04-04-2011, 10:01 AM
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well the problem isnt with sand turning black, its your feeder feeding too much... Sand is generally better for planting because of how fine it is, it is usually easier to plant plants in it.
You will need to vacuum all substrate unless very heavily planted, ie full lawns of plants. If you do have a full lawn of plants, then you wont vacuum anyway regardless of substrate so there really isnt a "low-maintenance" substrate.
In that regard, it really doesnt matter which substrate you choose. However, ADA AS does have more nutrients, so in that regard, it is "better."