Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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aunt kymmie 08-26-2008 02:35 PM

Sand Substrate & Deadly Gas Pockets
Question on the maintenance of my tank:

I did my weekly water change last night and stirred up the sand in the areas I was able to reach. Is it necessary to also lift up my hunks of driftwood and stir the sand under there? I hate to do that as the loaches & cats have staked out their *areas* and I hate disrupting their *homes*.

I just planted the tank about a week ago and have the small beginnings of roots on the plants. Am I suppose to also stir the sand under the plants?
Most of the plants are rooted closely to the driftwood as I wanted large *open* swimming areas for my barbs.

I'm assuming stirring the sand weekly when I do the water changes is often enough (??) and that by stirring the open areas it will be suffice to avoid the deadly gas pockets. I've got two inches of sand and in the areas I'm able to reach easily I stir it up until I feel the bottom of the tank.

Is the above weekly procedure adequate or do I need to do more?
Any & all advice is appreciated!!
Thx- kym

aunt kymmie 08-26-2008 02:42 PM

PS. It's a 100gal.....if that makes a difference??

iamntbatman 08-26-2008 02:50 PM

That sounds good to me. I don't think you'll have any problems with gas pockets around the plant roots, so if the roots go under your driftwood that'd be helpful.

You have loaches in the tank, right? Even so, you might want to try to get your hands on some Malaysian Trumpet Snails. They can really do a good job of keeping the sand sifted, plus they help keep the surface of the sand clean. If you can't find them for sale, it's not difficult to find LFS's that have them in their tanks. Petsmart thinks of them as pests and will give them to you for free. They reproduce like crazy, so even if the loaches eat some they'll probably reproduce fast enough to keep up a decent population. Also, they're completely harmless to your plants and most of the time won't even be visible.

aunt kymmie 08-26-2008 03:44 PM

Yes, I do have a group of loaches- seven yo-yos. They are fantastic. They range in size from one inch up to 3 inches and perhaps when they get bigger they will be able to do a better job of stirring up the sand.
I also am planning on adding another group of loaches. I've think I've got it narrowed down to kuhli or botia striata. (I know you just got a group of kuhlis too!)

At one time I was considering some snails due to the sand substrate but since I have a planted tank I was reluctant to get them as I assumed all snails would munch on plants.

Since my loaches are still so small would they be able to keep a snail population in check? What exactly do MTS eat if they don't eat plants??

aunt kymmie 08-26-2008 07:58 PM

PS. In aquiring these snails the same holds true here as it does for fish....quarantine for a two week period??

iamntbatman 08-26-2008 11:18 PM

If you don't have any other invertebrates in the tank, there's no need for a quarantine period as diseases and parasites carried by inverts can't be passed to fish.

The snails eat any sort of detritus they can find in the sand. Uneaten food, fish waste, decaying plant matter, algae, microbes, any sort of thing.

I've got the kuhli loaches in my tank now, but I've seen them cruise right on by snails without touching them. From what I've heard, they're one of the few loaches that won't eat snails. So, my snail population has no predatory check on it, it's just limited by how much food there is to sustain them. Every once in a while I see them crawling on the glass or rocks, but I've never seen them touch my plants. They keep my sand pretty darn clean, though. If there's some uneated pellets or some fish poo on the sand, it will be gone in no time flat.

aunt kymmie 08-26-2008 11:41 PM

I had no idea that snails actually ate fish poo. Not having to quarantine them is convenient. I already know my yo-yos will like devouring snails. There was a tiny little empty shell in my tank yesterday. Must have been a hitchhiker from the plants I put in a week ago. It was sucked clean out of it's shell. I'll head to the LFS tomorrow and hopefully they will have MTS. Thanks for your help!

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