sand in aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-29-2009, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Question sand in aquarium

hi i wanted to know if sand is better then gravel in a freshwater 29 gallon tank i have the pyhton vacum thing and no how to use it to clean the sand also could i use this sand below it says ocean sand but people below said they use it in there freshwater tanks. if not can someone tell me where to get sand.



Nature's Ocean Bio-Activ Live Aragonite Reef Sand at PETCO
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-29-2009, 01:12 PM
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Argonite sand will raise your Ph too high for most freshwater fish unless you're keeping african cichlids. I would not use that sand for freshwater. I use play sand from Home Depot. It is inert and won't affect the Ph. It's cheap also...about $5 for a 50 lb bag.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
135 Gallon - Angelfish Community
75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
20 Gallon Long - QT
10 Gallon - Empty
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-29-2009, 02:07 PM
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Jeaninel is correct, do not use marine or reef sand in a FW tank. It raises pH, adds minerals (some will) and is counter to good plant growth should you be thinking of plants at some point.

On the cleaning issue, a python will suck up sand so you need to run it slightly above the sand surface when vacuuming the sand substrate. That means you can't get down into the substrate like you can with gravel, so you have to be careful not to allow the sand to compact which it will naturally do if left undisturbed (as will gravel). Compaction causes anaerobic conditions in sand or gravel, but the risk is higher with sand. There are differing opinions on the detrimental effects this can have, but it is a biological and chemical fact that it does occur. Some exists in every aquarium and plant roots make use of it as do anaerobic bacteria, but it can be more prevalent in sand. Keeping the sand thin (in depth) and stirring it can prevent trouble. Peter Hiscock has a good section on all this in his excellent book "An Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants," and Karen Randall, Rhonda Wilson and many other plant experts have written on this previously in AFI and TFH.

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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post #4 of 16 Old 06-30-2009, 03:32 AM
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Pool filter sand is a good option, it's a slightly larger grain so wont generally be disturbed enough to be sucked up the intake. It also looks really good.

wondering is the beauty of mystery
Check out my 29g grow out (quite a mixed bunch)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pIY-w8AFk-s
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-30-2009, 07:59 AM
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some great information above.....the only thing i would like to add is the importance of rinsing the sand....it's a pain, but well worth it.....also, when doing a weekly water change i use a plastic fork to "comb" the sand with, it releases all the gas pockets that build up Byron was talking about...

When i did my 20L I put the sand in a 5Lb bucket and filled the water 4 inches over the level of the sand and moved in the sand in the bucket, then waited about 5 seconds and dumped the water slowly. Waiting that 5 seconds or so helps to keep all the small particles in suspense while the heavy stuff sinks. I did this baout 20 TIMES!!!! with that single 5 gallon bucket.

Here's an incredibly imformative post done by Tyy on sand subtrates from a few months back....it'll cover everything you want to know!! It's great

Sand Substrates
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-30-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-30-2009, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Mosser Lee at Lowe's: Desert Sand Decorative Soil Cover


so anything that says play sand, or pool filter sand is good when i go to my local lowes ( i dont have a home depot around)
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-01-2009, 12:47 AM
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so is this sand good

Aqua Chem at Lowe's: 25 lbs. Filter Sand Plus

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Originally Posted by Ohhmgeitsbri View Post
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Mosser Lee at Lowe's: Desert Sand Decorative Soil Cover


so anything that says play sand, or pool filter sand is good when i go to my local lowes ( i dont have a home depot around)
I suspect the pool sand (Aqua Chem) may have something chemical in it. The ingredients or info on the back should tell you. But given its claim to do this and that, and the name "Sand PLUS" it sounds like more than just sand and I wouldn't risk it. Pool filter sand can raise pH too, I learned from another forum.

The other, Desert Sand is a soil cover for plants so presumably it is plain sand, but I would want that confirmed before I used it anywhere near my fish. The manufacturer might tell you, but...is that reliable (what do they know or understand about the risks involved for your aquaria)?

If someone else has used these they may have advice.

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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post #9 of 16 Old 07-01-2009, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
so is this sand good

Aqua Chem at Lowe's: 25 lbs. Filter Sand Plus



I suspect the pool sand (Aqua Chem) may have something chemical in it. The ingredients or info on the back should tell you. But given its claim to do this and that, and the name "Sand PLUS" it sounds like more than just sand and I wouldn't risk it. Pool filter sand can raise pH too, I learned from another forum.

The other, Desert Sand is a soil cover for plants so presumably it is plain sand, but I would want that confirmed before I used it anywhere near my fish. The manufacturer might tell you, but...is that reliable (what do they know or understand about the risks involved for your aquaria)?

If someone else has used these they may have advice.

No I don't think it would... I even did ph tests before and after I put it in my discus tank, the water was 6.5 and a couple of days later it read 6 so the PH actually dropped (not from the sand, but from the water aging)


Just make sure the sand you get has no additives.

wondering is the beauty of mystery
Check out my 29g grow out (quite a mixed bunch)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pIY-w8AFk-s
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-01-2009, 05:56 AM
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I agree with the above members, I wouldn't chance it.....just grab a 50lb bag of cheap "play sand", the kind you would use for a sandbox. It's cheap and looks great....like I said before just wash the living hell out of it!!
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