02-28-2009, 05:39 PM
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You can.....but you're fish will be unhappy until all the sand settles. There's been a lot of talk on the forum lately on people changing from gravel to sand. I just did it in mine and personally...I LOVE IT. It looks great. Several things to keep in mind:
Wash, wash, wash and then wash again. Many people make the mistake of taking the sand and dumping it right into their tank from the bag because the label says "washed and screened".
If you have a spare 5 gallon bucket,fill it with your current tank water, take your fish out and if you have a HOB filter, most can be rigged to sit on the bucket. This will give you a little more time to work and in the long run makes things easier for you and life easier on your fish.
Here's how i did my gravel to sand switch for my 20G Long:
- I bought a 50lb bag of sand from local home depot for like $4.(a 50lb bag will fill about a 40G tank comfortably)
- Took another 5 gallon bucket and filled the bucket with about 20lbs of sand.
- I then filled the bucket with water until it covered the sand by about 4-5 inches.
- once the water was filled....get busy....i churned the sand for about 1 or 2 minutes, you will be able to see all the random crap floating in your water....let it sit for no more than 5 seconds, and slowly dump the water out......what this does is it will remove all the sand and debri that would normally take hours to settle in your tank. Doing this will allow you move decorations around and clean without distubing the sand too much.
- Repeat the above two steps about 15-20 times....I know it sounds like a pain in the rear, but it will make life much easier in the long run. Do this until your water seems about clear.
- Next step, drain your tank and vaccum your gravel.
- remove the gravel and vaccum again....you want to get as much of the detritis out of there as you can
- Take a cup ( i used an old phillies cup from a game, something that won't crack) and scoop the sand from the bucket to the tank.
- Don't worry it's not gonna look pretty right now. Once you get all your sand in you can smooth it out and do what you like.
- To fill you tank up again...i bought a huge glass bowl for this reason alone and I'm glad i did....to disrupt the sand as little as possible, I put the bowl in the middle of the tank and slowly pour into the middle of it....once the bowl is full of water, it will run over the edges and begin filling the tank. This is nice because you're not splashing the sand around.
- Add your dechlorinator or whatever set you use during you're weekly water changes.
- Let the tank settle...mine took about an hour and a half. You did yourself a favor by rinsning the sand and getting all the mini-debri out of there....this is the part where people wonder why it has taken 13 hours for the tank to settle when they didn't wash their sand.
- Once the tank has pretty much settled, throw your filter back on and add fish!!!
Cleaning your sand is alot different than gravel because you can't just jam your vaccum into the sand. It may take you a couple of times to get the hang of it, but all you need to do is get as close to the sand as you can without sucking any of the sand into the gravel...It's ok if you do, but you will get the hang of it.[
That's about all I know....
be patient with your tank settling
and most importantly....rinse rinse rinse rinse rinse rinse your sand....a timefull and annoying process but well worth it
Any questions, just ask!!