sand or gravel? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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sand or gravel?

i have a gravel aquarium but me and my wife where thinking of converting over to sand but i was wondering how is the maint nence and cleaning could i still use my Top Fin® Aquarium Gravel Vacuum

was just wondering it looks nice with sand
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 02:53 PM
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Once people go from gravel to sand, they don't go back to gravel....

I have converted all of my tanks and find the sand to be much easier to maintain, not to mention looking 100X better. And the fish prefer it.

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post #3 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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how do you clean it?
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 03:39 PM
I did sand once, then I went to ultrafine gravel. Sand is just messy IMO. It looks great, but it has its drawbacks such as compaction, anerobic pockets, and its easily disturbed. However, it is very easy to plant.

The ultrafine is much better IMO, retains most of the benefits and few of the drawbacks. It doesn't look as nice, but its easier to maintain and scape with.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 04:01 PM
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Get pool filter sand. Cheap for a 50 lb bag. Easy to clean too. You might suck up some sand in the gravel, but not much. In fact i take off the gravel vac and just use the hose to vac the debri and poop. Also you will have to stur the sand up a bit to realse gases that get trapped when it packs down. Youll love the sand, promise! Youll be spending less when sand is involved, doesnt cost anywhere close as much as gravel. Looks way more natural too, and it doesnt affect the ph or hardness of the water.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 04:04 PM
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Also, if you get pool filter sand, you do not have to clean and rinse it before putting it in. Just add to tank, place a plate or bowl in and the water, let the water overflow over the bowl and your all set.
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
Once people go from gravel to sand, they don't go back to gravel....

I have converted all of my tanks and find the sand to be much easier to maintain, not to mention looking 100X better. And the fish prefer it.
I noticed you have ADFs listed in your signature. You don't find they end up eating the sand and having digestive problems?
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-04-2012, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
I did sand once, then I went to ultrafine gravel. Sand is just messy IMO. It looks great, but it has its drawbacks such as compaction, anerobic pockets, and its easily disturbed. However, it is very easy to plant.

The ultrafine is much better IMO, retains most of the benefits and few of the drawbacks. It doesn't look as nice, but its easier to maintain and scape with.
Where do you find ultrafine gravel? Is it like the Caribsea stuff I see at Petsmart?
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-05-2012, 12:14 AM
Ultrafine is like 1-2mm wide in diameter. They are listed as sand sometimes and then fine gravel other times. I think mine was Aqua Terra? The black i used is a bit light for substrate, but the natural colored ones were very easy to use.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-05-2012, 03:51 AM
Either sand or gravel can work very well once we rule out extremes. For instance, pea sized gravel looks great but just isn't a good substrate because food gets too quickly is out of reach and plants don't root well. Sand is great except glaring white and black may be less than desirable. Personally, I like small natural gravel or tan colored sand.

Now for sand, whether play sand or pool filter sand, make sure you rinse well - and I'm talking bucket and hose rinsing outside (cool beverage optional). You really want to rinse it really, really well to remove the 'fines' (dust like particles) lest you'll be fighting cloudy water after it's in the tank.

As for cleaning, unless heavily planted, fine gravel may require the occasional gravel siphon cleaning. For sand, it's merely a hover over method as needed. Also for sand, some feel it needs to be stirred. I think if you have some Malasian Trumpet Snails to stir the upper inch (or stir the upper inch during weekly water changes) your fine. Again, moot if the tank is heavily planted. And don't worry about anaerobic regions down under as they are inevitable and not the concern some seem to think. (It's actually stirring detritus deep into anaerobic regions that can present a problem.)

So there you go...sand or fine gravel. Both work well. In some ways, sand may have a slight edge.

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