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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; --> Originally Posted by stevenjohn21 I mean the dirt mixed in. When i upgraded my 10 gallon tank to the 20 gallon the amount of ...

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Alternative Substrate
Old 01-19-2011, 11:57 AM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjohn21 View Post
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
A "dirty" substrate is natural, and should be healthier. It is essential for plants, and given the incredible benefit from live plants, this is well worth considering. Your livebearers would thank you for some live plants, they come from waters thick with plants; mollies love spending their day nibbling the algae from plant leaves. Vallisneria is excellent in livebearer tanks as this plant loves harder water.

There is a host of aerobic and some anaerobic bacteria living in a healthy gravel substrate. They convert "crud" to organics for the plant roots. Those of us with planted tanks never touch the substrate, it manages on its own. In plant-less tanks, weekly vacuuming of the substrate works fine.

In a bare-bottom tank, there is no place for the bacteria to live, so it takes much more regular cleaning to keep things healthy.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:46 PM   #12
 
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Ok that makes sense.
I bought some black sand blasting sand today $8.00 for 50lb ! Its already been washed prior to it being bagged so i rinsed it a couple of times and the water is clear. I have set up a 10 gallon tank and placed one of my platies to make sure its "aquarium safe". If i still have a happy platty by the morning then i will put the sand in my 20 gallon and post pics.

Thanks again for your rapid responses and help
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:43 AM   #13
 
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ok i have put the black sand in my 20 gallon and the water is cloudy, do i wait for it to settle now or can i add my filter to speed up the settling ?
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:55 AM   #14
 
if sand gets in your filter it can kill your impeller and motor.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:40 PM   #15
 
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Please let us know how it turns out. I am currently trying to figure out what substrate I want in my new 58g. Also, where did you get it?
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:59 PM   #16
 
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Ok i have set the tank up, although its not how i want it but i didnt have time to scape it the way i wanted it. You can see the black sand really brings the color of the fish out.

I got the sand from a store called Northern Tool Supplies. The product was called Black Diamond which is black sand blasting sand $8.00 for 50lb.



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Old 01-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #17
 
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That is a nice substrate. As for the cloudiness, if it was clear at first and became cloudy after a day or more, it is not the substrate but probably a bacterial bloom in which case changing the water will make it worse and prolong it. It is not harmful, though unsightly, and will clear on its own. But keep an eye on the fish, if they show signs of stress or gasping, change half the water (using a good conditioner).
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:11 PM   #18
 
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Hi, No the cloudiness happened when i poured the sand in to the water that was in the tank. I just raised my inlet so sand wouldntmess the impellar. It took about 20 mins and the water cleared up.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:45 PM   #19
 
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Just picked up a bag. A whole lot cheaper than fish store. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:21 PM   #20
 
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I had more time today to scape the tank with its new substrate, i know its not holding expensive fish but i enjoy scaping so hopefully the fish enjoy it as much as i do. The sun was shining through so the picture isnt brilliant but you can see the change.

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