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This is a discussion on Beginner Plants within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Ok cool now i gotta compare prices and decide which I like more, sand or gravel. I also gotta figure out what plants Im ...

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Old 03-14-2010, 01:22 PM   #21
 
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Ok cool now i gotta compare prices and decide which I like more, sand or gravel. I also gotta figure out what plants Im gonna be using.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:04 PM   #22
 
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Substrate is very important for several reasons. Sand and gravel will both work, but I would recommend gravel for you, as I'll explain.

In a planted aquarium there is a significant biological process going on in the substrate. Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria live there and interact with the plant roots to break down organics into nutrients. The plant roots release oxygen to keep the aerobic bacteria alive. Water must be able to easily pass through the substrate as part of this, but not so easily that it affects it negatively.

A too dense substrate like sand has the risk of compacting because of the organics and plant roots. Gravel will also compact, but it is much less likely to do so. Which is why every plant authority I've read to date recommends gravel over sand, and some recommend soil with gravel on top, but that's another issue.

Fine gravel, grain size around 1-2 mm, works best. It is small enough to anchor the plant roots, allow good water passage, oxygen and gas exchanges, etc., and not too fine to compact quickly. Too large a gravel has the opposite effect, it allows too much water passage and bacteria don't have the best opportunity, plus plant roots do not fare as well.

You can buy gravel in bulk which is much less expensive. And in a dark natural colour. A darker substrate not only looks better, it is better for the fish that prefer dark substrates. Fish will be more at ease over a dark substrate and thus show their best colours. Black, dark brown, dark gray, or a natural mix works well.

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Old 03-14-2010, 04:01 PM   #23
 
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I can only speak for my own set up's over the last years with sand (play sand) and I have not had compacting issues. Put a few MTS in there and its all good, never had issues not in the old set ups under harder water conditions nor with e soft water now I just also decide on my substrate based of my fish/ inverts needs and some just simply don't do as well on gravel (even fine gravel) then they do thrive in / on sand.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:44 PM   #24
 
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Thanks for the info guys. Im probably gonna go with sand because im not too sure how easily itll be for me to keep the sand clean and not accidentally suck up the sand. Plus I think I like the way gravel looks more. I like the natural coloring for gravel.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:27 PM   #25
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeetrain View Post
Thanks for the info guys. Im probably gonna go with sand because im not too sure how easily itll be for me to keep the sand clean and not accidentally suck up the sand. Plus I think I like the way gravel looks more. I like the natural coloring for gravel.
A good plan I think [I'm assuming you meant "not" going with sand...]. Find the smallest grain size gravel you can, and inthe darknest natural colour. The dark substrate has a considerable impact (stress and behaviours) on many forest fish (tetras, characins, catfish) and they will not show their best colouration over light colour substrates. This is very important, and often overlooked by aquarists.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:39 PM   #26
 
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Yea I meant not gong with the sand. Now i gotta look around for the fine gravel.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:37 AM   #27
 
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There's actually 2 different fine gravel's found at chain stores right now both called "River mix" but one is more lighter/tan colors while the 2nd one is different darker brown tone rock - Being the different shades mixes as they are both of these look pretty nice.
The lighter tan version you can see here in this tank http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=1412
And for the darker version you'd need to give me a few more days till I have the 30g built lol
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:59 AM   #28
 
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Yea that looks nice. I think I might go with a natural brown mix. I'm probably going to get some today.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:57 PM   #29
 
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Lemme unload the Jeep I just bought the dark brown stuff for my 30g I'll be able to post pic's here tonight latest for ya I think the darker mix looks double as awesome as the mix I have in the 55g right now.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:27 PM   #30
 
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Here's a thread where I posted these 2 named gravel in one comparison picture (the one to the left/ lighter one is what you had seen in the link above in my 55g) http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...99/#post345295
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