Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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joefrommi65 04-07-2013 12:00 PM

sand vs. gravel
Hi all new to posting here , but I have a question on which is better for the bottom of my tank ,sand or gravel ? I currently have a fresh water 29 gal. with 5 rasbos,5 danios and 2 green corys and the tank has gravel .I am looking into a 55 gal and want to stock this with some simi agressive fish but I like the looks of sand and was wondering how to clean the bottom with sand .
thanks for any comments

smit3183 04-07-2013 12:28 PM

Since you have cories you'd be best to go the sand route, playsand or pool filter sand will do. The sand will be easier for the cories barbells as they like to burrow,can't do that with gravel.

Would also like to point out you maybe want to add more of them as they are a highly social fish and like to be in groups of about 5. As for cleaning the sand if you have a python/aqueon water changer just hover it over the sand and it will pick up the debris.

joefrommi65 04-07-2013 12:52 PM

so if I go with like play sand should I treat it before filling the tank ?

MoneyMitch 04-07-2013 12:55 PM

if you go with play sand you will want to rinse it thoroughly before adding it to a tank. to do this get a 5 gallon bucket or kiddie pool. fill the poll or bucket with some water and dump your sand in. stir it around until you get a lot of stuff floating in the water, then dump out the water while keeping the sand in the container. do this until the water is clear. I did this with 75 lbs of play sand took me a good 2 hours or so.

if the sand is not properly rinsed you will have a extremely cloudy tank. all substrate should be rinsed before use but play sand needs it the most.

FishyFishy89 04-07-2013 01:38 PM

All sand types need a thorough rinsing. Sand is definitely best for cories. Tho I have seen cory breeders who use gravel, I definitely would NOT use gravel. Unfortantely I've witnessed what gravel can do to a cory's sensitive barbs.

Byron 04-07-2013 01:39 PM

First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D

As for sand or gravel, it depends upon the fish to some extent. The fish listed for your current smaller tank would do better with sand, corys especially, though fine gravel that is not rough can work for some.

You mention semi-aggressive for the new larger tank, but we would need to know the likely species. Sand can work for anything, but some fish especially diggers can make quite a mess of a sand substrate.


joefrommi65 04-08-2013 10:09 AM

Thank you for the welcome,I have been reading more about sand and the gas pockets make me a little nervous can a smooth gravel work? As or a more agressive group I am thinking Bala shark, some barbs tettras and loaches maybe ?

smit3183 04-08-2013 10:54 AM

The gas pockets issue is really nothing to worry about. As long as you don't make the sand bed more than a couple issues you'll have nothing to worry about, and if it does worry you can always just give it a poke with a plastic fork every now and then. Also if you have any bottom feeders they will keep it stirred up.

FishyFishy89 04-08-2013 11:02 AM

1 bala shark needs 48"(or 4ft) long tank to swim in. Don't be fooled by their adorable looks, they get big. Unless you have atleast 100gal tank or a friend with the like willing to take them in later on down the road, don't get any.

Byron 04-08-2013 12:49 PM

On the gas pockets, as the other member said, this is not an issue. The same thing can occur with gravel substrates too. Substrate-rooted plants are a big help, as are Malaysian Livebearing Snails. Some anaerobic areas are in fact desirous, they are part of the complete biological system. You can read a bit more on this here:

To the issue of sand or gravel with loaches, this depends upon the species. The smaller loach like the Dwarf Loach, Banded Dwarf Loach, etc are best with sand. The medium species such as Botia kubotai can manage with sand or a fine but smooth gravel. The latter is probably best, as these loach do like to tunnel--mine do, anyway; there is a labyrinth of tunnels in my 90g tank.:lol:

On the Bala Shark, I agree, this fish needs a large tank. While a 6-foot can suffice, this is crowding them and an 8-foot is preferable. They need a group too, at least 5. Read more in the profile, click the shaded name.


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