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It’s reasonable to assume everyone will reject this view with statements about the benefits of live plants.

Seeing as this entire thread is about the benefit of various options specifically for plants, I see no reason to do so.

As far as sand goes, a 30" x 12" bottom requires about 40 to 50 lbs of unrinsed playsand to reach a depth of between 2"-3"... so I would say about 18 lbs per square foot of bottom depending on how deep you want it.

I suit the plants to the environment just like we try to do with fish and water parameters... although I have done some experimenting with mixed results and am about to change my lighting, I don't anticipate ever using CO2 in my current tanks.

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