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The good and bad of your substrate choice

This is a discussion on The good and bad of your substrate choice within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have 2 bags of black gravel and 1 bag of bright green gravel and it looks amazing on with the LED lights I ...

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The good and bad of your substrate choice
Old 04-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #11
 
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I have 2 bags of black gravel and 1 bag of bright green gravel and it looks amazing on with the LED lights I have. I agree that black is a great color choice.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:15 PM   #12
 
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One of the benefits of a "mix" substrate [= one containing more than one colour or shade] is that "stuff" is not so easily seen. I've used natural gravel (the beige/black/white/brown mix) and a similar in black/gray/white which is darker, Flourite black (solid black) and play sand which is a mix of black/gray/tan/white. In the past I've also used the natural pea gravel size and the Birdseye gravel.

I have been resetting my tanks over the past year, and moving to playsand in each of them. Interestingly, I find the black to be "lighter" under the tank light, and a real disappointment [in more ways than just appearance]. I am very fond of the play sand. It does darken after a few months, the fish do seem to like it, and I know it is authentic because it replicates the sand in many Amazonian streams--which may well be why my corys are so happy and spawning now.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #13
 
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Is the play sand hard to keep looking clean? I purposely didn't go with play sand because I thought it would soon be littered with stings of fish poo and I didn't know how to clean that all off without sucking up a whole bunch of sand each time.

I might think about the play sand in my 25 as the current residents are aging out. I made the mistake of having one bag of black substrate and that wasn't quite enough so I added a 1/2 bag I had left over of some natural rock. It looks like crap mixed. I was too cheap to toss that though so... I will wait with it for awhile.

At least the play sand would be cheap enough. How hard is it to clean before use?
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:26 PM   #14
 
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I don't know if I'm bad at plants or what, but my play sand is constantly littered with plant particles. The hornwort needles are everywhere. I find that a lot of the stuff, you don't really notice until you start sucking it up though. My cories food is the same colour as the sand, so their poo is the same colour as the sand. It all blends very well. xD

The only thing I dislike about the sand is that I seem to have a hard time getting plants to stick in it. I have about 1.5 inches of sand. I can get them to stay but it takes a few tries. If I want to move around a plant (which I do semi often since the tank is still "developing") it usually creates a huge fuss. I don't use planting tongs though, just my fingers (I never really understood if there was a specific reason to use them). I'm using play sand in my new 20 gallon, but I think I will do 1.5 inches in the front, to 2.5 inches in the back where I want to plant more.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:34 PM   #15
 
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That is very good to know, thank you. I too would likely put a few inches in as I know that keeping plants in place can be a challenge, even in gravel. Those darn stem plants love to float up to the top. It can be a lesson in frustration for sure. Does play sand come in different colors or is it just that neutral color? I could have sworn years ago I saw color choices?
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:36 PM   #16
 
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Washing play sand initially is a pain, but the end result is worth it.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:37 PM   #17
 
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I think there are colour choices. Maybe they become more available in the summer time though. For now I'm only seeing natural colours.
Not sure if coloured sand is safe for the aquarium though.
What pet stores sell could be fine, but it's usually really expensive.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:43 PM   #18
 
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I am sure I am going to sound stupid here but... Do you put it into nylons or something to rinse it? I mean, I can't just toss it into my strainer like I did with the gravel. It would all scoot out through the holes. How do you handle that? I could lay some pantyhose in the strainer and pour the sand in over it. Ha Ha Now THAT would be a picture.

This project might be pushed up. I have wanted to re-do the 25 gallon for quite some time. Might be a good start.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:46 PM   #19
 
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I put it into a big bowl, fill it with water, leave the tap running, and just stir it constantly. The water turns all cloudy and I just let the cloudy water overflow out of the bowl, until the water runs clear (or clear enough for me).
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:06 PM   #20
 
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Wow! I just looked on some of the store sites. Might be harder to find natural color. There is purple, green and Blue. I will have to check out some of the home building stores, I would guess they would carry it.

I have heard there is pool sand? Is that a good option? I thought I remembered someone saying it was the same thing but lighter colored? Anyone use that?
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