Originally Posted by Blackfeet
I have a couple questions. I let my wife chose the substrate and it turned out to be a course quartz gravel. I want to replace it with play sand. How fast can I do the switch?
Second is I have seen colored play sand, is it aquarium safe? I don't plan on using it as it is just as expensive as live aquarium sand just curious
Second question first, some coloured gravels are coated and will lose the coating over time. I had this happen once to black gravel that began to turn blue as the black came off. Also, a natural sand/gravel works best if you want a natural looking tank. Any colour of substrate aside from brown/black/tan will not look "natural" and will distract from the colours of the fish and plants. Several members who have started out with coloured gravels frequently tire of them quickly, because they are so "obvious."
To the first question, it is not difficult to change a substrate (I've done this many times) but it is always best to do it with the fish removed to a temporary tank [or another tank you having running]. I have a 20g tank that I keep as a spare and use it for this; unless you have huge fish, a 20g works in most cases. Depending upon the size of the display tank, I would set aside a day to do this, and start about half an hour after the lights come on to give the fish a chance to fully "wake up."