sand substrate - Page 4
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Freshwater and Tropical Fish » sand substrate

sand substrate

This is a discussion on sand substrate within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Tyyrlym This is my tank: 48 Corner - 48 gallon Freshwater fish tank That is the exact kind of sand I ...

Check out these freshwater fish profiles
False Network Catfish
False Network Catfish
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Reply
Old 05-04-2009, 01:28 AM   #31
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyyrlym View Post
This is my tank: 48 Corner - 48 gallon Freshwater fish tank
That is the exact kind of sand I used.

How fine was the sand you used? I bought a bag that looked exactly like the one earlier. But after reviewing your pics i have a feeling mine is made up of larger particles. It also doesn't look as light as yours
yippee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 09:04 AM   #32
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyyrlym View Post
I am personally of the opinion that bacteria in the gravel are over rated. Yes they are present, but unless you're running a UGF set up the filter is such a better environment for them that its a non-issue. In the early stages of cycling a tank you don't want to upset any bacteria that might have gotten started in your tank but once you're going good there's no real reason to be overly concerned about them.

I've been running my big 48 gallon from day 1 with sand and I've never had an issue with ammonia or nitrites after the cycle finished. The filter is more than capable of handling the bioload all by its lonesome.
The importance of bacteria in the gravel has less to do with initial cycling, ammonia or nitrite and much more to do with the long term aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that live in the substrate. And this is a very important issue. That does not mean sand will not work, of course it will; but the aquarist has to recognize the possible issues and ensure the sand does not compact. Nitrogen gas and hydrogen sulphide released into the aquarium from compacted substrate, whatever the medium, is dangerous for the fish (and plant) life. And from what I have read from experienced authors, this is more of a risk with sand because some aquarists do not clean it properly. Vacuuming sand sucks up the sand, so they tend to not do as good a job as they might with something like gravel.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 09:58 AM   #33
 
1077's Avatar
 
I have two tanks with sand substrate approx two inches deep. In the tanks are numerous trumpet snails and corydoras. The waste from these fish is removed every four days with vaccum during water changes. I like the sand because waste remains on the surface as opposed to becoming a part of the substrate. I have done much research on the need for sifting the sand regularly in the absence of snails or bottom dwellers and am beginnining to doubt the danger from the hydrogen sulfhide or nitrogen in sand beds of two inches or less. Some, believe that these gases react almost instantly with oxygen in the water thus rendering them harmless. Others feel as you do ,and yet others site the example of a pond where there may or may not be critters or fish that sift through the substrate and yet there are surely the same bacteria and or gases present. For myself,,I am on the fence. I employ the use of snails and corys and keep the sand no deeper than two inches. Thus far, I have not been sifting the sand manually with any type of tool and have relied on the afore mentioned snails and cory's. In all of the info I have read,I could find no instance in which convincing evidence would lead me to point to the release of toxic gas of some type. Though I would never suggest that others cease stirring their sand substrate ,I have as stated,, doubts about the danger. I am keenly interested in your views and or expieriences, as well as others in this respect.I am not attempting to create any debate for it is still unclear to me as stated. But rather am searching for more information so that I may be able to better understand the views of others,both pro and con. Thanks in advance for any and all responses. Lee.
1077 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 11:41 AM   #34
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1077 View Post
I have two tanks with sand substrate approx two inches deep. In the tanks are numerous trumpet snails and corydoras. The waste from these fish is removed every four days with vaccum during water changes. I like the sand because waste remains on the surface as opposed to becoming a part of the substrate. I have done much research on the need for sifting the sand regularly in the absence of snails or bottom dwellers and am beginnining to doubt the danger from the hydrogen sulfhide or nitrogen in sand beds of two inches or less. Some, believe that these gases react almost instantly with oxygen in the water thus rendering them harmless. Others feel as you do ,and yet others site the example of a pond where there may or may not be critters or fish that sift through the substrate and yet there are surely the same bacteria and or gases present. For myself,,I am on the fence. I employ the use of snails and corys and keep the sand no deeper than two inches. Thus far, I have not been sifting the sand manually with any type of tool and have relied on the afore mentioned snails and cory's. In all of the info I have read,I could find no instance in which convincing evidence would lead me to point to the release of toxic gas of some type. Though I would never suggest that others cease stirring their sand substrate ,I have as stated,, doubts about the danger. I am keenly interested in your views and or expieriences, as well as others in this respect.I am not attempting to create any debate for it is still unclear to me as stated. But rather am searching for more information so that I may be able to better understand the views of others,both pro and con. Thanks in advance for any and all responses. Lee.
There are differing opinions on this as with most aspects of the hobby [just look at how many say fishless cycling is the only way, others use fish...both methods can work fine but there are dangers that should be understood to ensure it does work] and I (like you if I'm understanding correctly) recognize the good and not so good aspects of each. When it comes to my aquaria, I recognize first and foremost that it is a closed system (aside from gaseous exchange at the surface) and the fish are captives in that system. They have no means of escape, should something go wrong. [Here, as an aside, your analogy about a pond--in nature, a number of forces are at work to cause water/oxygen movement through the substrates of all lakes, ponds, rivers, etc., and if such does not occur, the fish have either adapted to manage (e.g., catfish that can breathe air) or by natural instinct they avoid the trouble; or of course they also sometimes die.] I therefore try to provide an environment where I can have some degree of confidence that unless I interfere in some negative manner, things will for the most part be OK. This will ensure the fish's health, and they will reward me with interesting natural behaviours. I spend hours sitting and just observing the small piece of nature that I have put together.

