Originally Posted by MMAfish35
If I put the sand on top of the gravel I have in there, would it be better? I would think it would keep all the bacteria in, and make it easier on the fish. I don't have a lot of gravel as it is, so it wouldn't be overkill on substrate. Beaslbob, I thought sand was inert?
It is supposed to be. Some sand though is silica free tropical play sand and is actually calcium carbonate and does reace with water increasing hardness.
I just read that peat moss can cause really bad ammonia problems too. I'm not saying you are wrong, but just asking because I just read a different opinion. Thanks for the feedback.
I guess it depends on the peat moss you use. Some have added ferts for potted plants and therefore probably have ammonia. I use canadian sphagum peat moss at $13 for the large plastic bale.
see: Peat Moss from Premier | The Home Depot - Model 70976040
(notice at the bottom of the page a line 'fertilizer enriched---NO'.
According to a site in canada peat moss will actually retain ammonia then release it later. Don't know how that works in aquariums but it sure shounds like a good thing in a cycling tank.
The layering is to trap the peat under the sand so the tank is almost totally clear right from the start. Of course you also have to plant the plants before filling the tank for that to work also.
The pc select is here: http://www.proschoice1.com/products.html
It make for a nice red substrate in addition to being good for the tank.
I have not seen ammonia spikes with this system. but then I do let the plants work on the tank a week before adding fish.
Sometime I will get an initial nitrate spike which goes down to unmeasureable levels in 3 weeks or so.
After a few weeks and wtih high bioloads PH in all my tanks with or with peat moss are above 8 with the api high range test kit.
Of course none of this is cast in stone. Or even sand for that matter. I'm sure everyone has their particular favorite methods. That is just what works for me
and worth at most .02