Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dolphinsrok 03-15-2008 11:11 PM

sand with flourite
Hello all, I stopped by my lfs to buy more green cabumbas and maybe hornwort so I spoke to this guy who claimed he was the plant guru and I told him I'm currently using crushed coral (haven't added fish yet), He told me crushed coral will increase ph levels and strongly recommended to use flourite but I told him I wanted something white looking so he recommended a flourite/sand mix on the bottom (1 part sand, 2 parts flourite) then on top use a layer of sand only. Anyone have any ideas on this and what type of sand is good for fw?

herefishy 03-15-2008 11:51 PM

Allow me to beat up on you a bit for your color selection. Darker substrate actually calms your fish. It also allows them to achieve their best colors. That being said, I know of no soil/substrate amendment that will allow you to have white, or light substrate. Play sand will work.

But using sand as a substrate is not without its drawbacks. Sand compacts very easily. This creates some dangerous scenarios. Methane gas can build up in pockets in the substrate. This can cause lethal and dangerous conditions, not only for your fish but you.

shawnstve 03-16-2008 01:23 AM

why would they sell sand as a substrate if it is so dangerouse? U know, I have a mixture of the same. Only I'm half flourite, and half sand. Although I'm thinking about adding a layer of dark or black gravel on top for the look. I have never had a pet shop owner tells that but, I will make sure to ask verry soon. Personally I like the look of the sand and gravel but... If its going to kill me than I should think about this... Anyone else heard of this problem?

herefishy 03-16-2008 01:56 AM

The dangers of using sand can be lessened by performing more substrate stirs or "deep sweeps". This loosens the substrate and makes it more difficult for pockets to form. However, this only increases maintainence. Some are OK with the trade off. But, constant "stirs" are not good for the roots of the plants as it breaks them off and damages them. These roots not only anchor the plant, but also are the viaduct for nutrition for the plant.

It has also been studied and recorded that darker substrate calms fish. It has been cited in such magazines as Tropical Fish Hobbiest, probably the premier magazine in the hobby. Many "how-to" books, and beginner books, also cite the use of darker substrates.

I do agree that sand looks good in many tanks. I actually use sand in some of my African Cichlid tanks(EcoComplete For Cichlids). The darker color does not wash out the fish and provides a darker environment enhancing the brilliant colors of these fish. These tanks also are higher maintainence, getting weekly "stirs".

It is not a bad thing to use sand if one is willing to accept its drawbacks.

dolphinsrok 03-16-2008 02:21 PM

Thanks, all suggestions and info is appreciated. I actually just purchased 2 bags of flourite and 2 bags of caribe sea white sand, I'll let you know how it goes

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