06-22-2010, 05:03 AM
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Sand is definitely ideal for them, perhaps even absolutely required. They like to burrow and rearrange their shells (which are also vital for these guys) to their liking, and since they're so small they can have trouble doing that with gravel. About a pound per gallon is usually fine. If your water isn't naturally suited to these guys you could look into getting sand designed for African cichilds (often sold as cichlid sand or aragonite sand) as it will help keep your pH and hardness up. If your tap water is already hard and basic, you can just use something like play sand or any other inert sand (black sand looks really nice, too). To care for it, basically you just need to stir it up every once in a while to keep anaerobic pockets from forming, or you can get something like Malaysian trumpet snails to keep it stirred for you (a lot of times fish stores will have infestations of these guys and will give you some for free). To clean it, you just hover the gravel vac a few inches from the surface to collect the waste that rises to the top of the sand and to avoid sucking up too much of the sand itself. If you do use sand, especially play sand, make sure you rinse it really, really well before adding it to your tank as it can really cloud your water up otherwise with the dust.