Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   substrate question (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/substrate-question-57606/)

sharelove 12-17-2010 10:49 AM

substrate question
 
If I read some of the info out there on the web correctly, am I to understand that I can go down to the lake (here in Nelson we live by a beautiful lake) and shovel the sand I want off of the beach and bring it home, rinse it, and use it in my freshwater tank? Wow - if this is true, that's wonderful because I set up a reef tank once and there's no way in h**l that you could do that without risk of taking the whole system down due to the introduction of "foreign" particles/bacteria/ etc... Thanks all!

Byron 12-18-2010 11:24 AM

This can work, but there is a risk as with any "outdoor" items; a thorough cleaning (boiling water). Also, I am personally not a fan of sand substrates, I prefer smallest-grain gravel. There are fewer issues, and if plants are in the planning this is the ideal substrate.

Byron.

jcinnb 12-19-2010 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 537271)
This can work, but there is a risk as with any "outdoor" items; a thorough cleaning (boiling water). Also, I am personally not a fan of sand substrates, I prefer smallest-grain gravel. There are fewer issues, and if plants are in the planning this is the ideal substrate.

Byron.

Byron: First of all I appreciated the tremendous amount of info you share.

I am a quantitative kind of guy and over analyze everything. I have been reviewing substrate and will be filling aquarium by this time next week. I was looking a pool sand as it is larger than "regular" sand, but I think, now, too small, for planting in gravel. What is the size gravel that you are referencing above?

Thanks. I can't wait till I can sit back and watch my fish!!!

jcinnb

sharelove 12-19-2010 04:58 PM

Have you heard about Caribsea's "instant" substrates that come packaged in water - already "inoculated" with good bacteria? I've decided to go ahead and order it - the size range is from 2mm - 5mm how's that for size?

sharelove 12-19-2010 05:11 PM

FWIW: someone at a pool and spa place that sells the pool filter sand told me that the sand was nice and sterile and clean but that she thought that the quality of the sand was such that it was not nice round particles but rather jagged and sharp edged so as to capture more of the detritus flowing out of the hot tub - the main purpose for this sand. Has anyone any experience with this?

redchigh 12-19-2010 07:41 PM

pool filter sand is rounded- otherwise the water wouldn't flow well.

Pool filter sand is good for some plants (eleocharis) and not too great for others (echinodorus) so either way, you can probably find some nice plants.

I have crypts growing in sand (over a soil cover) and they're exploded in growth...

bigehugedome 12-20-2010 02:39 AM

I use Carib sea Eco complete. The gravel size seems nice to me. It will kinda layer itself out after a while. I think it is fine holding down plants, although whatever fish you have may uproot them anyway. It's nice that you don't have to rinse the gravel out, but the ferts in the gravel( if there are any) will be used up overtime (not sure if there is a way to know when this happens) but I think most members would agree to dose with a fert anyway.

I have no experience with plants and other substrates so I can't comment if the Carib sea stuff actually works, but at least there is no worry about contaminates

Byron 12-21-2010 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcinnb (Post 538107)
Byron: First of all I appreciated the tremendous amount of info you share.

I am a quantitative kind of guy and over analyze everything. I have been reviewing substrate and will be filling aquarium by this time next week. I was looking a pool sand as it is larger than "regular" sand, but I think, now, too small, for planting in gravel. What is the size gravel that you are referencing above?

Thanks. I can't wait till I can sit back and watch my fish!!!

jcinnb

I use small gravel with grains about 1-2 mm. It is as far as I know this is about the smallest "aquarium gravel" available, and I always buy it in bulk (some stores carry bulk gravel, some landscape places do, be sure it is inert) which is way less expensive. If cost is not an issue, the enriched substrate materials are ideal, the same size and come in black which is hard to get in gravel.

rsnprocess 03-03-2011 05:18 PM

smallest size gravel
 
What is smallest size gravel that is smaller than pea size. Who makes that? I thought perhaps that would be a good in between substrate between what I have now and sand.

I had wanted to use sand in my small cichlid, shell dwelling tank. I had a little unsure about it and how it would do in my oceanic biocube. I've had these little mulites in gravel, because they were sold to me as something else (badis badis). They do ok, I only have 2 and they hide most of the time. I also don't get to see them moving sand around, but with only 2, I might now see it anyway. I'm thinking of getting at least 1 more. Not sure how many of these I can have in the 8 gallon biocube.

Of course someone else mentioned pool filter sand being rounded; I like that idea. Is pool filter sand larger in siize than other aquarium sands?

I'm not sure with sand that I like the idea of having to stir it up to keep the "pockets" from being a problem.

Byron 03-03-2011 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rsnprocess (Post 607986)
What is smallest size gravel that is smaller than pea size. Who makes that? I thought perhaps that would be a good in between substrate between what I have now and sand.

I had wanted to use sand in my small cichlid, shell dwelling tank. I had a little unsure about it and how it would do in my oceanic biocube. I've had these little mulites in gravel, because they were sold to me as something else (badis badis). They do ok, I only have 2 and they hide most of the time. I also don't get to see them moving sand around, but with only 2, I might now see it anyway. I'm thinking of getting at least 1 more. Not sure how many of these I can have in the 8 gallon biocube.

Of course someone else mentioned pool filter sand being rounded; I like that idea. Is pool filter sand larger in siize than other aquarium sands?

I'm not sure with sand that I like the idea of having to stir it up to keep the "pockets" from being a problem.

Gravel comes in many sizes, and some of it is very small grain; there is (or was several years ago) a very small gravel that was called "sand gravel" because it was about the size of sand but did not compact as easily. I haven't seen this anywhere recently, though i was told that some ladnscape rock places might have it. What I had years ago was made for aquaria by whomever made the natural gravel. i can't remember, and anyway i buy gravel in bulk. Some fish stores have bulk gravel, though not every size in every colour.

For rift lake cichlids, coral sand would be ideal. It is intended for fish tanks, and is calcareous so it will add some hardness. You won't have much in the way of plants, so it needn't be too deep. In colour it will look "natural" too.

Unless you have plants rooted in the substrate, all substrates should be activated regularly. Gravel can be vacuumed easily, sand cannot so it has to be stirred, etc.


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