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Substrate swap journal
I have a coloured gravel substrate in both of my tanks.
Three main reasons I am switching to a sand substrate:
1. I have Schwartzs cory (Corydoras schwartzi). Sand will make them more comfortable.
2. I have 2 amazon swords, a wide leaf sag (Chilensis), and two something that look like ludwigia repens. Only the swords have rooted kind of OK. Others will be easier in the sand.
3. Education! I want to gain some experience with different substrates before I start my 120g.
The journal entry starts with finalizing what I am going to use, and pool filter sand or play sand (whichever I find first before going to home depot) is the winner!
You won't find pool filter sand at Home Depot, but playsand is "better" from what I've heard. You will need to do lots, and lots of rinsing with play sand. That is a lot of sand in a 120 gallon. Have fun! :)
I saw play sand today and it was very fine! I was just worried it would cake at the bottom of my tank, will come up in my gravel vac... and... I could not possibly carry a 60 Lb bag and walk a mile and half home! LOLz
The 120g is going to be a discus juve grow out tank till they get bigger so that I can convert it into a planted tank slowly. So initially it will have sand just enough to hide the glass base.
With sand you don't vacuum it like you do gravel. You just hover over it and pick up obvious debris. It's so much nicer than gravel, but washing it can be a BIG job. You have to decide if it's worth it. If you aren't putting plants in, you don't need it to be too deep. It doesn't get sucked up into the filter. You do want to make sure your intake is 3" from the sand, and if you are stirring up the sand, turn your filter off.
Agree. I now have Quikrete Play Sand from HD in five of my seven tanks and I like it. You only want 2 to 2.5 inches depth overall in large tanks, and a bit less in smaller. My 10g, 20g, 29g and 33g have about 1.5 to 2 inches sand depth, and my 115g about 2.5 to 3 inches. Lots of substrate-rooted plants (meaning plants that root in the sand as opposed to on wood, floating, etc.), and Malaysian Livebearing snails help a lot.
I picked up a 50Lb bag of Sakrete play sand from Lowes. Took out may be a gallon of sand in a bucket and washed it like 15 times. I guess it is futile to expect it to be completely clean. I will treat it just like dirt.
Wet sand is much darker than what you see in the bag. With water it gets compacted too. Kept the sand in the bucket under 5-6 inches of water. Soaking it overnight to see how it will turn out. May be I will wash it a bunch of times tomorrow.
I am planning to keep some of the old gravel in the tank along with old filter pads just to avoid the tank going through cycling.
I am definitely not going to put play sand in my 125 g :D LOL
already tired of washing <1 g!
I have to agree. I've done playsand in all my tanks, but they are no bigger than 43 gallons. I can't imagine washing enough sand for 125g! Last post I saw from Bryon suggested he's been doing "less" rinsing, and has cloudy water at first, which clears. I'm sure he'll post a reply to tell you about it.
You can buy sand from Amazon and other places, and it's more expensive, but for your size tank, may be the way to go.
Using the gravel for bacteria is fine, but don't let it mix in with the sand or it will all have to come out. I never bother with this, but I have live plants which avoids any "cycling" issues. I do use wood from existing tanks, some bacteria arrives with that.
Have cleaned sand for large tank's till the cows come home, and easiest method I have found, is to get large shallow tub (30 gal or larger ) and pour half of 50 lb bag into the tub, and then take garden hose and spray the sand while turning it with your hand.
Dump out dirty water and repeat ,until the water you dump is fairly clean.(You can clean a lot much quicker)
For smaller amount's of sand, I like to take it and put sand in old pillow case and then shove the hose into the pillow case and runit till water is fairly clear.
Would NOT clean sand indoors over sink, for it is easy to clog drains this way.8-)
Got kind of clear water today morning. Rinsed it once again. Been doing it like 1077 says
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