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Sand big mistake!

This is a discussion on Sand big mistake! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I'm glad I came across this post. I've been playing around with the idea of doing a sand-based tank as well. I'm still a ...

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:37 PM   #11
 
I'm glad I came across this post. I've been playing around with the idea of doing a sand-based tank as well. I'm still a bit of a beginner in the aquarium world, but my current tank is running amazingly! Yet, would you all recommend waiting to deal with sand once I'm a bit more experienced? It just sounds a bit more...finicky.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #12
 
I see more sand in saltwater than fresh I think babe Maybe the different filtering mechanisms are what make it possible.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:45 PM   #13
 
Could be. Just want to make sure we don't complicate anything more than necessary in the beginning.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:48 PM   #14
 
We have plenty of time to research. I look forward to more replies on the subject.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:18 AM   #15
 
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There isn't much to sand, some things are easier. With gravel, waste can easily slip down into all the cracks and you must use a gravel vac to suck it all out if you do not have live plants. While in sand, you just have to hover the vac over the surface.

Sand can compact though, so I wouldn't make your sand thicker than 1.5 inches as a maximum. Malaysian Trumpet Snails are good to have with sand, they burrow into the sand and help keep it from forming dead pockets. You can usually get these for free from most stores as they are considered a pest snail. They self reproduce, so even just one will soon become many. They spend their days under the sand for the most part, so you won't see them all that much. They come out at night.

Some fish, however, really should only be used with sand. A popular one is Cory Catfish. They root around in the sand looking for food. In gravel tanks, you run the risk of them damaging their barbels which can lead to an infection. A lot of loaches are much better in sand too.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:41 AM   #16
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Three6s View Post
I see more sand in saltwater than fresh I think babe Maybe the different filtering mechanisms are what make it possible.
Well, yes and no. Many, if not most SW systems use a sump, so there's an overflow near the top of the tank where fine particles of sand will never go and even if it did, would be trapped below in the mechanical media long before it ever reached a return pump.
However, if it's well washed/rinsed to remove the fines, sand should not find itself four plus inches off the bottom to get into an intake tube strainer.

Sand has the advantage, as Geomancer mentioned, of debris/mulm/uneaten food collecting on top, rather than settling deep within the cracks and crevices. This eliminates uneaten food and allows material to slowly decay on the surface or is easily removed with a hovering siphon.

Some express concerns about anaerobic regions that create hydrogen sulfide gases. Well, this is really a myth. Deep sand works just fine when it is not disturbed. There are some that are convinced they should stir deep sand to keep lower regions aerated. This is a mistake. First, beneficial bacteria take up residence in levels most suited to them and disrupting the colony impedes it's performance. Also, stirring the sand potentially mixes organic matter into anaerobic regions where anaerobic decomposition results in black, putrid materials and gases.
So if you use sand, either use only 1-2", or with deep sand (3" plus), leave undisturbed. Note: Deep sand offers greater bio-filtration capability.
Also, some sands are not well suited to deep sand. Very fine sands tend to pack and become too dense. For deep sand, I think pool filter sand, or sand with a similar grain size is best.

Also, some believe that Maylasian Trumpet Snails are beneficial in sand because they keep it aerated. Actually, MTS, although beneficial, require oxygen, so they will only exist in the upper inch or so of sand where oxygen is already plentiful.

For many reasons, I think sand, and especially deep sand is better than gravel. My 60g has 3"+ of [pool filter] sand.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:54 AM   #17
 
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I've been convinced to join the other side as well. I'm trying to get my 40 breeder running & wanted sand as the substrate. After checking out prices for aquarium sand, I was convinced I could use something else. After researching, I decided on using Black Diamond blasting sand from Northern Tool & Equipment. It was so much cheaper than sand from the LFS. I think I paid around $8 for a 50 lb. bag. It's a deep, rich black & is really sparkly, too!
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:43 PM   #18
 
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I plan to go Filterless, how and would that be possible?
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:48 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trofishlore View Post
I plan to go Filterless, how and would that be possible?
Very, very, very few fish .... and lots of plants.

You still need water movement to ensure heat distribution, and nutrient movement.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:55 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geomancer View Post
Very, very, very few fish .... and lots of plants.

You still need water movement to ensure heat distribution, and nutrient movement.
I'm selling all my Tetras and just having one small Koi. Adding in Java moss, Jungle Val, and Dwarf Sag. The negative would be the Koi's eating behavior towards the plants.
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