The good and bad of your substrate choice
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The good and bad of your substrate choice

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The good and bad of your substrate choice
Old 04-30-2012, 07:57 AM   #1
 
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The good and bad of your substrate choice

When I first started with the aquarium, I set up a tank with a Red Echo Complete substrate. I was always in awe of some of the tank photos where the person had black Substrate. It was so clean looking and everything popped against the solid black substrate. I changed one of my tanks to black and LOVED it. Now.... many months later, I see the downside. I had an outbreak of mystery snails (I missed one clutch of eggs) My Assassins have made quick work of them but... they don't remove the shells. My once pristine black substrate is now littered with little White shells.

I can't such the shells out with the python as I thought I would be able to. They basically spin around in the tube and though a few might make their way out, most settle back on the substrate. It looks like I will be pain stakingly removing them one at a time. That will take the better part of this month.

I still enjoy the natural look of certain substrates. The slightly larger gravel I had in one tank years ago seemed to hide everything which was very nice.

What choice did you make and do you still like it. If you could change it, would you, and why?
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:11 AM   #2
 
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If your fish are not diggers, just bury the shells in the substrate.

I have playsand in my all my tanks to go with the Natural look of Lake Malawi, I do have to say though, I would have perhaps added some black substrate to my 55g Peacock tank to bring out the colors of the fish more. I did add some small gravel to the 180g tank but found it made the tank look slightly messy.

If I decide to get another big tank then I will research a bit more on substrate choice before jumping in..my 180g tank was sold and moved to its new home yesterday...am suffering today as my arms are killing me from moving 300lb's of rocks, 6 buckets of fish, 9 buckets of sand and then the tank itself!
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
 
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Ha Ha I saw an add on craigslist for a 180 gallon which I really thought about picking up but it was a "take everything" deal and I didn't want everything. I would prefer to start fresh with substrate and the fish I want, not take someone else's fish. Not that I would have an issue with that if it was the kind I wanted. I just didn't want cichlids. Next tank is going to be small peaceful schools and lots of plants.

Why did you give up your 180 gallon?
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
 
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7 years of enjoyment and it is going into an office complex my friend owns. We set it all up yesterday so as the staff arrive today they are going to get a big shock seeing a 6ft tank full in the entrance way

It was just time I guess to give it up, nothing much more I could do with it with the Cichlids I had in it..plus side is I am contracted to do the maintenance on it as per my usual schedule that I did here..it is very weird though seeing a 7ft gap where the tank stand used to be.

I seriously considered getting another big tank with the money and making it into a saltwater tank but cost wise, not going to happen at the moment...I got a steal on a 55g tank at a garage sale Saturday morning $12!, so am going to spend some of the money in converting my 32g saltwater tank into the 55g.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:39 AM   #5
 
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Well, that will keep you busy for awhile. I would love a 180 but then I think I would get rid of one of the smaller tanks, if not both. I would LOVE to be able to start over with another larger tank. I don't care for the dimensions of my 60 gallon. I would love the extra 2 feet in length of the 180 and I assume it was 24 inches wide? This tank is too narrow and you don't really get a front, middle and back when planting. You pretty much get front and back. Makes it difficult to get the look I really want in the tank. For now, this is what I have and I will do the best I can with it.

Also, I have found some different substrates I would try in a new tank, if I get the opportunity.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:44 AM   #6
 
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Tank was 72" x 24" x 25". Weight issue was a major factor so I had to get the floor reinforced where it was sitting.

I have never really done a planted tank before, so perhaps once I have the 32g empty and moved into the 55g, then I may do a planted tank...I still have 2 Cichlid tanks so, adding a different setup appeals to me.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:00 AM   #7
 
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It was sort of funny awhile back my brother was doing some work at my house. He was looking at the reinforcements in the basement and said "holy cow, you could park a truck on that!" It wasn't a truck I wanted to park on that. ha ha In other words, I think the weight wouldn't be an issue in that spot. I just have to find the right deal. CHEAP ha ha

I assume the salt water tanks will generally weigh more from all the live rock. I know a fresh water is quite heavy as well but maybe not quite as much.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inga View Post
When I first started with the aquarium, I set up a tank with a Red Echo Complete substrate. I was always in awe of some of the tank photos where the person had black Substrate. It was so clean looking and everything popped against the solid black substrate. I changed one of my tanks to black and LOVED it. Now.... many months later, I see the downside. I had an outbreak of mystery snails (I missed one clutch of eggs) My Assassins have made quick work of them but... they don't remove the shells. My once pristine black substrate is now littered with little White shells.

I can't such the shells out with the python as I thought I would be able to. They basically spin around in the tube and though a few might make their way out, most settle back on the substrate. It looks like I will be pain stakingly removing them one at a time. That will take the better part of this month.

I still enjoy the natural look of certain substrates. The slightly larger gravel I had in one tank years ago seemed to hide everything which was very nice.

What choice did you make and do you still like it. If you could change it, would you, and why?
If you remove the large end of the Python which should be easy for it just slips on/off.
Then you will find considerably more suction to be the case, and the empty shells, or even small live snails,,will quickly get sucked up.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:14 AM   #9
 
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I will try that, I was afraid the gravel would just as easily get sucked up the tube because it is pretty small pieces. Not to mention, the darn Corie's that are forever trying to help with the tank maintenance.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:17 AM   #10
 
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In my very first tank, when I knew nothing about keeping fish and made just about every mistake in the book, the only thing I got right (out of pure luck!) was black gravel.

A dark substrate is my favorite, by far. I have play sand now in two tanks, black gravel in one. The play sand is too light in my opinion. It will get a lot better once the floating plants shade it up a bit, but in direct light it is too light in my opinion. I've seen pictures of other tanks like Byron where it has a lot of black in it, but in my area not so much, mostly a light tan color.

Weight on a large tank ... it's less of an issue if you follow these two rules:

1) Place the tank along a load bearing wall. If you have an open basement this is easy to determine. Basically along an outside wall, or along an interior wall that has a large beam the floor joists rest on and is supported by pillars in the basement.
2) Place it perpendicular to your floor joists, again access to the basement makes this easy to determine. You want the tank to span as many joists as possible. If it is parallel to the joists you'll have all that weight on a single, maybe two joists which is bad.

The worst place to put a tank is parallel to the joists, and in the center of the span. So avoid that at all costs unless you reinforce from below.

I wouldn't put one on a second story. If you have a concrete slab foundation (no basement, or are putting the tank in the basement) you pretty much don't have to worry at all.

To be safe though, you might want to consult a structural engineer. I don't know how much they charge, but could be worth it for peace of mind.

A 180 with just the tank and water is 2100 pounds, a small truck would be in the 3000-5000 pound range, so if you can park a truck in your house you're fine ;)
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