Since the grain size is bigger than sand-IMO/E I think you will be fine-with regular sand-when it is over 2 inches-it tend to compact too much and this can cause anaerobic issues and make it hard for nutrients to reach the roots. Also, when you clean you will most likely remove small amount of sand....or at least I do when the sand starts to look dingy- will vacuum that top layer to brighten it up a bit or use a net...lol...
Beneficial bacteria are self limiting-you will only have colony numbers based on the amount of livestock-then you have dissolved oxygen and surface area.
With live plants the active plant growth will use ammonia first as their food source. Often with heavy planted tanks-it might take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we look for to tell us cycling stage/completeness. The nitrogen cycle is still happening but it is silent. The plants won't starve the BB- lots of different byproducts in the system for both.
Seachem is a good line of plant ferts.
Both MTS and assassin snail burrow
It is not uncommon for the sand bed or substrate to "burp"...its normal, as long as it doesn't smell like rotten eggs....
Last edited by Oldfishlady; 12-24-2012 at 02:22 PM.