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Sand vs. Gravel
Does it matter if I start my freshwater fish tank with sand instead of gravel? I know most use gravel, but I think sand looks more natural. Has anyone done this? I know you need to wash gravel before you put it in a tank, but do you need to wash sand? I guess I could do it by mixing it with water and then using a very fine strainer to get rid of the water... Has anyone else put sand in their freshwater fish tank?
I have only seen sand in saltwater tanks. I can't see why you couldn't use sand in a freshwater tank, though. Just be careful because a lot of the aquarium sand pet stores sell is treated with bacteria meant for saltwater tanks. I'm not sure how it would affect a freshwater setup.
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if you are going to get sand get playsand at home depot or any other hardware store, it does suck to clean, but it is like $30 cheaper than getting other sands, which it sounds like you do not need. Here is a link to cleaning sand, it looks simple, but any other way will take ten times longer.
Sometimes you have to worry about the roughness or size if you have specific bottom dwellers or feeders. For example rays need sand or they scratch themselves when burying. Otherwise i always use gravel becasue fish waste and stuff doesn't sit on top of it like it does with sand. A small sized gravel in a natural brown or tan color usually does the job.
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