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how to layer substrate


britbrit916

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I have decided that i want to use black sand in my tank but it cost to much to do the hole tank with sand. Iv heard about layering substrates but i don't know how to do it and keep the sand on top from settling under the first substrate. what should i use on the bottom to keep that from happening.

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I would not go over 1 inch, even with plants, but that's my preference. Extreme depths aren't required to grow plants. My tank last (2013) december, with big destructive goldfish, didn't have much uprooting with 1" of planting substrate and the plants did fabulously on top of it. 

Edited by ChelseaM
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Maybe do a dirt layer?  It is also good for growing plants.

Iv done the dirt layer before and hated it. little pieces of bark worked there way out and made the tank look messy and its hard to move plants around without causing a mess.

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I would not go over 1 inch, even with plants, but that's my preference. Extreme depths aren't required to grow plants. My tank last (2013) december, with big destructive goldfish, didn't have much uprooting with 1" of planting substrate and the plants did fabulously on top of it. 

What do you mean by plants on top of it? Were the plants not actually in the dirt.

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I would not go over 1 inch, even with plants, but that's my preference. Extreme depths aren't required to grow plants. My tank last (2013) december, with big destructive goldfish, didn't have much uprooting with 1" of planting substrate and the plants did fabulously on top of it. 

What do you mean by plants on top of it? Were the plants not actually in the dirt.

 

"On top of it" as an expression of "good things on top of good things"

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Not really sand, but if you look up Dustin's fishtanks on youtube, I think he uses organic miracle grow in his, and he probably has a video or two on layering.  He cusses though, fyi.  I've seen a lot of angry youtube comments where people were like "My 2 year old was in the room!" ;) 

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What I did was fill a couple decorative glass pie pans and dessert cups with sand. That keeps the sand mostly contained but the fish will spread some of it around. For me, it's the perfect balance of being able to plant in substrate while still enjoying the superior cleanliness of a bare bottom tank.

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So is there no way to keep sand on top?

The only real solution is to have something even finer underneath. It's not a 100% thing though; occasionally small particles percolate up, and big ones sink.

I remember reading a paper on the subject when a physicist got sick of his 'mixed' nuts having small peanuts on the bottom, and the big nuts like Brazil nuts and cashews on top. He studied why, and discovered the same rules apply to any aggregate: rocks, gravel, breakfast cereal... Migration cannot be avoided.

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I agree.  Don't layer substrates because the fish will mix what doesn't settle on its own.  Pick something you like, and stick with it. :)  Just like the little bits of dirt wound their way up, other substrate bits will also. 

 

Have you decided what you will do?  I can't wait to see pictures. :)

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