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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Hankj, these are my observations after 20+ years of substrates including fine gravel, pea gravel, play sand, and Flourite (Seachem's "enriched" plant substrate in black).

To the initial question of the plant rooting. There may well be other factors here, as the lack of roots and disintegrating lower stems suggests. Leaving this aside, most stem plants will root easiest in fine gravel or sand.

To the issue of types of sand. But first, the fish should determine the substrate, if any in this tank have substrate-related needs. Substrate fish such as corys should always have sand. Loaches can be sand or fine gravel, depending upon the species. Most cichlids are best with sand, as they feed from the substrate, or fine gravel or pea gravel for the larger Central American species works.

Now to sand types. I was disappointed with the black Flourite on two counts. First, plant growth was not improved over my sand and gravel tanks. Second, every spec of detritus and "stuff" showed up. Third, this is too sharp for substrate fish or cichlids.

I use play sand, now in 6 of 7 tanks, the 7th has fine dark mix gravel. These mixed sands and gravels hide detritus, and in the case of play sand the appearance is near identical to many Amazon streams, so it is natural.

Other types of sand can work, but be careful of the roughness. Play sand is made for kids to play in, so it is probably about the best you can get on this count. Now, before others jump in, I'm not saying all pool sand, etc is rough--but some of it is.

Byron.

I did trouble shoot with a friend today in person and he gave some suggestions as to why the plants weren't rooting. I only have danios, snails, shrimp and guppies in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I used "Black Diamond Blasting abrasives"; which I purchased at Tractor Supply for $8 a 50 pound bad. There are different sizes from extra fine to extra course. Get which is best for you.

I like this idea. Have you used this with plants? Also, what size do you recommend for plant growth and for fish waste to hide?
 

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Actually what I do is to direct a fan at the bag and pour moving just beyond where the fan blows the sand. Only the dust is blown. Then I rinse it once, pour into the tank and put a plastic bag and dim
Miner plate on top of the bag. I then gently pour the water on the plate so the sand is not disturbed.I don't use the filter for about 24 hours so much of the silt comes to rest. After hooking up the filter I clean it after a day or so.....never had a problem - yet!
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Hose and bucket.

A couple of pounds in the bottom, blast with hose, pour off crappy water.

Repeat until the water pours off mostly clear.... I've done as many as 15 times but the law of diminishing returns applies after about 6 or 7.

Dump sand into another bucket and peat with another batch until you have enough for the tank.

I can stir up the sand in my tank and have nothing cloud the water. I even scoop some up at the front and dump it in the back, trying to keep a sloped grade, and still nothing much gets into the water... other than a bit of mulm but that's not really from the sand.

Jeff.
 

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With all filtration off; will the "dust" settle after 10/12 hours?
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It depends on how clean it is to start. Even with all the rinsing that I did there is cloudiness on the first fill up, particularly after planting and scaping while water is in. I just siphoned off all the water and refilled it so I didn't wait for it to settle. It will, eventually, but the finer the particles still in the sand, the longer it will take to settle. After 12 hours, whatever is left in the water won't hurt a filter impeller, there is enough clearance in those, being a centifugal pump, to handle that.

I think I implied that it was just the rinsing that lets me have clear water even when playing in the sand, thats not completely the case. Once the tank is full, whatever fine stuff is left in the sand eventually settles into the bottom of the substrate layer, the cleaner the sand is initially, the quicker this happens. I look at my sand now and it looks a lot courser than it did when initially put in due to this settling. That is one reason not to got stirring it around, although, like I mentioned, I can do that without any cloudiness at all now.

Jeff.
 
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