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Plants in sand

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I'm looking to put sand in half of my 29 gal and leave the rest eco complete (the substrate already in the tank). Has anyone had success with plants in sand, if so what kinds? I was thinking replanting my crypts, as they are undemanding, any other suggestions?

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I would say if your planing on planting stem plants in sand I would suggest to add root tabs. This will add the nutrients that your plants need. It depends how old your tank substrate is too, if its a few years old and is full of fish poop your plants will do fine in a sand substrate without root tabs.

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Hello @Siett88. I have pool filter sand in my 29 gallon for maybe 3 or 4 months, and added a wide assortment of plants ordered from Aquarium Co-Op a month ago. My Cryptocoryne wedtii really seems to be doing well (growing faster than I expected and even sending runners all the way to another side of the tank.


My Vallisneria and dwarf hairgrass are established, but just starting to send out runners.



My dwarf aquarium lily does perfectly fine (don't bury it at first, but as it sends up lily pads, you can partially bury the bulb).(Sorry, my albino cories keep photobombing every picture I try to take of the plants!)


One surprising thing I found was that my Java fern loves the sand. I found it as a tiny leaf in a mass of floating plants at my LFS, and decided to just plant it in gravel in my 10 gallon aquarium. As it grew, I realized that it was a Java fern, and it had grown roots. When I upgraded to a 29 gallon tank with sand instead of gravel, it grew even more, and is now very large and thriving.



The only plant that didn't seem to do well is my Amazon swordplant from my LFS. It melted back (from a big plant that had been grown and propagated underwater) and keeps melting back each of the leaves that sprouts up. I haven't used root tabs or any sort of fertilizer in the tank so I am considering doing so.


I just added in some water sprite a couple of days ago, and it is doing pretty well right now. I have had cabomba in the tank before too (it started losing needles because of its position near the filter). So that's my experience with plants growing in sand. It is perfectly achievable, just pick out some hardier plants.


Hope this helps.

Edited by CorydorasEthan
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I had sand in 1/2 of my tank.  Hated it.  It always looked dirty despite weekly cleaning. Have removed all but a strip along the front glass.  Once gone, my algae problems disappeared.  I hope your experience isn't mine.

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On 1/26/2021 at 11:21 PM, RealAlan said:

I have a mixture of gravel and sand my crypts and sword are happy.  I like that the sand comes to the top (opposite of what I thought would happen) I like that because I like to see the fish waste on top of it and vacuum it out.  


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Full disclosure about the sand.  Around 13 years ago when my reef tank sort of went kaput after a move.  I didn't want to spend anything on a new theme and wanted to get out of saltwater.  In sort of a disgust with it all I went down to the stream behind my house and got a bunch of gravel rocks and sand and put it in the tank and cycled it added one sword (in the picture) and added fishes I caught in the stream maybe a half dozen different species of minnows, dace, sucker fish etc.  They did really well and it looked real cool.  Until I decided to and some crayfish which I got from an Asian market.  They were the basic reddish brown ones but when they molted they turned blue.  They were really cool till they started reproducing and eating the fishes... 


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