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I preferr pool filter sand. It is super cheap 5-10$ It is generally light brown, and is easier than play sand to clean. Lowes has it and varous other major retailers in the usa. I highly preferr sand as opposed to gravel, and the colored sand I tried from the pet store sucked pretty bad as it bled off the color and was really hard to get clean.
 

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Sure it will sit on top, however it will sink into the sand somewhat and fertilize the plants. I don't really vac mine and it just seems to disapear. I do have mts snails, maybe they eat it idk? I'm semi new to planted tanks too, and I did try colored sand from petco, just didn't turn out well. This is a 29 gal tank and the sand for it costed like 7.50$
 

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Idk about that tank with the black sand- that is my fathers tank in a different state, he posts pictures in my image shack to show me rather than emailing them. Mine is the planted one- his is the fake decor one with the mean big fishy. I like little nice fishy like neons and cat fishes.
 
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