Gravel, sand, or flat marbles on the bottom? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Gravel, sand, or flat marbles on the bottom?

Which do you prefer? Or is there something else you like for the bottoms of your aquariums? Gravel always seems to turn green over time for me. I am about to set up a new aquarium, and I'm considering flat marbles for it. I found an online source with dozens of colors. I thought this would also provide a place for baby fish to hide.
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-26-2008, 07:39 AM
I use marbles in some of the breeding tanks that house egg-scatterers. I don't normally recommend it for community tanks. Sands is nice looking but can compact and lead to serious problems down the road if not properly maintained. That leaves gravel. The green is algae and suggests inadequate maintenance. Regular gravel sweeps are the order of the day.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-27-2008, 05:18 AM
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Herefishy is correct. For sand, you might want Malaysian trumpet snails, loaches and corydoras to aid you in preventing it from getting compact. Of course, it depends on whichever fish you are planning to keep and size of tank. What size is the tank?

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post #4 of 7 Old 05-27-2008, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies. It is small, only 14 gallons. I set up the aquarium this morning, with flat marbles for now. I'm planning to make it a community tank. Herefishy, why wouldn't you recommend marbles for a community tank? I was also just thinking, waste might collect underneath the marbles....maybe gravel is the better way to go. I suspect I have always had our aquarium lights on for too many hours during the day. The kids like the light on. That could explain the gravel turning green.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-31-2008, 09:58 AM
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Fluorescent lighting doesn't promote algae growth as much as natural sunlight does, is your tank getting a lot of sun?
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-31-2008, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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No, it doesn't get any sunlight.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-31-2008, 03:10 PM
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10-12 hours is more than enough. Any more than that and you can have algae problems for sure regardless of lighting type.

As for the marbles and community tanks, it depends on the fish. Corries will hate it as will most loaches and plecos. Most bottom dwellers will not like the large substrate. I will bet there are exceptions but I do not know what they are.

Marbles for cleaning the mulm and stuff should actually make it easier. The gravel vac can pull the gunk out easier without having to hit every spot in the gravel to clean it well. Might not even have to disturb the marbles at all if the tube pulls hard enough.

I will be trying marbles in a tank when I finally get some rasboros specifically for breeding reasons.
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