03-14-2008, 08:11 PM
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I personally do not like using sand, although I do have one cichlid tank using a sandy substrate. Sand does not hold nutrients well, compacts easily, and is not coarse enough to provide substantial support for the roots.
My personal favorite is Eco-Complete for Planted Tanks. I have used both flourite and laterite. I even conducted a "mini study" using all three is adjacent tanks and found the Eco-Complete was far superior in promoting healthy plants. I also like the dark color as it tends to have a "calming" effect on the fish.
As for fertilizers, on my smaller tanks, those less than 90g, I use Pfertz liquid fertilizers, They come as a four bottle set which have the three macro ferts and one bottle for the micros. Great deal, easy to use, and best of all they work. Larger tanks use dry ferts. Another thing with pfertz company, they are gracious enough to help sponsor our forum.