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new tank is pearling

I had an extra 5gal tank that I had just cleaned out, and I couldn't decide
on what to do with it... then I started looking at some of my clippings from
my main plant tanks (that I was going to give to one of my friends, but they
never showed up to get them.)  I decided that I would throw the clippings in
the 5 gallon w/ no filtration or fish (aside from a single male betta) and
let them multiply (the clippings were from Cambomba and H. polysperma).  I
put a layer of play sand in the bottom of the tank, filled it w/ water,
added the plants, added a 1/2 tsp of dolimetic limestone, and about 5ml of
Flora-Pride, and a teaspoon of 30-2-5 fertalizer pellets.  I added Mr. Betta
and some bbs (for dinner)... put glass top over it and stuck a florecent
light over it (an 8w cool white bulb in old fixture that I got from a flea
market for $0.50)...  that was at 5pm this afternoon... about 8:30 I walked
by the tank and suddenly noticed that the plants were bubbling like mad.  I
had only seen this in pictures... I have been trying to get my two main
tanks to do this for the past 9 months (to no avail) and then I just throw
some stuff in a tank and it suddenly starts pearling!!!  Anyone want to tell
me what made these plants pearl in this 5 gallon tank when they won' t pearl
in my 29gal tank w/ 160 watts of light, CO2 injection, and a peat/sand
substrate?  Thanks, Daniel