Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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BradSD 07-23-2012 05:16 AM

Sand Advantages/Disadvantages
I have never tried the play sand yet it seems a lot of people are using it. I have always used Eco Complete black mixed with some regular black rock. Could someone tell me the good and the bad with sand as compared to Eco. I also watched a video the other day and a very skilled aquascaper used a thin layer of kitty liter under his sand. I am thinking for extra iron not sure,,,,can anyone answer that one?


Boredomb 07-23-2012 05:30 AM

Some sands look very realistic. Its easy to keep clean and lots of fish love it. The downside is it is a pain the butt to rinse out the dust to get ready to put in the tank. Some sand you really have to rinse out really well before you add them or you will have very cloudy water. Cat liter is basically clay depending on the kind. I know lots of ppl use Special Kitty (the very cheap kind). It can add extra iron and may have a higher CEC (this part depends on the brand I believe.) then gravel.

jessicalennita 07-23-2012 08:43 AM

Yeah there are many types of sands available, some people use it upto their interest and requirement. Most of the people use kitty liter which gives the extra iron to the set up. Well you can opt for those and may gives the good results.

Geomancer 07-23-2012 11:19 AM

No real downsides to sand, except the initial cleaning as stated. Otherwise, it's pretty much perfect. You want to keep the depth under 2", and I recommend having Malaysian Trumpet Snails as they live in the sand and help keep it from compacting.

For kitty litter, isn't that fired first? You don't want it 'clumping' in the tank, but yes, it's the iron in clay. Not necessary to use though.

Byron 07-23-2012 04:43 PM

Back in the 1990's, kitty litter became "popular" in planted tanks, but like many of these fads [others I recall were Laterite and substrate heating cables] the benefits were minimal at best or non-existent so the fads petered out.

The only one I tried was laterite under the gravel in one tank. I saw no difference in plant growth over a period of several years.

Where all of these might benefit is in a completely high tech setup. As with any factor in a planted tank, be it light, nutrients, CO2, enriched substrates...there has to be a balance or plants simply cannot take advantage.

Which brings me to the Eco-Complete. I used the basically identical Flourite substrate in my 70g, and after more than 15 months I am very disappointed with the lack of benefits. Later this month I intend tearing this tank down and chucking this stuff, going with Quikrete Play Sand which I now have in 5 of my 7 tanks. The same plant species, under the same light specs, and with the same fish foods and plant fertilizers, are growing as good and even better in the sand tanks.:roll:


BradSD 07-23-2012 05:09 PM

Okay thanks, from now on when I either redo tanks or start new ones sand it will be. The kitty liter guy was using high tech setup with co2 injection and high lighting. Just incase someone tries it, he said it had to be unscented and no dyes.

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