Originally Posted by jimmyhoye
I looked up the horseface loach but im ont to interested in it. But i do need osme other help. I am planning on using sand as my substrate for this tank and im new to sand substrate, can you guys give me some clues on what sand to use nd how to care for it
There is a thread entitled "sand" started on 03-12-2009 in the Aquariumn Plants section of this forum that you might want to read through, as several members offered comments. To save time, I'll copy my last response below.
I quote from Peter Hiscock's book "Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants" because he says it so well [page 43]. "Sand can cause problems if used as the sole substrate in an aquarium. Over time it will compact, preventing water movement and causing anaerobic conditions, which result in stagnation and the release of toxins. Stirring the sand gently and regularly will prevent this problem, although most plants do not appreciate constant disturbance. ... When using sand, be sure to choose a completely inert form. Many commercial sands contain traces of lime or calcareous materials, although most of the products sold by aquatic retailers are safe."
I'm assuming that you are somewhat familiar with the biological processes in an aquarium termed the nitrogen cycle, by which nitrosomonas bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite, and nitrobacter bacteria convert nitrite into nitrate. This is an aerobic process, which means the bacteria use oxygen to perform these tasks. In the substrate, oxygen also needs to be present, and oxygen is releasd by plant roots. A substrate rich in organic material (waste and nutrient-rich additives) naturally contains large numbers of bacteria that break down these organics into nutrients that the plant roots can use. The oxygen is quickly used up in this process, and the substrate becomes anaerobic; different types of bacteria form which do not need large quantities of oxygen or which create their own. These anaerobic bacteria release toxic gases like hydrogen sulphide. As the bacteria use nitrates, nitrogen is released. As long as the substrate is not too fine and compact the combination of slow-moving current and the release of oxygen by the plant roots should prevent the majority of the substrate from becoming anaerobic. But if the substrate compacts, it will turn anaerobic, causing plant roots to rot and when released into the water cause problems for fish.
Just as with gravel you "stir it up" a bit with the syphon during the weekly water change, so you must with sand, but you can't use the syphon as watts300 said because it sucks up the sand. You can use your fingers to gently work through most of the sand to ensure it is not compacting, being careful not to disturb the plant roots. As I've never used sand myself, I can't say how much disturbance you need to do to ensure a healthy substrate. Others who have sand should be able to advise on that point. There will be pockets of anaerobic conditions in the substrate, whether sand or gravel, but they must never be allowed to expand to the point where they cause pollution as I've tried to explain. It seems to be a bit trickier to ensure a healthy substrate with sand than gravel.
As to type, anything inert will do. Some recommend play sand from Home Depot. Just don't use marine sand as it is intended to raise the pH as you need for saltwater fish, and you don't want that in a freshwater plant tank.