When it comes to the biological processes that make or break a system, I try to research as much as I can and learn from others. I accept the majority opinion from those I expect will have a better scientific knowledge when it comes to things that I am nowhere near qualified to understand on my own. It's like going to the doctor when something goes wrong internally; I have to trust that he knows more than I do, and follow his advice. Hopefully it will be correct. But sometimes we get a second opinion. That doesn't mean the first is wrong, but maybe there's a better treatment. I did this when I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago; I opted for the treatment rather than surgery, and today I'm glad I did.

Back to our aquaria, and the issue at hand. As you Lee well know, the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium does not come to an end once the tank is cycled. I'm here considering planted aquaria because that is what I maintain. The substrate is rich in organic material (waste, added fertilizers) 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. 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. All of this is just a scientific summation paraphrased from Peter Hiscock's 2003 book "Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants" which is for me the best of several explanations I have come across.

Regardless of what material we use for the substrate, these natural biological processes will operate. I can't prove the existence of specific gasses or bacteria, but on the overwhelming scientific information I must assume they do exist, and I also have some practical experience. Back in the days when undergravel filtration was the norm (I used that in my tanks in the 1960's to 1980's) there was always the danger of the substrate clogging up in "dead spots." I personally experienced such dead spots, and the smell of hydrogen sulphide (like rotten eggs I guess) when I ran into these dead spots cleaning a drained tank is not easily forgotten. Then I didn't know why this happened or how; it was just "dirty" which meant I didn't clean the tank enough (or so I thought in my naivety). Now I understand it is a biological process that I can control to some extent by how I maintain my aquarium.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 01:13 PM   #35
 
1077's Avatar
 
Byron, Thank you for sharing your views on this topic. I share many of them. It occurs to me that my previous post was incomplete in one respect. I stated that despite the research I have done thus far, I could find no convincing evidence, that would point me to toxins. I meant to add ... None that would point to toxins, as sole cause of sickness or death. I firmly believe the toxins are there,just not sure that in sand depth of two inches or less,that they could pose too much of a threat assuming(always a bad thing),, that some degree of maint. is performed (ie)vaccuming ,and regular water changes to remove the dissolved solids and particulates that help contribute to these toxins.I do believe that without proper maint, those bottom hugging fish in deep sand beds,could possibly suffer negatively. I shall keep researching ,,and once again,, Thank you for taking the time to share your views . I feel that those here, including myself are fortunate to have someone such as you ,willing to take the time to explain things in a manner easily grasped.
1077 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 02:06 PM   #36
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by veganchick View Post
I LOVE black sand, but it is SUPER expensice, at petmsart it was 20 dollars for 7.5 pounds!
actually right now its 20 bucks for 20 pounds, however its ultra fine tahitian moon sand.
whitedevil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #37
 
1077,

to help eliminate gas pockets in the sand, use a chopstick or my preferred method because it leaves the sand very nice and neat when done is to go to a beauty store, get a hair pik, tape or somehow affix the pik to the vacuum I give my sand depth plus 1/2-1" of "space" from the vacuum to the sand surface, I dont vacuum up nearly ANY sand and what I do vacuum up fits into a contact lens case.

