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RE: Sand in substrate

> At the risk of restarting the substrate wars, or even igniting a minor
> skirmish, I'm going to ask my question.  I recently had a conversation
> Karl Scholler (of Substrate Gold fame) about my 100 gallon I'm rebuilding
> after my recent move.  He suggested I use an inch or two of sand mixed
> laterite under 2-4 inches of gravel, stating that he found it was the best
> way to work with most plants, especially those that were heavy root
> like crypts and swords.  I'm interested in trying it out, but have
> about the sand compacting, putrification and the plants becoming
> As a bonus, I use Dupla's heating cables, and am wondering if there is a
> possibility the sand will reduce the theoretical circulation of water
> through the substrate via convection.  Any thoughts much appreciated.

I am using this exact setup (2"/4"). The plants have no problem penetrating
the sand at the bottom. I was hoping the sand might deter roots from
reaching the heating cables, but the crypts won the battle.

The heating cables still warm the water correctly. Saying much more than
that about substrate heating just starts an argument around here:)

Jon Wilson