Is my substrate suitable?
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Is my substrate suitable?

This is a discussion on Is my substrate suitable? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Hi, I have a white sillica sand substrate and i want to fully plant the aquarium. Would my substrate be sufficiant with added fertiliser ...

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Is my substrate suitable?
Old 04-08-2012, 05:20 AM   #1
 
Is my substrate suitable?

Hi,

I have a white sillica sand substrate and i want to fully plant the aquarium. Would my substrate be sufficiant with added fertiliser or would i have to change it. I am in the early stages of planning and i dont want to rush into it, only to get it wrong.

Thanks
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
 
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Any substrate will work for plants, provided it is small gravel or smaller (sand).

However, white isn't very good for fish because it is very bright, and they don't like it. Plus there colors show better with a dark substrate.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:07 PM   #3
 
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I agree. Most of the fish we keep come from habitats with dark substrates, whether mud, gravel, sand, covered with leaf litter, etc.

If you like sand, as I do, the Quikrete Play Sand that you can get from Home Depot or Lowe's (and probably elsewhere) works well, Inow have it in 4 of my tanks. It is a tan/gray mix, and very similar to much of the sand in Amazon streams, so quite authentic.

Sand or fine gravel are fine for plants. Nutrients can be added via liquid fertilizer, and for some plants like swords, the substrate fertilizer tabs work well too.

Byron.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:50 PM   #4
 
You shouldn't have white sand because fish adapt to substrate showing it with colors, having white sand will make your fish bit white or grey, I had bright gravel and since I have darker one my fish change color to more intense.

Another thing is that fish adjust their colors to substrate because they don't want to be seen from miles away. It's like their natural cover. Having yellow substrate and red tail shark might be easy for you to find it in the tank and look nice but fish don't need so much attention and they don't feel right there.

I would only recommend natural gravel, nothing like so called natural blue gravel etc
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:03 AM   #5
 
Thanks guys.

Reading all you replys i have decided it best to change my sand to a more natural looking sand. Is this going to be problem for me or is there an easy way of changing it?
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:18 AM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Micromax View Post
Thanks guys.

Reading all you replys i have decided it best to change my sand to a more natural looking sand. Is this going to be problem for me or is there an easy way of changing it?
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With sand, it is best to remove all the existing and add the new in one go. Are there fish in this tank now? And if yes, do you have a spare tank to hold them for a few hours while you change the sand?
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:25 AM   #7
 
I have got fish in there at this time. And in my other tank i have a a mating pair of betta fish so thats not an option at the minute. Can it be changed with fish in the tank without causing any excesive stress?? Or should i buy a holding tank? This would give me a good excuse to the wife as to why i need another tank.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:31 AM   #8
 
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I have got fish in there at this time. And in my other tank i have a a mating pair of betta fish so thats not an option at the minute. Can it be changed with fish in the tank without causing any excesive stress?? Or should i buy a holding tank? This would give me a good excuse to the wife as to why i need another tank.
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I have always had a spare tank and frequently make use of it. What size is the existing main tank?

Changing substrate with fish in the tank can be done, but the comotion is going to be very stressful on the fish--and you. Without fish in the tank, you can take your time to get it right. As one who has done this many times, I recomend a spare tank.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
 
L 48x W15x D26 inches.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:43 AM   #10
 
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L 48x W15x D26 inches.
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I have used a 30g and even a 20g tank to house the fish from my 4 and 5-foot tanks. Unless you have huge fish (8-inch oscar or something) this will work. Just the tank is all you need, though it is good to have some cover, a sheet of glass or plastic, as fish will often jump under minimal stress.

The spare tank can be filled with water from the main tank, any wood or rock moved over, then the fish. Run the filter on the spare tank, it can just sit on the frame, so long as it is running with tank water, and the heater.

Drain the big tank and remove the substrate. At this point, I'm going to copy over what I wrote moments ago in another thread as it is applicable here.

Add the new substrate to the second tank. With playsand I rinse it as best as I can, dump it in the empty tank, then add about 5-6 inches of water, drain it out--this will remove a lot of fine dirt that got missed during the rinsing. Then add the hardscape (wood, rocks). Then carefully (to avoid stirring up the sand--a dish on the substrate helps) add some tap water using a dechlorinator immediately it starts to fill (to preserve the bacteria on the wood or rock if it came from an existing tank). Fill about 2/3 to 3/4 with tap water that is the same temp as the existing tank or warmer--never cooler. Move over the plants. Then move the filter and heaters over. Top up the water sufficient for the filters/heaters.

At this point I would check the pH of both tanks to ensure they are reasonably close. A difference of .5 or .6 is fine, but if it is greater, I would do a major water change in the existing tank where the fish still are, 1/2 or a bit more.

Lower the water at least half in the tank with the fish and move them over. Top up the new tank if needed. A good cover of floating plants is advisable.

Byron.
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