Originally Posted by outpost
Thank you Byron. So it wouldn't be ok to use pool filter sand? I've seen guys with planted tanks on TFK with it. I'm pretty sure we do not have any places that sell gravel in bulk. I will aak my landscape friend though and see what I can find.
Would you have any suggestions as far as low tech plants to keep in my tank. I will be ordering from sweet aquatics.
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Pool filter sand usually has stuff in it, to keep kids healthy in the pool after all. Home Depot carry "play sand" which should be inert. I got some dark grey playsand last year from HD, finally used it in my 10g "experimental tank" in the window. Takes a lot of work to wash, but looks nice. Of course, with sand there are issues, like compaction. This is less of a problem with small-grain gravel. I am not meaning to sound conceited, but after 20 years experience I am trying sand for the first time because I think I have the "knowledge" to manage the problems, or avoid them (hopefully). I do not recommend sand to someone new to fish or planted tanks. I can remember the sort of issues I faced with my first tanks, and making that even more difficult is not something I recommend. One can easily become discouraged and give up, either plants (a shame) or fish (even moreso).
For plants, I would tend to avoid stem plants in general, with some exceptions. Reason is, these grow fast and need regular trimming. They also have slightly higher light requirements, and some will readily disintegrate; lower leaves frequently die off regularly. On the other hand, substrate-rooted plants (swords, crypts, vallisneria, sagittaria, aponogeton...) tend to stay as you plant them. Then there are the plants with rhizome roots that are attached to wood or rock and not planted in the substrate, like Anubias and Java Fern. Easy plants, low light, no fuss. And Java Moss will establish itself on rock and wood and look nice. Lastly, floating plants, the easiest to maintain usually. True floating plants like Ceratopteris; plus some of the stem plants are nice floating. I like Brazilian Pennywort for this; it is also one of the easiest stem plants as it tolerates less light, but still grows fast and needs regular attention.
Have a look at our plant profiles, the selection is still limited I admit, but you will get some ideas, and all have photos.