Alternative Substrate
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Alternative Substrate

This is a discussion on Alternative Substrate within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have a 20 gallon long aquarium which houses Mollies & Platties Ive used black gravel for substrate in the past and with a ...

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Alternative Substrate
Old 01-17-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
 
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Alternative Substrate

I have a 20 gallon long aquarium which houses Mollies & Platties Ive used black gravel for substrate in the past and with a black background the colors of the fish really stand out and look great, however it is a pain in the @ss to keep clean. Even with syphoning their is still tons of dirt mixed in. I dont want sand because i hear it causes problems with the impellar on HOB filters.
After looking online what others use i heard 3M sell a quartz black sand which was good but they have discontinued that now ! So im stuck as what to use, my tank has been bare bottom for 2 months now .
I enjoy aquascaping my tanks but they just dont look right without a substrate.

Anybody have any recommendations ?
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:32 PM   #2
 
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Sand only tears up propellers if your pump sucks up sand - ive been using sand for about a year now and still have the same pumps i had when i first started.

Just remeber when you cleaning to shut you pump off

Anyways,

If you wana keep the gravel why not try reducing the amount of gravel you got in there? When i had gravel I only used JUST the amount needed to keep decor from floating away

( no deeper than my finger is wide )

That made it stay cleaner easier
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:41 PM   #3
 
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im just scared of using sand and spending more time cleaning and playing around with it than actually appreciating the tank.
I know this might sound stupid but i have seen DIY rock backgrounds using styrofoam and concrete. . . . could i not do the same for the bottom of the tank ? That way i could create holes, caves , arches etc etc
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjohn21 View Post
im just scared of using sand and spending more time cleaning and playing around with it than actually appreciating the tank.
I know this might sound stupid but i have seen DIY rock backgrounds using styrofoam and concrete. . . . could i not do the same for the bottom of the tank ? That way i could create holes, caves , arches etc etc
Sand aquariums stay cleaner than gravel because the crud and dirt and poop does not settle down inbetween the sand - it just stays on top

>Unlike your gravel inwhich it finds its way all the way down to the bottom of the gravel
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
 
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But how do you guys clean the dirt on the surface without stirring the sand up and making a huge sand cloud ?
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:02 AM   #6
 
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You dont...

You shut off your pump while your cleaning reguardless.

With sand substrate you dont need to stick the vacume IN the sand the same way you would your gravel.

Just vaccume above the surface of the sand...

Or watch these videos til you understand xD

YouTube - how to clean sand aqurium
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:57 AM   #7
 
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Ok so after a few google searches on substrate i have found this company which sells sandblasting sand that is almost identical to the 3M quartz sand. Has anybody had any experience with this stuff ?

ATI - Black Diamond
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:07 PM   #8
 
Freshwater Substrate - Aqua Terra - Black Sand - 5 lb. | Natural Freshwater Gravel | Gravel & Substrate | Aquarium - ThatPetPlace.com

Thats what i use, its not real sand. Its ultra fine gravel, ~1mm thick, it floats a little when u first put it in because its so small bubbles stick to it but after a while it will sink. Doesnt compact like sand, and heavier than sand so it wont get sucked up easily.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
 
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Back to the initial post--when you say dirt mixed in do you mean out of sight down in the gravel (you wouldn't know it is there except when disturbing the substrate), or are you actually meaning sitting visibly on the surface?

Byron.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:21 AM   #10
 
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I mean the dirt mixed in. When i upgraded my 10 gallon tank to the 20 gallon the amount of dirt in their was really bad, even though i syphon 2-3 gallons everyday i couldnt believe how much poop and waste food was in their. Now that i have a 20 gallon i dont want it to be the same , for the last few months i have enjoyed easy cleaning a bare bottom tank
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