Sand setup ideas? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-31-2011, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Sand setup ideas?

So just today I turned my 29 gallon into a sand substrate with play sand. I got it to clear up within 3 hours and know I am thinking of the fish and plants that I want to add. Does anyone have any ideas? I want to put in real plants not face ones and does anyone know if the sand has the nutrients for the plants? Also I want to get an idea of what kind of fish are ideal for the tank. I have a friend that wants to get rid of some puffers, dont know what kind. The sand is like a light brown color and looka awesome. I have seen people who have cichlids with the sand and slate, what do you think?

Give me any ideas of what you would do with the tank. It has a penguin bio wheel 150 with a 200 watt heater, turned to the lowest, and two 40 watt florescent bulbs.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-31-2011, 10:35 PM
Sand has absolutely no plant usable nutrients. You will need to fertilize.
You mention that the heater is set to it's lowest point??? You need a temperature of 76 - 78 deg F for tropical fish, regardless of heater set point.
Have you checked your lights - most aquariums come with lighting that's fine for viewing, but will not support anything but very low light plants.

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-31-2011, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Heater is set to the lowest for now because it has no fish and the lights are two 40 watt florecents so the lighting is good. so there is 2.7 watts per gallon, almost 3. I have read that sand does have nutrients but that is why I asked, I will add fertilizer but that is in the future. Thanks

What kind of fish do you like and would you like to see in a 29 gallon?
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-31-2011, 11:38 PM
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I love using sand for a substrate. Do you know what kind of plants you want to get? Plants such as swords and vals will require root tabs to make up for the lack of nutrients in the sand. Although you have plenty of watts, you need to make sure your bulbs are 6500K because that is the optimal range for plant growth. The type of setup is completely up to you. We all have our different opinions, but it ultimately comes down to you. I have a 20 gallon with 7 lemon tetra and a raphael catfish. It is aquascaped with italian val and driftwood.

Advice for anyone new to the hobby: Do your research!! Before you do anything to your aquarium, take some time to research it. It has made a huge difference for me

S.A. Flooded Jungle (20 gallon)
A heavily planted tank. Inhabitants include: 7 Lemon Tetra, 1 Whiptail Catfish, and MTS.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-01-2012, 12:15 AM
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Yeah, sand is inert, no nutrients at all.

Watts per gallon really doesn't mean much.

Like bigfish stated, anything from 5000k to 10,000k will work, 6500 or 6700k being the most common and considered "ideal". What kind of likes are they? Standard T8 florescents?
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-01-2012, 02:00 PM
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Yes, we need more info on the lighting. I am going to guess it may be T5, with two tubes. T5 or T8 makes a difference. Then the type of tubes, as others have mentioned; we can get into specifics later when we know the T issue.

On nutrients, many occur naturally in a tank with fish. Waste (from the feeding of the fish) accumulates on the substrate and should be left there to work down into the sand, where bacteria break it down into nutrients. Some nutrients also come in the tap water, during the weekly partial water change. Depending upon all this, and the type of plants you select, and how many fish, a comprehensive liquid plant fertilizer may be advisable. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is in my view the best, used once weekly.


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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new set up , plants , sand

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