Sand vs Gravel

Ejack

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22 Jun 2008
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Berkshire, UK
Persoanlly its up to you, and what you preffer, but should you opt for sand, consider maybe sticking a layer of gravel as the base layer then sand on top of the gravel/substrate, so that your plant roots have something to 'hold on' to.
 

Dan Crawford

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21 Jun 2007
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Daventry, Northants
I've always been a gravel player and i still am although planting into sand is a veritable treat! When i had an exclusive sand substrate i did get a few anaerobic spots but it was a new tank with very slow growth and very few roots so i suppose thats expected. I probably get/got anaerobic spots in my gravel it's just that i can't see them.
I did find it hard to keep clean of detritus with a heavily stocked tank and would have gotten away with much more if using the old faithful Unipac black 2-3mm gravel :D
 

tennis4you

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Thanks you two.

As I browse this forum I see more about other kinds of substrates. ADA stuff and things I have never even heard of. Are they vast improvements from gravel?
 
Joined
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Dorset, UK
things like Aquasoil or Ecocomplete arent inert substrates like sand or gravel.. they contain nutrients which last for xxx amount of time. They can also effect the water such as softening and adjusting PH.

Because of their more dynamic properties you can use them to accomplish various tasks in the tank, together with providing a 'custom built' planting media.

They are however expensive compared to inert substrates, but then they do more for your money!

Ive run with sand for ages and ages, and Ive recently just changed to Aquasoil.. and I have to say, Id not go back.. its amazing stuff! I think its budget dependent.. a substrate of sand for my tank would have cost about £10, ADA Aquasoil cost me £80.
 

sanj

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10 Apr 2008
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Coventry, UK
Ejack said:
Persoanlly its up to you, and what you preffer, but should you opt for sand, consider maybe sticking a layer of gravel as the base layer then sand on top of the gravel/substrate, so that your plant roots have something to 'hold on' to.

I have usually found this a little messy in that the larger gravel peices eventually mix with the sand. The smaller grain always sink down over time. In a similar way in Eco complete the larger grains settled on top and the smaller ones form a lower layer over time.
 

Wolfenrook

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30 Apr 2008
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West Midlands UK
For me it depends on the gravel or sand. The sand in my axlotl tank is play sand and has a fairly large grain size and was fairly easy to plant. The sand I recently put into my daughters new aquarium is another brand of play sand and is WAY to fine! It's like trying to plant into dust, and plants just pull straight out of it with no resistance at all.

Gravel is good if it is of a nice small size of about 1-3mm, over 3mm and it is too large for me making it hard to plant. It's also tough on your fingers when planting (not as big a problem using tweezers, but some plants are too big to plant with tweezers. lol).

These days if I was going for a 'plain' substrate I would go for one of the rounded baked clay type ones to be honest, they are much kinder on your fingers and give plants something nice to anchor into.

I've just started planting into some eco-complete in a shrimp tank I am setting up though, and I have to say it's the nicest stuff I have ever planted into (so far) as the grains are small but not powdery, and it has a dark black colour that I really like a lot. If you get eco-complete though ignore the 1 bag to 10 gallons that some shops say, I reckon at least 1 1/2 bags per 10 gallon is more like it, as 1 bag doesn't give the depth that I prefer. I know that ADA AS is superior, but I don't like the look of it much, hence I went with EC.

Ade
 

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