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I need some help with setting up a new 55 gallon freshwater tank, ive been looking around on here for ideas and saw alot ...
I need some help with setting up a new 55 gallon freshwater tank, ive been looking around on here for ideas and saw alot about washed play sand as substrate? Does play sand work well for substrate? We would like to have some live plants in there aswell, would the sand work with live plants and most fish?
I think we may go with just artificial plants, what about rocks? There is a local garden supply store that has tons of rocks that would look perfect in an aquarium, how do I know which rocks are safe for tanks?
I just set up a 55g using pea gravel as a bottom layer and play sand on top, planted with live plants. I used about 1/3 bag of the pea gravel for the bottom layer, so the plants would have something to root with. The bag of pea gravel only cost like $3.27 in the garden section of Home Depot. The play sand cost about that price per bag as well, and I used about 1 and 1/2 bags of play sand. Both have been fine so far, I just rinsed them very thoroughly before putting them in the aquarium. I rinsed the play sand especially so because it was very dusty at first. Of course the tank has only been set up for a couple weeks but that's my experience.
If you're thinking a non planted tank, then you can go with straight sand, but changing the substrate in a 55 STINKS, so if there's any chance of wanting to plant it in the future, I'd lay something down under the sand. Sand works very well as a substrate, but one thing to be careful of is it compacting around your plants. The sand has to be raked up regularly. Snails also apparently help with this, just make sure you get ones that won't damage your plants.
thanks everyone, I think we may go with pea gravel around the plant roots and then sand on top. What sort of fish should I look at getting for this size tank, we would like to do community/semi-aggressive tank if thats possible.
If you want to keep an aggressive fish I'd recommend the African Butterfly fish. They're definitely predators, but they basically stay to the top of the tank, so you can still have some really cool bottom dwellers.
Cichlid tanks are also really cool, you just might not be able to stock the tank to it's full bioload potential if you get some aggressive fish because they'll need more territory.
The last option is to go for a more peaceful community tank, that's what I'd do. Two shoals of 6 corys each would be really fun for the bottom. You could get one of a dark breed and one of panda cories, or another light colored species. They'll stick to their own groups and it's so fun to watch them interact!