Sand - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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So fluorite is out with my cories then
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post #22 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 08:03 AM
I was thinking of putting sand in my tank as well but then i thought.... i was going to using malaysion trumpet snails in my tank. So the snails will will stir the sand as well as help eat loose debris in the tank. BUT wouldnt the snails also defecate under the sand? How would i clean the waste if its buried in the sand and wouldnt that pollute the tank?

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post #23 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 09:30 AM
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Um you have to clean that mess.

Its easy, chopstick and a gravel vac. set the chopstick to depth of sand PLUS 3/4-1" tape it on and vacuum like normal, the chopstick sets your depth so you dont suck up alot of sand. If you do collect into a clean bucket you can recomp the sand and put it back in after a good rinse out just to get rid of any debris in it.

I find sand easier to clean then gravel and the end results are that of vail colorado, as in the combing and cleanleness. I got white sand so I compare it to fresh snow after a solid cleaning.
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Blaxicanlatino View Post
I was thinking of putting sand in my tank as well but then i thought.... i was going to using malaysion trumpet snails in my tank. So the snails will will stir the sand as well as help eat loose debris in the tank. BUT wouldnt the snails also defecate under the sand? How would i clean the waste if its buried in the sand and wouldnt that pollute the tank?
In planted aquaria the substrate, whether sand, gravel or pebbles, is rich in organic material (waste, added fertilizers if you add them) and naturally contains bacteria that break down the organics into nutrients that can be used by the plants. The bacteria quickly use up the oxygen that is in the water permeating the substrate, and the substrate becomes anaerobic. At this point, different bacteria form, those that either do not use much oxygen or can manufacture their own. These anaerobic bacteria release toxic gases like hydrogen sulphide which can cause plant roots to rot, damage fish health, and encourage algae. But these conditions also prevent the binding of nutrients with oxygen molecules, and as the bacteria use the nitrates, nitrogen gas is released, an important plant nutrient. At the same time, healthy plant roots release oxygen into the substrate. So there is a lot of activity down there.

As long as the substrate is not too fine and compact, the combination of slow-moving water currents and the release of oxygen by the plant roots should prevent the majority of the substrate from becoming anaerobic. Malaysian livebearing snails assist in this process by burrowing through the substrate. Anaerobic patches do occur in denser areas, but being small (normally) they will not produce large amounts of toxic gasses but still allow nutrients to be available to the plants.

In aquaria without rooted polants, the same biological action occurs, except obviously there are no plant roots to add oxygen; but the general process is similar. All waste is broken down by bacteria, whether under water or on land. The aim in a closed system like an aquarium is not to have more than what can be handled safely. Thnis is one (and only one) of the problems associated with too great a biomass in a tank. But in a tank that is biologically balanced and has regular maintenance (weekly partial water changes with substrate vacuuming) this will never be a problem.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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post #25 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 11:11 AM
Yep you basically don't clean the substrate in planted tanks. Doing so disturbs the plant roots. When using sand, it is suggested to use a chopstick or similar utensil to gently shift the substrate if you have problems with dead spots. I avoid sand in planted tanks, it requires more work than gravel IMO. I also have no luck grow plants in inert substrates and feel that the natural compaction of sand effects root growth..All my tanks use gravel some of which has not been touched in almost a year. The only issue with this is that disturbing the gravel in excess is not a good idea. I've torn down and moved planted tanks before, as soon as you start scooping gravel the tank goes black.

Byond what would you do with excessive waste build up? I have two adult caecilians in one of my planted tanks and I am getting concerned about the amount of waste they are throwing into the substrate. Especially around the area where they sleep, the waste in the substrate is visable through the glass as a nice poo colored layer.

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post #26 of 26 Old 05-05-2009, 11:46 AM
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Yep you basically don't clean the substrate in planted tanks. Doing so disturbs the plant roots. When using sand, it is suggested to use a chopstick or similar utensil to gently shift the substrate if you have problems with dead spots. I avoid sand in planted tanks, it requires more work than gravel IMO. I also have no luck grow plants in inert substrates and feel that the natural compaction of sand effects root growth..All my tanks use gravel some of which has not been touched in almost a year. The only issue with this is that disturbing the gravel in excess is not a good idea. I've torn down and moved planted tanks before, as soon as you start scooping gravel the tank goes black.

Byond what would you do with excessive waste build up? I have two adult caecilians in one of my planted tanks and I am getting concerned about the amount of waste they are throwing into the substrate. Especially around the area where they sleep, the waste in the substrate is visable through the glass as a nice poo colored layer.
I have never before come across anyone with caecilians, the aquatic ones (I assume this is what you have) or the land ones native to the eastern US. Don't have these myself, but have observed the aquatic ones on display in the Amphibian gallery of the Vancouver Public Aquarium and Marine Science Centre. Fascinating creatures. I'm quite fond of amphibians. For several years I had a collection of frogs and newts, and a few salamanders. A pair of newts bred once, and the last of the young lived into his 21 year, and would probably still be with me if he hadn't managed to crawl out and dry up in a corner where I couldn't find him. My Bombina orientalis frog lived into his 19th year, not bad for a species with a 10-13 year life expectancy; he was quite interactive, and never minded sitting in my hand when fed bits of squid and such on my fingertip.

To your question, I would vacuum the substrate thoroughly every week. I did this in my frog and newt tanks (never used filters in my amphibian tanks, just changed all of the water every week and thoroughly vacuumed the gravel when I did).

In my planted aquaria I vacuum the gravel by going just above the surface where I can easily get; only along the front where there are no plants do I dig about an inch into the gravel. I feed tablets to the corys in this area and like to keep it fairly clean as some say it can affect their barbels. I've a plethora of Malaysian snails so I suspect the gravel bed is probably not in bad shape bacteria-wise, and of course there is a fair bit of mulm and such throughout, but that's natural and as long as the bacteria equilibrium isn't upset I believe it is OK. I've had planted aquaria set up for several years (usually only pulled down when moving the tank or house) and never observed anything amiss.

Byron.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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