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Fine Plant Substrate question

This is a discussion on Fine Plant Substrate question within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by shady07 The quikrete sand looks amazing in your tank byron. But what concerns me about quikrete play sand is the grain ...

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Fine Plant Substrate question
Old 07-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by shady07 View Post
The quikrete sand looks amazing in your tank byron. But what concerns me about quikrete play sand is the grain size. I wanted a carpeting plant like glosso to grow in the foreground, but would this be attainable using quickrete play sand (ie:would it take root in sand). I have a 36" Nova Extreme T5HO lighting fixture. It takes 4 T5HO bulbs which total up to 156 watts (which was donated to me by a good friend who used it for saltwater) and planning to run diy CO2.

I've read a lot of posts regarding sand for planted tanks and they all seem to be working fine. So i guess my question is; is quikrete play sand suitable for all plant species frovided the have good lighting, CO2 and proper dosing?
My foreground plants have no problem growing/rooting in my tank and I have sand. Infact you can see their roots pressed against the glass.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
 
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Yes, generally the finer textured the substrate the better the plants will root in it. In the tropics the substrate is usually clay/mud/sand or some mix of these. In other words, dense.

On the fixture, can you have only two of the four tubes light? Even with CO2 that is a lot of light. Over a marine coral setup, that's what one needs, but over freshwater that is bright.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #13
 
Cool cool, so i guess having regular play sand as a substrate is fine for plants. But i've read some conflicting reports that some plants cannot root in sand becasue the sand "crushes" the roots and they cannot "breathe". Is this just a myth or is there some truth behind this.

And yes i was also thinking the same thing with the lights, but thankfully having only 2 of the 4 lights is possible

Thanks again
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:55 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by shady07 View Post
Cool cool, so i guess having regular play sand as a substrate is fine for plants. But i've read some conflicting reports that some plants cannot root in sand becasue the sand "crushes" the roots and they cannot "breathe". Is this just a myth or is there some truth behind this.
I would suspect what the author/source means is the compaction of sand. Any substrate can compact if not looked after or if there is something wrong. And the finer the substrate, the faster this can occur. And if this does occur, it will kill the plant roots--you see it as black, as are the roots.

In the aquarium we can deal with this by not having too deep a substrate, by having a good complement of substrate-rooted plants, by keeping Malaysian Livebearing snails, and by poking or stirring the sand periodically. All of these may not be needed in every situation.

The poking/stirring of the sand I never do, because the other factors handle it adequately. The MLS burrow throughout the substrate, keeping it loose and "fresh," so water carrying oxygen is better able to percolate through it. And the tank water must be able to pass through the substrate. The plant roots assist by releasing a lot of oxygen via photosynthesis. As plants photosynthesize they release oxygen, but a considerable proportion of this is through the roots. When these are in the substrate, they feed oxygen into the surrounding substrate; various bacteria use this oxygen to further break down organics. Maintaining a not-too-deep substrate allows this to occur over more of the substrate, limiting the "dead spots" as they are called. These latter are actually essential however, provided they do not overpower the substrate.

Byron.
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