Sand Any Good As Substrate ?

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Offline Ally2

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Sand any good as substrate ?
« on: November 12, 2016, 10:31:15 AM »
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Hi
I'm thinking of changing my current substrate to a finer sand . My concern is is it a pain to hoover/clean . The current substrate I have goes up the syphon and I have to lift it to release the stones which keeps mucking up the bottom in terms of how it looks .
Also will cleaning it keep making the tank cloudy ?
Ally

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 11:04:07 AM »
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I have sand in several of my tanks (temperate, tropical and axolotl) and the mess usually sits on the surface and is relatively easy to syphon off.
However, it also depends on if you have live plants (which I do in all of mine) because it isn't as good as gravel for letting nutrients to the roots, and there is also a risk of getting air pockets in the sand.
I have attached a link with some more information.
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/articles/frequently-asked-questions-on-aquarium-substrates
 :)

Offline Sue

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 12:03:30 PM »
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I have sand in both my tanks. But I don't have any plants planted in the substrate, all mine are either floating or the kind that are attached to decor.
To clean sand you hover the end of the tube about a cm above the sand and make little swirling motions to lift the debris off the bottom and into the tube. You will suck sand up, I do after several years. I just wash it with tap water and put it back. The amount of chlorine in the rinse water is negligible.

Sand is usually quite dusty. It needs a good washing before it can go in the tank. Put some in a bucket, run water in then swoosh it round, wait a second or two for the sand to sink and pour the cloudy water away. Repeat until the water is clear then do the next batch. With a small tank, you won't need much.
If you intend to have plants growing in the substrate you'll need a fair depth of sand, but if the plants are attached to decor like mine it doesn't need to be very deep. To keep gas pocket away, stir the sand as the last part of a water change, avoiding the roots of any plants.

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 03:09:43 PM »
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@Ally2 I use this sand http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180698592675 it looks good (if you want a light coloured substrate). My last two bags had virtually no dust in it, I gave it a wash it but very little came out and the water was clear after an hour of filling the tank. From the water readings it is completely inert and it is also a lot cheaper than anything with 'aquarium' in the name :)

Offline Sue

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 03:17:43 PM »
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Play sand (B&Q, Argos etc) is another good alternative.


My betta's tank has Unipac silica sand which is quite orangey (not too expensive as I only needed a small bag) and the 180 litre has B D Trading aquarium sand which is more expensive than play sand but a lot cheaper than then Unipac sand.

Offline Ally2

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 11:10:35 PM »
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Thanks
I've seen different size grains of sand and would go for the bigger ons if I can find it .
Like the idea of only using plants tied to wood and floating plants as would be easier.
What is an air pocket ? Is this a problem ?
Can any plants grow in sand ?
Ally

Offline Matt

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 11:20:43 PM »
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an air pocket refers to an area in the sand which due to the pollutants  (by this i mean fish waste) and the fertilisers in the water (here I mean any food source for plants fish bacteria algae etc) can grow anoxically in the substrate producing gasses which will be harmful to the fish, especially when released in one big go.  In such a small tank, provided you regularly disturb small sections of the sand to stop anything building up this will not be a problem.  other thing to do would be to blpurchase Malaysian trumpet snails who will completed this work for you.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2016, 07:42:23 AM »
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A lot of my plants are growing in sand. They include vallis, bacopa sp., cryptocoryne sp., hygrophyla sp., and ludwigia sp. but generally I have a layer of something like JBL aquabasis plus under the sand.
i have found that it has been a bit trial and error, but probably because I didn't really plan anything in advance when I first moved from artificial plants to live plants.
Just a slight word of warning, I have found the planting almost as addictive as the fishkeeping (but that may be down to my personality rather than anything else).  ;)

Offline Sue

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Re: Sand any good as substrate ?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2016, 09:28:04 AM »
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I've seen different size grains of sand and would go for the bigger ons if I can find it .
Like the idea of only using plants tied to wood and floating plants as would be easier.

Of my two sands, the unipac silica sand is much coarser than the BD Trading sand. This page gives some idea of the different grain sizes available in just one brand. My betta's tank as the third one on the top row, silica sand rather than aquarium silica sand. Unipac sand is expensive but a small tank doesn't need much.

All my plants are attached to decor. Nowadays they are all attached to wood but in the past I had them attached to plastic ornaments. I have java fern and anubias. Java fern does come in a few forms such as the standard variety and Wendelov which has curly leaves. And there are several species of anubias ranging form very small to quite large. These are nice in a betta's tank as they have horizontal flat leaves, just right for a fish to rest on  :) They need to be tied on with thread until they attach themselves.

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