Redecorating my 25... (Sand or gravel?) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-19-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Redecorating my 25... (Sand or gravel?)

I've got a decent planted tank going now in my 25 gallon tropical community buuut my multicolored gravel takes away from the natural beauty of the fish and plants. I'd really love to go with a black substrate. I have rooted plants (wisteria, val, and sword). Would sand or gravel be best? Also, how many pounds of it should I buy for my tank? (I currently have 1" of gravel, but most of it came with the tank so I really have no idea how much is in there.)

Thankyou in advance for your expertise!
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post #2 of 3 Old 09-19-2010, 07:39 PM
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Could you do both?sand on the botton and gravel on the top?
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-20-2010, 02:24 PM
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Any mix of substrate types will "mix" with the smallest particles on the bottom (the sand in this case) and the gravel on top. A substrate is best if it is consistent throughout.

Either sand or small-grain gravel will work; if you want to go with one of the black enriched plant substrates, that's another option. Whichever you get, it should be 1-2 inches at the front and much deeper in the back, at least 3-4 inches if you intend Echinodorus (swords) that have extensive root systems and need the space. At this depth, sand can cause compaction problems that require extra effort to avoid, so bear that in mind.

I certainly agree that a dark colour, whether black, dark gray, brown or a "natural" mix is better, both for the fish and the appearance though the latter is a matter of personal choice. But the fish absolutely prefer a dark substrate as it is more natural to what they are evolved to live over. Being less stressed, they will show better colours over a dark substrate.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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