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good white sand plant substrates


5 Jun 2010
Canterbury, UK
does anyone know of a good one of these. I have found some but some people say that they are too finee and don't settle properly.
Why do you want white planted substrate? White substrate is only realy ever used where there are no plants simply because the Cation exchange capacity of white sands typically are very low and not really ideally for growing plants with.
when I asked about decorative sand, everyone pointed me to Argos white sand - it's about £3 for a fairly big bag (sorry, can't remember details, but Google is your friend). It's *very* fine, but also very pale... not exactly white, but close.

worth remembering tho', that almost all fish feel - and so look - much better with a dark background and substrate. The pale is usually there to create a highlight.

Hmm, I never really got the "fish feel better with a dark substrate" thing, A lot of fish come from habitats with pale sand substrates. You can see it yourself on any of the fish from bolivia (could be peru) videos. I think it's probably only fish from muddy habitats that like it dark?

I use Tesco play sand, it's just as good and also very cheap.
Hi all,
I think a lot of the S.A black water rivers (which originate away from the Andes) have white silica sand sand-banks where the flow is strong enough to sweep away the woody debris and dead leaves. The sand is white because the acid water literally "acid washes" the sand, and the soil has had all the other minerals leached away, and there is no terrestrial input of sediments. The conditions with extremely low conductivity and pH and heavily tinted water severely limits aquatic vegetation, and means that the white sands stay white. All the white sand I've had has rapidly greened unless it has been very shaded.
Here is a black water "Igarape"


More details here: <http://www.eoearth.org/article/Jaú_National_Park,_Brazil> and water values for the Rio Negro basin here:<http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0103-50532000000300015>

cheers Darrel
So what would you suggest, as a low maintenance natural looking cheap plant substrate. Have people had problems with the play sand going green?
Not if it's maintained properly. If you keep it stirred weekly, it will get darker but it's not really an issue.

What are you trying to achieve, what are your goals? They will dictate your choice of equipment/substrate. It's important to understand that what you want will dictate how you achieve it and if the two don't match then you'll then your system will fail.
If low maintenance is what you want then a tank based on George Farmers WCMM tank with low light and moss is an extremely good place to start, if high light/high tech/high maintenance is something you want to undertake then Samc's tanks, James Starr Marshalls, Saintlys or Ed Selleys tanks are extremely good tanks/threads that will provide you with valuable information regarding equipment and scaping ideas.
Well it will be a 1'' cube with a canister filter and a little injected c02 to get it started and then it will have shrimp in and be heavily planted. I just want to make it look as natural as possible.