SO I absolutely HATE my gravel
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SO I absolutely HATE my gravel

This is a discussion on SO I absolutely HATE my gravel within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> And I am considering getting some play sand today...first off, does regular play sand affect ph? How do I go through with removing the ...

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SO I absolutely HATE my gravel
Old 01-01-2010, 11:46 PM   #1
 
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SO I absolutely HATE my gravel

And I am considering getting some play sand today...first off, does regular play sand affect ph? How do I go through with removing the old gravel while the fish and plants are still in the tank? Will it harm my fish with all the particles everywhere? What about my filters...how will those handle the sand? Also, how will this affect my beneficial bacteria? This tank is very stable and I really dont wanna screw it up...please someone respond asap! Also will my plants be ok?

This is for my 28 Gallon.

Last edited by Kelso; 01-01-2010 at 11:51 PM..
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:11 AM   #2
 
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And is there any sand that you guys would recommend in particular? Possibly a black sand out there? And if not sand, something fine like 1-2 mm

Last edited by Kelso; 01-02-2010 at 12:13 AM..
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
 
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For a freshwater aquarium? You can't easily have sand in a freshwater aquarium, to my knowledge. It does affect ph and hardness and/or alkalinity. It's really only for saltwater aquariums.
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:35 AM   #4
 
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I have sand in all my tanks. My biggest tank is a 55 gal. I put Pool filter sand into it. I got it from a pool supply place. It was $11.99 for 50lbs. I like this sand as it is not super fine and is a tannish color. When putting this in your tank you need to rinse it well in a 5 gal. bucket. I had the filter off when putting it in my tank. When the sand settles the water will become uncloudy. It takes a day or two before the water clears up. I just rinse the filter pad over the next week or so. I have black sand in all my other tanks that I bought at my local fish store. Beware of the very fine black sand as it is like coal on your hands and tank and is very messy. I will never go back to gravel after adding the sand. I love it and it is easy to clean. If algae gets on the lighter sand I just rub it between my hands and it comes clean. All food and mess will settle on the top of the sand and it is easy to clean. lighter color sand makes your tanks brighter but the black sand shows off your plants and the fish that are colorful. Also black sand has iron in it so it is good for your plants. I have a solid black background also so the glo-lights, Rasboras, Boesmani rainbow fish show up really nice better then a background with a picture. Getting a mirror cut to fit the back that is thinner also adds depth to the tank but this can show up with algae and needs to be cleaned more. You will like the sand over the gravel. I have 2 bushy nosed plecos that just love the sand, corys like the sand also.

Sand is fine for Freshwater aquariums. I have had no issues with my community fish in all my tanks. My ph is 7.5-7.8 and all my fish have been fine even my 2 large angelfish.

Your puffers, corys, loach will be fine in the sand. I have a friend that has loaches and corys in her freshwater tanks with sand and they are fine. Your puffer will be ok in a ph of 7.5-7-8 I checked this out. Go for the sand. Cleaning it will tank some time but it is worth it in the long run. Save some of your gravel and put it in a nylon stocking thing so that your good bacteria will seed the new sand you put in.

You will have to take the fish out of the tank and put them in a bucket while taking out the gravel from your tank. I would just leave the heater plugged in and hang that in the bucket while you get the old gravel out and the new sand rinsed. That's how I did my tank when I converted it from gravel to sand. Get 5 gal. buckets from Homedepot to clean the tank. Keep some of your water that you remove to put back into your tank. Less stress on the fish with the old water used.

Last edited by eileen; 01-02-2010 at 12:53 AM..
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:08 AM   #5
 
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WOW! Thanks so much for all the info! I got some coolers I use specifically for my fish, so that'll work. I know exactly where there is a pool place around here so this'll work awesomely. Thanks so much!!!
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:28 AM   #6
 
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You can sell the excess sand on craigslist. I added more sand to my 55 gal. and sold the rest on craigslist for someone that had a 5-10 gal. tank. You can add the extra sand and convert your smaller tanks with it instead of selling it. When I rinsed it outside It was not perfectly clear but I added it to my tank and just let it settle and ran the filter and like I said rinsed out the filter pad with treated water. Take a before picture and an after picture. See the big difference in the 2 pictures Gravel/to sand. Post the pictures so we all can see.
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:47 AM   #7
 
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I like the substrate in my DP's tank. It's this Active-flora...it actually worked...it cycled the tank instantly. I may add sand to my betta tank though...its got like small beach pebbles, so it'll look nice. I can't wait...I will def post pics...hopefully i can get this sand before the weekend ends!

Last edited by Kelso; 01-02-2010 at 01:56 AM..
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:42 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelso View Post
And I am considering getting some play sand today...first off, does regular play sand affect ph? How do I go through with removing the old gravel while the fish and plants are still in the tank? Will it harm my fish with all the particles everywhere? What about my filters...how will those handle the sand? Also, how will this affect my beneficial bacteria? This tank is very stable and I really dont wanna screw it up...please someone respond asap! Also will my plants be ok?

This is for my 28 Gallon.
Yup you sure can use play sand, check out any of my tanks with sand in them, that's all play sand
Make sure to wash it outside first a few times. Easiest way: Add some to a big bucket stir water in, stir it up, dump water out & do it again & again
I have super soft water here and it raised my hardness by 1 degree, wasn't even enough to effect the pH. And that was the regular play sand from the Homestore.

Best to do: Take all plants out into a bucket of tank water; Get a 2nd bucket with tank water for the fish. Then drain all remaining water, take a dustpan and scoop up your unwanted gravel into bucket no 3
I'd nor recommend doing it with your fish in it.
As long as you don't mess with your filter (eg washing sponges) your BB will be just fine.

Done that so many times this way, no harm ever. Nowadays I make up my mind FIRST and set the tank up the way I want to FIRST
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:43 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy View Post
For a freshwater aquarium? You can't easily have sand in a freshwater aquarium, to my knowledge. It does affect ph and hardness and/or alkalinity. It's really only for saltwater aquariums.
Freddy, that's not correct. You can indeed use play sand, pool sand or for that matter if you like to spent bunch $ the sand from the LFS for FRESHwater tanks.
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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Excellant info on the sand. I think with my new first tank I will go with sand. I am still deciding on the black vs play/tan sand though. I really like the idea of black and I am planning on planting so the iron will help. Does tan sand have iron in it too? I tested our tap water today for the first time after letting a glass sit out over night and there is no iron in it or extremely small trace amounts at most.

But our water is already hard in the 8-9 range so I don't really want it going up based on what I have researched for the type of fish I am looking at. Would small grain gravel raise the hardness as much as sand? I suppose all "sandy/gravelly" material would to some extent no?

I like the idea of the black or very dark blue background and dark sand to help show off the plants and fish a lot.
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