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Plants only with sand

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by ismenio, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. ismenio

    ismenio Guest

    Local Time:
    7:51 AM
    This is my 1 post.
    Sorry my English but i´m Portuguese.
    My doubt is:
    Is possible have only one layer of sand whit the granularity of 2 mm ?
    I now that plants will grow probably very slow and i will have fertilize but they will grow?


    Antonio Silva
  2. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

    Mar 5, 2009
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    Local Time:
    1:51 PM
    Most plants will grow but many will have a bad time to establish. Anubia, fern, moss, Hygrophila sp, Egeria, Ceratophyllum, Lemna, Salvinia... are all plants that shouldn't give you much trouble to grow
  3. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

    May 23, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Local Time:
    1:51 PM
    I use plain gravel with 2-3 mm diameter.
    Had been dosing with Osmocote and fert tabs for the first 2 months
    and dosing about 1/4 of what Tom suggested (for fear about critter's health).

    Then I upped to half-dosage of EI for about 20 days and stopped
    substrate fert because pushing tabs into substrate was too time
    consuming and the result of it was unclear. The result of dosing
    half-dosage of EI without substrate firt was impressive.

    And then after reading Tom's mention about toxic level of nitrate
    ( )
    and seeing his high fish load 20G tank ( ).
    I started dosing the full dose of EI with fingers crossed.

    Tom's suggestion for a 20G tank:
    1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 3-4x a week (every other day)
    1/16th-1/32nd teaspoon of KH2PO4 3-4x a week (every other day)
    Traces added on off days as the macro nutrients, so 3x a week, 5mls each time.
    SeaChem Equilibrium 1/8 teaspoon after water change.

    My tank is 80 liter, 3 months old, Eheim 2217, 3 WPG for 10 hrs, DIY CO2.
    E. Tenellus, Vallisneria, Vivipara, H. Zosterifolia, Blyxa.

    1 Angelfish, 1 Whiptail Pleco, 2 Mollies, 3 Sterbai Cories, 6 Otos,
    7+1 Black Neon Tetras, 8 Yamato shrimps.

    I translated that to dose in liquid daily:
    KNO3 5.42 PPM before light on
    KH2PO4 1.31 PPM before light on
    K2SO4 1.52 PPM before light on (hate to see it unused)
    Traces mix 8 CC after light off (much higher than suggested though
    to test Heteranthera Zosterifolia)
    Fe-EDDHA around 0.015675 PPM after light off (higher than this
    the water turns too red)

    Dry dosing at water change:
    CaSO4 1/4 tsp
    MgSO4 1/4 tsp

    Plants are growing fast and looking better overall.
    Blyxas grow much bigger in short time even thoug this plant
    is often referred to as a heavy root feeder.

    Fish/shrimp health seems OK, actually a baby Black Neon Tetra
    appeared out of nowhere 3 days ago. They seem to mate every three days.
    So water quality should be OK.

    The fert tabs may help initially to help plant's establishing (?).
    But anyway, if I could restart it, I would lay some sort of substrate fert,
    such as the Tropica Plant Substrate to avoid the chore of
    pushing tabs in the first months.

    I still not satisfied with my tank though, struggling with quite an amount of
    Spirogyra (I believe) a tiny bit of BBA, and H. Zosterifolia melting.
    It looks OK 3-4 meters away, certainly not at 50 cm distance
    (hope it will be some day :D). But at least this tank's substrate is all plain gravel,
    so to your question, I think it's possible.


    BTW, the stuff at Tenellus's base (just mowed—used to be taller than
    the Blyxas) close to the the glass in the picture is brown debris that the
    Ottos can't access to.
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Jun 21, 2009
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    Local Time:
    1:51 PM
    Hi Antonio,

    I am not a botanist, expert or otherwise, in addition to the disclaimer below.:confused:

    I have a couple of tanks that I use plain old sand or plain old gravel. It is true some plants grow better than others do and while starting out I suggest you stick to the easier ones. Most of the plants we grow are noxious weeds, they want to grow. :eek:

    A good fertilizer-dosing regimen, I am a recovering PMDD entity who has seen the light and moved to EI, with good CO2 and good practices, no real problem.

    It is more difficult to start plants in gravel, patience and good forceps.:cool:

    I rarely introduce anything directly into my aquaria; a little development time can be helpful.:)

    Remember that everything is light driven, reasonable amount of light, stable non-limiting CO2 and nutrient dosing. With good practices, you will do well.


  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 23, 2005
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    Local Time:
    1:51 PM
    PMDD and EI are not that much different, one is just richer, and adds PO4.
    Otherwise, they are pretty close.

    adding more or less of something is not really that different of a "method", same type of method, but just adding, less/more etc. That in and of itself does not make it another method really.

    EI is mostly a concept to rationalize how we can avoid testing ppm's and playing with chemistry by using the common water change. Makes PMDD much simpler.

    Plain sand : EI was developed, as well as PMDD using plain sand.
    Adding ADA AS or MS, both nutrient rich in macro nutrients like N and P, makes EI or any water column dosing method better and serves as a back up, or as a primary source if the water column is kept "lean".

    Or if you leave for a week on vacation.

    Tom Barr
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 23, 2005
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    Local Time:
    1:51 PM
    You could use about 1/4 EI type dosing if you use Easy Carbo, full EI if you have higher light and CO2 gas.

    If not, see the Non CO2 method in the "Articles" forum for another method.

    Also, the Portuguese language site should have plenty of people that are able to help you with EI and other dosing methods. (Powered by Invision Power Board)

    Tom Barr

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