Well, since my sweet Akira passed away from some undetermined illness, I am breaking down my tank to sterilize. I'm throwing out the gravel, the cave, most of the fake plants...pretty much everything that can't be properly sterilized, and starting over.
Since I'm starting over I've been contemplating going with sand (probably PFS) instead of gravel. I found that, no matter how much I vacuumed, I couldn't get all the crud out that was hiding in the gravel. Plus sand looks sooo nice. I've heard/read a lot of pros and cons for both. I think it will be easier to clean sand since it will stay on top, but I'm worried about how often I would need to stir up the sand to break up the gas pockets.
I've also been thinking it would be nice to have a couple of low light (my tank only has LED lighting, but it's near a window so it gets indirect sunlight), low maintenance plants. Is sand a good substrate for natural plants? I don't really want to have to have soil under the sand, since I'm still a beginner.
Any thoughts on plants that would do well in my aquarium? So far I've only been brave enough to have Marimos!
And lastly, I'm going to have to re-cycle my tank. Should I wait to have plants in there until after I cycle it, since they will be taking some of the ammonia?
Thanks so much for any suggestions/advice. I'm so sad about Akira...I miss him so much. I guess this is my chance to make a completely new tank for a future new friend.
Tank: 20 Gallon tall
Lighting: Marineland LED light bar (came with the tank/hood kit)
Location: Near a patio door, gets diffused/indirect sunlight in the morning
Tenants: Will have 1 Betta, with thoughts of adding a school of Cories in the future