/2"-1" gravel at lowe's. I also mix sand in with the clay soil that's my dirt (clay holds together better). From the side the total height of EVERYTHING is 3 1/2", and probably had almost an inch of soil mixed in with that larger gravel, and the dirt/larger gravel layer looked like a gravel bed before I capped that with the next layer. Also, in that 1/2"-1" gravel bed mixed in with soil I also added lowe's pond gravel, some mixed in.
 
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