Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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qpc68 07-30-2008 10:24 AM

Sand for Non-Cichlid tank
Any recommendations for sand in a 20 gallon freshwater non-cichlid tank? Is standard sand from the hardware store ok or is there a special type necessary or recommended? We shouldn't have any seriously restrictive PH requirements. Will probably be looking at a school of small cory's and a few larger fish (Gourami's maybe, or a B Ram) or a school of small tetra's/danios/barbs and a few larger bottom feeding fish. Thank you.

1077 07-30-2008 11:11 AM

Many people favor "playsand" which can be found at some fish stores, walmart, and some lawn and garden shops. There is also "playground sand" it is more coarse. I recently used the latter in 29 gal for I did not care for the colors of the former. In any event they both require considerable rinsing !#%^#!!. water will still cloud up but usually clear after a day of running your filter depending on how well it was rinsed. It took me nearly two hours of rinsing to clean enough for approx two inches in the afore mentioned 29gal. I would not recomend any deeper as it lends itself to compaction and must be stirred on a somewhat regular basis to prevent pockets of harmful gas from forming. I am quite pleased with the sand and the corys will no doubt love it.

Tyyrlym 07-30-2008 11:28 AM

I am planning on having a school of corys so I went with play sand. It is a bear to rinse but creates a great looking bottom for my fish.

If you do find something coarser I'd recommend it though. Play sand is very fluid in an aquarium.

qpc68 07-30-2008 12:24 PM

I'm not planning on having any plants so I was only going for at most half an inch, just a very thin layer.
What's the best way to rinse the sand?

Tyyrlym 07-30-2008 12:29 PM

I'd put a bit more down or you'll spend a lot of time rearranging the sand to cover up bare spots on the bottom. I'd use the whole 50lb bag.

I rinsed my by putting about 10 to 15 pounds in the bottom of a 15 gallon bucket. I'd then agitate the sand with the hose on full blast till there was about three or four inches of water on top of the sand then give it a couple of stirs with my hand. I'd give it a second to settle a bit then dump out the murky water. Just keep doing that over and over and over and over until the water clears almost immediately after you rinse it and the stuff you pour out of the bucket is clear. This takes a while to happen, a long while. Something like 20 to 30 cycles.

After the water is clear just dump the sand in the tank and do it again until the bag is empty. When you fill the tank expect it to be murky because no matter what you do you'll never completely rinse all the fines out. Once your filter has been running for a few days things will begin to clear up.

qpc68 07-30-2008 01:33 PM

isn't 50 lbs a little excessive in a 12 gallon tank though? I only have 40 lbs in my 44 gallon and that gives me a pretty solid 3 inches.

Tyyrlym 07-30-2008 02:05 PM

My mistake, was thinking of a different sand thread with a larger tank.

I'd still put more than half an inch though.

qpc68 07-30-2008 04:47 PM

Alrighty. I had heard that, without plants, more than half an inch of gravel was a bad thing. Maybe for sand it's different, or maybe I heard wrong. Either way, appreciate the help.

okiemavis 07-30-2008 05:07 PM

The only thing you'll want to watch out for is anaerobic pockets. When the sand doesn't get stirred up for a while, pockets of nasty gas and stuff can build up, which is very dangerous to your fish if released. Just make sure you do regular gravel vacs. Snails that sift through the sand, like malaysian trumpet snails, are also very helpful.

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