03-25-2008, 10:43 PM
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I like black gravel in a heavily planted tank because it is less obtrusive between the leaves.
With that said, I kept a tank for a while that hand a semicircular beach of coarse white sand in the from and natural river pebbles for the rest of the substrate, and it worked really well. The sand (this was all purpose sand sifted through a large screen strainer, so I ended up with 1/4 fine gravel/coarse sand which I used here and 2/3 play sand which I used in a cory hatching tank, and 1/6 fines that rinsed out.) stayed clean for the six months I had the tank set up.
I would love to do a betta tank sometime, say a 25 gallon cylinder with black plastic plants, white gravel, some washed anthracite coal set up as a cave, a veil tailed albino bristlenose, and a veil tail red male betta (sponge filter shooting bubbles up a white PVC tube up the middle with the heater hidden in it and slots for the outflow at the top.) Maybe a small shoal of harlequins or flame tetras. Ideally this would share water with a 75 gallon heavily planted tank, I suppose, to keep the nitrates down.