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another new tank.....

Hi folks.

I've gone an done it again.  No sooner are all my tanks looking beautiful
and growing wonderfully than I do something masochistic.

Anyway, I've got a 54 gallon with all the fixins.  However, this time I
decided to use sand instead of gravel.  I've read that some people do this.
However, I was reading May, 1999 edition of AFM last night, and before my
eyes went crossed, I chanced upon the article on filters by Vinny Kutty.

Now this individual writes that he puts a layer of "organic topsoil" mixed
50/50 onto the very bottom, then three to four inches of gravel.   I know
that there are others out there who add this as well.  I purchased 88 pounds
of washed play sand (surprisingly clean and the colour is pretty nice).
This sand is the easiest thing I have ever had to "wash".  And if I mix it
up a bit in water, it settles down within seconds!  I also picked up 40
ounces of laterite.

Now don't shoot me down folks, my body is still aching from moving furniture
yesterday.  As of yet I don't have the CO2 system for this tank. Maybe never
if it grows nicely.  It is sitting beside a window (north-north-west plus
balcony overhang) so it's going to get light, but no sun, plus flourescents
on top. Will I have a total unmitigated disaster on my hands if I add soil
to the very bottom, plus laterite and sand and then lots of sand on top?  I
don't want to have a super jungle but I'd like to get some 'normal'
vallisneria growing in it.  (As opposed to my 'abnormal' vals which now
measure 45 inches long!!!!  Someone has to tell these plants in "plantspeak"
that they were supposed to stop 13 inches ago!)  Also, I would like to add
Malaysian Trumpet snails.  My tanks that have these babies have absolutely
no mulm on their bottoms!!  Talk about low maintenance!!

There is a picture on page 74 in AFM with a tank that has vals and sag.
Looks good to me.

Thanks to you people I never vacuum my gravel anymore (thank you thank you
thank you) and I would not do so with this tank either.

Any and all advice will be welcomed.

G. Kadar