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Re: Sand in the substrate... (with UGF plate)

samm wrote:

>I am considering sand in my new 55G tank and I have
>two questions:
>1.  I read the archives and am now quite confused as
>to  the brand and # to buy.  The only store available
>here is Home Depot.  Could anyone please specify a
>*brand* (I heard something from Texas???) and a #
>(also, what does this number specify exactly???)  Is
>there a difference in construction vs sand-blaster vs
>other sand???
The best sand I found in my area was in a pool supply store. 
It's silica sand used in pool filters, about $6 for a 50# bag. 
The Home Depot playsand is too fine. I think the krib has
an article about grain sizes.

>2.  For those who have a UGF (or RUGF) plate under the
>sand...how do you keep the sand from going down under
>the plate (is there a specific # on the sand..please
>specify brand).
>    I have heard of people using fiber-glass sheets???
>(where can they be purchased??? and please mention any
>specifics in terms of diameter of the holes and so
>    Others I have heard use a thin layer right bellow
>the sand which keeps the sand in place...anyone have
>experience with that???  what material do you use???

My tank has sand plus laterite plus vermiculite (all of them
with fine to very fine particles) on top of a Lee's UGF plate. 
I put a 1/2" thick layer of foam over the plate to keep the 
stuff on top. This foam can be bought by the yard in craft stores.
Note that I don't operate the UGF in the conventional way. I use
a very slow flow in reverse mode to provide circulation in the 

>Bonus question!
>do you find it better to cover the sand with a thin
>layer of gravel??? (especially for fish that like to
>munch on the gravel and play around...and also does
>the sand alone keep the plants rooted well--especiall
>if you want to do some re-arrangements...

I did that as well: a 1/2" layer of natural gravel on top of
the sand. IME re-arranging plants is easy; some of the sand 
will come up and mix with the gravel, but eventually it falls
back thru the larger gravel particles, so the whole thing is
more or less self-arranging. Plants root very well in that
medium and develop huge root systems.

-Ivo Busko
 Baltimore, MD