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


I also have a 55 that I use for some apistos (pH 6.4), and I have an 
undergravel filter with a wet/dry as a second filter. (converted from salt 
water a few years back)  I had about 2 inches of "Texblast" blasting media, 
I think it was "00" in size, I don't remember for sure.  On top of the 
coarse blasting grit, I had "Playsand", that I purchased at Home Depot, that 
was at the least 1" thick, and in the rear of the tank the way it was 
layered, it was about 6" deep.  I had a variety of plants from java moss, 
and java fern to Crypts, and several Apon bulbs including a nice lace plant.

I never could get the plants to do very well, so recently I have been 
reading the archives at "The krib" and here on the list.  I had convinced 
myself from what I was reading that I needed to use flourite or some other 
substrate to provide a good source of iron to the roots.  Because of the 
amount of substrate I already had in the tank, I decided to remove the top 
2" of sand/gravel, and replace it with flourite.  When I did that, I 
discovered something very interesting, atleast to me.  The apon bulbs roots 
had all turned brown and were even nonexistent in some cases.  The playsand 
packs quite densely around the bulbs.  The crypts however were doing quite 
nicely in the roots, and some of them had runners out quite a distance and 
were putting up new plants although small.  Watersprite, hygrophilia, 
cabomba, and hornwort would rot the stem in the substrate and need to be 
reattached to the ground periodically.

I don't have enough information to tell you if what I have done in the 
substrate is effective, and this is a snapshot from a guy that is learning 
by the seat of his pants and whatever info I can read here and there.  In 
the last month, I have started using "Flourish" by seachem, upgraded my 
lights to 2-40W Triton bulbs and a Vitalight, and just this week did the 
substrate change.  In the last week I have noticed new growth on several 
plants including the Lace plant, that has a nice dark green color to it.  I 
haven't seen that in quite a while!  I also like the color and look of the 
flourite.  In the next few months, I plan to add a CO2 unit, but I want to 
have the mineral level and light balanced first.

For the bonus question, my fish loved the playsand for sifting through, and 
I left a small area in one corner for them to continue to do so that still 
has a couple crypts planted in it.  I also keep some of my oak leaf 
substrate there as well.  They love hiding in that stuff too.  They don't 
pick or sift through the flourite, it is a little large for that, but they 
do all go to the "Sand pit" to continue their foraging activities.

I hope this helps, and I am looking for correction or suggestions as well!


<------Samm wrote----->
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:05:53 -0800 (PST)
From: samm <wmaster26 at yahoo_com>
Subject: Sand in the substrate... (with UGF plate)

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???

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???

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...

samm  Los Angeles

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