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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I have decided to upgrade my betta's tank from a 3.5 gallon to a 5 gallon. From the research I've done I decided that sand would be a good idea for this tank? Do any sand users have recommendations and advice? Will live plants live better or worse in these conditions? Any good/bad experiences with using sand? Please share your viewpoints with me!
 

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Hi! I have kept several planted tanks for the past year and a half and have often struggled with keeping plants alive, but recently am starting to do better. From research as well as from personal experience, the most important things are good lighting, good substrate, and some kind of good fertilizer (I just started using aquarium coop’s all in one fertilizer, I can’t tell you how well it works yet, but it has very good reviews and the company is reputable). The most success I’ve had with plants has been with larger grained sand (too fine can become compacted and cause the roots to have trouble growing through) and with substrates meant for plants - the substrates that have little round brown balls (I can’t tell you the name off the top of my head but can check if you’d like) as well as just with mixing sand and the brown substrate together. Another thing that can help regardless of your substrate is to add powder supplements on the bottom of the tank before you add the substrate or to put root tabs in the substrate below your plants. Good luck with your planting, I know it is hard, one website I have had success buying plants from online is planted aquariums central.
 

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Hi

I use fine gravel and root tabs, to set up a tank add 1/4 of the gravel you intend to use get about 5 or 6 Seachem root tabs crush them with a hammer till its all about the same as sugar and sprinkle over the substrate in the tank then add the rest of the substrate ( at least 2 inches ) now start planting.

I hate sand because if you catch a grain between your glass cleaner and the glass you end up with scratches.

What sort of plants do you have in mind?
What type of lighting do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi! I have kept several planted tanks for the past year and a half and have often struggled with keeping plants alive, but recently am starting to do better. From research as well as from personal experience, the most important things are good lighting, good substrate, and some kind of good fertilizer (I just started using aquarium coop’s all in one fertilizer, I can’t tell you how well it works yet, but it has very good reviews and the company is reputable). The most success I’ve had with plants has been with larger grained sand (too fine can become compacted and cause the roots to have trouble growing through) and with substrates meant for plants - the substrates that have little round brown balls (I can’t tell you the name off the top of my head but can check if you’d like) as well as just with mixing sand and the brown substrate together. Another thing that can help regardless of your substrate is to add powder supplements on the bottom of the tank before you add the substrate or to put root tabs in the substrate below your plants. Good luck with your planting, I know it is hard, one website I have had success buying plants from online is planted aquariums central.
thank you so much! I'll definitely take your recommendations into consideration. This helped a whole heck of a lot.
Hi

I use fine gravel and root tabs, to set up a tank add 1/4 of the gravel you intend to use get about 5 or 6 Seachem root tabs crush them with a hammer till its all about the same as sugar and sprinkle over the substrate in the tank then add the rest of the substrate ( at least 2 inches ) now start planting.

I hate sand because if you catch a grain between your glass cleaner and the glass you end up with scratches.

What sort of plants do you have in mind?
What type of lighting do you have?
ahhh i never took the scratch part into mind, I'll think about that. I had duckweed or normal salvinia in mind to float at the top, and maybe a java fern! I only have an LED light at the moment and I'm going to buy proper lighting soon, so if you have any recommendations please let me know!
 

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All my tanks have some sand in them. 3 of them only have sand, one has soil with a sand cap, and the 5th has part sand with gravel on either side. I've never had an issue with the sand scratching the glass, or anerobic pockets which is another issue some people have.

If you decide to use sand my 2 main tips are wash the heck out of the sand unless you enjoy the look of a sediment cloud and sediment to coat everything once the cloud finally goes away. In my experience, the sediment will always coat everything no matter how much cleaning you do. Yes, I did attempt to use sand, once, without washing it first. I can tell you how to wash the sand if you'd like. Second tip is to not have it more then 2" deep. The deeper the sand the more likely it is that anerobic pockets will form. Most people do not have a problem if the sand is less then 2 inches deep.

My plants grow fine in sand, since sand is inert I use rot tabs for the plants in the substrate, and a liquid fertilizer for the water column feeders.

Here's a picture of my 20 gal, it's a few months old and the plants have filled in even more since then.
1018318
 

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I have sand in all of my tanks and, like Rainbo, have never had a scratch problem.

While most areas in my tanks are 2"-2.5" deep sand, all have areas that are 3"-4" and I've never had anaerobic pockets. However, I never stir the sand so I never introduce "food" for the bacteria. Instead, when I remember, I use skewers and poke around a bit. Some people affix skewers or chopsticks to the end a piece of airline tubing so they can poke the sand each time they vacuum. I prefer airline tubing to regular gravel vacs.

Ultimately, you should choose the substrate that is most attractive to you. Betta are not bright-light fish so I would avoid white substrate.

Here's an article that might be of interest:
 

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Hi

, I use skewers and poke around a bit. Some people affix skewers or chopsticks to the end a piece of airline tubing so they can poke the sand each time they vacuum.
Sounds like an awful lot of work to me especially in my tanks, I prefer Malaysian Trumpet Snails for that, Of course MTS are not every bodies cup of tea however I think they are vital.

Can you imagine trying to vacuum the substrate in this tank?
 

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Hi



Sounds like an awful lot of work to me especially in my tanks, I prefer Malaysian Trumpet Snails for that, Of course MTS are not every bodies cup of tea however I think they are vital.

Can you imagine trying to vacuum the substrate in this tank?


As Malaysian Trumpet Snails only use the upper one-inch of substrate so they can breathe, they do not do anything in deep sand beds. And occasionally poking sand with a skewer is not much work. Takes maybe five seconds in a 20 long tank. Planting doesn't come into play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All my tanks have some sand in them. 3 of them only have sand, one has soil with a sand cap, and the 5th has part sand with gravel on either side. I've never had an issue with the sand scratching the glass, or anerobic pockets which is another issue some people have.

If you decide to use sand my 2 main tips are wash the heck out of the sand unless you enjoy the look of a sediment cloud and sediment to coat everything once the cloud finally goes away. In my experience, the sediment will always coat everything no matter how much cleaning you do. Yes, I did attempt to use sand, once, without washing it first. I can tell you how to wash the sand if you'd like. Second tip is to not have it more then 2" deep. The deeper the sand the more likely it is that anerobic pockets will form. Most people do not have a problem if the sand is less then 2 inches deep.

My plants grow fine in sand, since sand is inert I use rot tabs for the plants in the substrate, and a liquid fertilizer for the water column feeders.

Here's a picture of my 20 gal, it's a few months old and the plants have filled in even more since then. View attachment 1018318
oh wow i haven't checked the forum lately, sorry for the late reply but your tank is lovely!! tank inspo for sure. thank you for your suggestions!
 
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