Another option is flourite. My plants root very easily in it and it's mineral rich but inert so it wont affect the water column. It also release micro nutrients that the plants can access through their roots.
My low tech tank includes anubias nana, anubuias golden, windlov java fern, christmas moss and java fern. All under 1.8 watts per gallon.
But if sand works for you there is no reason to change unless you like the look of flourite.
I really need to use a smaller bulb I'll get a 13w tomorrow.
I'm against CO2 simply because I can. I want a stress free tank that is still pretty. I will does Excel (thanks Squared!). For right now, I'll stick with the sand I am currently using. F things start going downhill, then I'll switch to Flourite!
Be careful with excel on a really small tank like that. If you dose too heavily it will kill off your bacteria and restart your cycle. The active ingredient in it is actually also sold as an antiseptic, you can buy it under the name Metricide 14 if you want and is cheaper and stronger concentration for people with big tanks.