Cheap Substrate - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-23-2010, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Cheap Substrate

So I may be getting a 90 gallon tank later this week and was wondering if i could use pool filter sand?
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-23-2010, 10:36 PM
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Yes, you can use pool filter sand.

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-23-2010, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thought so, thanks :D Any idea how it will do with plants?
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 09:52 AM
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From what I've seen it'll do great with plants. I have sand in ALL my tanks (except for my QT tank) and all tanks are planted, and do well. I dose with liquid ferts (Seachem's Comprehensive Flourish) once a week, and insert root tabs (Seanchem's brand) every few months for the heavy root feeders, swords and such.

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-24-2010, 03:18 PM
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Play sand would probably be better than pool sand, simply because it is darker and fish prefer darker substrates; they also look more colourful, which is not surprising, since they have the ability to darken their pigmentation and do with a dark substrate. I have dark gray playsand in one of my tanks, I bought it at Home Depot. I am not a sand person, but if you want sand then playsand is in my view better. Also, be careful that "pool" sand does not contain calcareous substances that will raise your water hardness and pH. Unless of course you intend this tank to be livebearers or rift lake cichlids that need harder water.

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Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-03-2010, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Okay,well I decided to go ahead and test out sand on a ten gallon for now to see what it will do, currently it just looks like muddy water? How long will this last will it ever be clear? I went with play sand
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 05:09 AM
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If it's really cloudy you probably should have rinsed it more thoroughly than you did, but it should settle down sooner rather than later. It depends on what filter you have set up, if there are any really active bottom fish involved, etc.

30g SE Asian Tank
15 Lambchop Rasbora
2 Gold White Cloud Minnows
3 Dwarf Chain Loaches
2 Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

55g Amazon Tank
2 Wild Type Angels
1 Marble Angel
1 Black Angel
1 Koi Angel
2 Bolivian Rams
14 Pristella Tetra
10 Dwarf Pencilfish
2-3 Twig Catfish (to come)
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Well Currently there is no filter and no fish in the tank.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 11:24 AM
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In the 10g I mentioned earlier, with play sand substrate, I initially had no filter. Lots of plants, and I mean lots, and just a group of 9 Boraras brigittae which are very tiny fish. The tank never cleared, and I mean after several months. I added a small sponge filter and it cleared within a day. This in my view was not the sand, just the biology.

However, the sand took endless rinsings and it never did run "clear" the way gravel will. But in the tank it should settle out. Be very careful with filters; sand is very easily drawn into filters and will destroy them. A sponge will clog but that is easily fixed by rinsing the sponge. Personally I would never use sand in a tank with any other filtration. And from my experiences to date, I am much less inclined now to try sand in another tank than I was when I set this one up.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-04-2010, 11:33 AM
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Pool sand has a couple advantages...
It's usually inert. (Will say on the package- if it mentions 'stabilising ph' don't use it.)
It has rounded grains, so less likely to compact.

If the play sand is darker, then go with the play sand, but around my house all the play sand is white.

Using soil can save money on the substrate as well. It's in my sig.

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Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius
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