It takes care of the pockets unless you have burrowing fish like eels and such of gas. One thing with sand is the cyano or however its spelled on the sand.
I got rid of mine but every now and then a small pocket will pop up and I jsut get rid of it and do the water change.

Byron, I am with 1077, very good article,im gonna keep it.
whitedevil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2009, 08:27 AM   #38
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yippee View Post
How fine was the sand you used? I bought a bag that looked exactly like the one earlier. But after reviewing your pics i have a feeling mine is made up of larger particles. It also doesn't look as light as yours
I can't speak to the particle size honestly. I've bought four bags of the stuff now at differing times and stores and all have been the same grain size. The perspective might be off, remember my tank is 48 gallons and I don't have a lot of shots of my substrate up close.
Tyyrlym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2009, 08:48 AM   #39
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
I am personally of the opinion that stirring a sand substrate is not necessary. I have done research into the chemistry and biology of what's often stated as happening in a sand substrate and I have to say that I'm not convinced by popular opinion. Chemically the gases produced in a sand substrate are poisonous. The key is that they break down rapidly in well oxygenated water. So when you see a bubble pop out of the substrate the small amounts of gas that dissolve into the water before the bubble reaches the surface and breaks are minuscule and the water the gases dissolve into immediately reduces them down to non-poisonous compounds. That's why you get a nose full of rotten egg smell and the urge to puke instead of dropping dead on the spot when you clean out an old fish tank that had a sand substrate.

While there's anecdotal evidence that these gas pockets can kill your fish anecdotes are not actual evidence. I rarely see any discussion as to other possibilities as to what could have been lethal to the fish. It's simply, sand substrate that's been undisturbed, stir it up, fish die, and people immediately point to gas pockets without any further consideration. And honestly, I have never personally seen anyone say that's happened to them. Never. I've seen plenty of people who've heard it or stories and caution people to always stir their sand but never anyone who has actually had it happen to them.

Based off what I know of the chemistry, biology, and nature of sand beds, I'm just not buying that anaerobic gas pockets are just waiting to kill off all your fish if you don't stir your sand. If someone can show me some hard proof that I'm wrong instead of just a "I heard from so and so..." that's my stand on the subject. As a rule I don't tell people to not stir their sand as its not really detrimental to the tank provided it's done properly, but I also don't say its an absolute requirement.
Tyyrlym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2009, 12:48 PM   #40
 
Ive never seen or heard of it till this forum, I stir mine to stir it, but I stir by vacuum and hair pik.

The ocean, its full of sand, has dead zones, but usually thats from gases below the sand, I think people are making that comparison and putting the idea into the hobbyist's head.


I grew up on imperial beach,ca. Not once was this ever even talked about around there. They say to keep sand either at 1" or around 6" deep for optimal conditions for the sand. Im not sure im wording it right.

I just use a 5# rock to move the sand around between cleanings, it displaces enough weight on the sand to move it around, put it on one side of the tank 24" away and it makes a drift against the opposite side of the tank usually around 1" maybe more gets moved across the tank. The best advice for sand tanks is understanding how sand works.

Last edited by whitedevil; 05-06-2009 at 12:55 PM..
whitedevil is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Using Sand as a substrate TheRummy Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 09-18-2009 10:13 PM
sand/substrate lowco1 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 02-27-2009 03:22 PM
Sand for substrate imafry Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 03-30-2008 09:03 AM
sand for a substrate Follow It Home Beginner Planted Aquarium 3 01-27-2008 01:28 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:49 PM.