Just added sand, a few questions
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Just added sand, a few questions

This is a discussion on Just added sand, a few questions within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> This afternoon I pulled out the ugly chipped blue gravel in my 20g guppy tank and replaced it with Quikrete play sand. I also ...

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Just added sand, a few questions
Old 07-15-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
 
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Just added sand, a few questions

This afternoon I pulled out the ugly chipped blue gravel in my 20g guppy tank and replaced it with Quikrete play sand. I also added a few live plants. (Thanks again to everyone who helped me out on my other thread about this!)

Before:



What I got rid of (yay!):


After:















The play sand only clouded a little bit after I rinsed it. It's almost been cleaned up by the filter now. I'm quite impressed with it! Everything looks *much* nicer without the gravel.

I added a dwarf hairgrass, Anubias nana, Amazon Sword, and Java fern. The other plants in there are plastic left over from the other setup, to give extra cove till the plants fill in or I get more. Currently the tank is lit with a single 13 watt compact fluorescent on the right side.

I'm completely new to sand and planted tanks, so I would love any tips you all can offer regarding maintenance. I have several questions:
1) When I did a pwc to reduce cloudiness, I noticed that the sand got sucked up pretty easily. How should I clean? Should I just change water, and get a bottom feeder to clean the sand? (I'm hoping to get cherry shrimp for that purpose, but I'm several months away from that.)
2) Do the plants have enough light?
3) Will the sword and hairgrass root themselves in the sand, or is there something else I should supply them like rocks or a handful of gravel?
4)Do I need to add any fertilizer, etc. for the plants?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Steffi; 07-15-2012 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:19 PM   #2
 
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I gotta say that looks great! I love play sand. In the future I'm going to replace the petco sand with play sand in my platy tank.

1) When I did a pwc to reduce cloudiness, I noticed that the sand got sucked up pretty easily. How should I clean? Should I just change water, and get a bottom feeder to clean the sand? (I'm hoping to get cherry shrimp for that purpose, but I'm several months away from that.)

My cories and my ghost shrimp do a wonderful job of cleaning up the sand. I sometimes stir a bit up for the filter to grab some stuff though.

2) Do the plants have enough light?

I'm not an expert on lighting, but i think it could use a bit more light on the left side.

3) Will the sword and hairgrass root themselves in the sand, or is there something else I should supply them like rocks or a handful of gravel?

No idea, i think someone will chime in on that issue soon.

4)Do I need to add any fertilizer, etc. for the plants?

Definitely.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
 
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Good job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffi View Post
1) When I did a pwc to reduce cloudiness, I noticed that the sand got sucked up pretty easily. How should I clean? Should I just change water, and get a bottom feeder to clean the sand? (I'm hoping to get cherry shrimp for that purpose, but I'm several months away from that.)
A gravel vaccume is used in gravel tanks because the waste works its way down into the nooks and crannies of the gravel. With sand, it stands on top because the waste is larger than the sand particles. So, there is no need to dig into the substrate, plus you don't want to do that with plant roots down there anyways.

As most, just hover over the sand to collect what's on top.

I highly recommend getting some Malaysian Trumpet Snails (called MTS for short). Go to Petsmart or Petco first and look in their plant tanks, MTS have a very distinctive look (google it). I say those stores because they will give them to you for free, as they are considered a pest snail. You can try local stores also, but they may charge you for them. These snails will eat waste/left over food, and they will also live in the sand keeping it nice and aerated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffi View Post
2) Do the plants have enough light?
No, you will want a light on the left side of the tank. A standard 10 gallon usually has either a 15W 18" T8 tube, or two 10W CFLs so with your 20g you want either a 17W 24" T8 tube, or a dual CFL fixture.

In all casses, you should use a 'Daylight' bulb with a color temperature of 6500K (or similar).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffi View Post
3) Will the sword and hairgrass root themselves in the sand, or is there something else I should supply them like rocks or a handful of gravel?
Yes, there is nothing special to rooting them. The Dwarf Hairgrass may or may not do well, they usually need high light to take off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffi View Post
4)Do I need to add any fertilizer, etc. for the plants?
Yes, you should add a complete liquid fertalizer like Flourish comprehensive. The Amazon Sword is a heavy root feeder, and would like what is called a root tab. It's a solid chunk of fertalizer that you place under the sand about an inch of so from the crown. Flourish also makes these. They last ~2 months.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
 
The tank looks great, Steffi!

I use plant tabs with sand, and am glad to know that someone who knows what they are doing does, also.

Again, great tank, bunch better than blue.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
 
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Thanks guys! :)
I switched my lights over to two bulbs for now till I can find the right thing - I'll check today at the store. Probably pick up the Flourish (and some jungle val, I think) at Jacks today as well...
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:55 AM   #6
 
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For Liquid Flourish, get the smallest bottle if they have it (250 mL) as with just a 20 gallon it will last you a couple years. The dose is only about 1.6 mL per week. I use a medicine syringe (without a needle of course) to measure out the dose on my own since it is so small.

Just make sure you get the "Comprehesnsive Supplement" as Seachem sells several products under the "Flourish" line.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:23 PM   #7
 
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What an improvement. Nice work indeed. I like that aquascape.

I also like the way you have the light in one area, it is quite dramatic. But I do agree with the other posts that this is likely to be detrimental to plants at the left side which will struggle and reach toward the light, so spreading it over would be best. Sometimes our dramatics have to be adjusted for the benefit of the plants.

Byron.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #8
 
What is the little strip of blue gravel?
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:57 AM   #9
 
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Thanks everyone!
I picked up some Daylight CFL bulbs and made a trip to the local pet store, but ran into a few problems. When I tried to put the light bulbs in my aquarium hood, they wouldn't fit. Too wide to fit inside the reflector-thingy. And they were the only Daylight bulbs I could find! So I'm going to have to try bending the reflector-things with some pliers or something...
The pet store had Flourish tabs, but not the liquid supplement. The only similar thing they had was a product from Tetra - I think it was called "FloraPride". Is that essentially the same thing, or should I only get Flourish? There's a PetSmart a bit further away than the shop I went to yesterday. If it's ok to wait to fertilize till the weekend, I should have time to run out there Sunday afternoon. Otherwise I can pick up the Tetra product in the next day or two, since I want to go get some Jungle Val to shade the aquarium in the absence of floating plants, and some snails per Geomancer's suggestion (it's ironic - I had a bunch of those snails a few years ago but pulled them all out!).
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
 
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It's a shallow little dish of old gravel to seed the sand with bacteria. Probably completely unnecessary since I dumped in a bottle of SafeStart, but I figured it couldn't hurt!
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