Substrate- before or after adding the wood? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate- before or after adding the wood?

Hi Y'all-

After looking at an empty tank (100gal) for 6 weeks it looks like I'll finally (!!)
be able to add water & get it cycling. Here's the question(s):

Do I add the substrate before or after placing the driftwood? I assume before but want to be sure.

I was going to do black sand but my driftwood pieces are very dark so I'm thinking white sand. Original plan
was Tahitian black moon sand but with that dark wood & black black background I think it'll just look too *dark*.

I want to do a planted tank w/ fish: corys,loaches &
some type of scholling fish(es).
What is the best type of "white" sand and since
this is my first tank money is no object (lol).

Thanks in advance for the input! kym
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 03:32 PM
iamntbatman's Avatar
My 29 gal has play sand as a substrate. It's a good looking tank. However, I've always heard that darker substrates help to calm the fish and that lighter substrates can "wash out" the colors of the fish. Since moving them from their old tank with dark, natural colored gravel to the new tank with play sand, I've noticed that my kribensis cichlids especially are a little less colorful than they were in their old tank.

With all the plants in there, there will be plenty of lighter colors to contrast against the driftwood. I personally like the look of the dark sand a lot. However, I think the ultimate choice would have to depend on exactly what kinds of fish you're going to keep. If you got darker cories, like peppered cories, they might look better over the light colored sand. Panda cories and other cories with a lot of white would look better over dark substrate. Most brightly colored fish tend to look better with a darker substrate.

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post #3 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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aunt kymmie's Avatar're right, the *calming* effect on the fish and the
way the colors would *pop* on the fish is why I wanted
black sand in the first place.

For stocking I'm leaning towards (but going to consider all
opinions here on the forum :) ):

cories: Sterba, false Julii, skunk or adolfoi (or whatever *fits*)

cats: Pictus (already have 1) total of 3

loaches: Sidthimunki, redtail, tiger, angelicus or striata (or whatever *fits*)

pleco: something(s) that stays smaller, relatively.
-how many smaller plecos can you house together? big bio loads, I know... :( )

I'd select from the list above according to how well they look against black sand and how the individuals would do
with each other, adult size, etc., etc.

Schooling fish: have not even really thought about that yet.
I'd really like a school of Denison barbs (beautiful fish, IMO) but
may not be able to get away with it due to the pictus cats.
Perhaps if the pictus start out very small and the barbs very large??

I was going to give myself a budget before I put the stock list together but I've completely thrown that out
the window....
Any thoughts??
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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P.S. Substrate in the tank before everything else?
The driftwood was purchased from an existing tank.
The tank was immaculate w/ really nice & healthy looking lryetail mollies & fry. Do I need to clean this driftwood?
If so, with what & how??
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 06:34 PM
You may as well boil it for a while if you can fit it into a pot...
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 07:57 PM
Yeah, put the substrate in first. You'll need it before you can properly cycle your tank as that's where a lot of the bacteria will colonize.
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 10:47 PM
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The torpedo barbs and pictus are both similarly sized fish, so as long as you bought them at similar sizes I think you'd be safe. I'm not sure about the differences in growth rates, though, so you might want to check up on that since the torpedo barbs are on the expensive side. There just seems something wrong about feeding a fish to another fish that costs a sixth as much, you know?

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post #8 of 9 Old 07-08-2008, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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aunt kymmie's Avatar
That's for sure. The price is way more than I should spend. It's my first tank after a 28 year hiatus so I think I deserve to make it special for myself. The LFS has some really nice torpedo barbs that are 2 1/2 inches. I go in once a week to check on them. The owner says he will *hold* them for me until my tank has fully cycled. He's had them for quite some time.

Which reminds me of another question. How exactly is a pictus measured? Is it tip to tail or just the *body*? The idea that the barbs would be pictus food would really make me reconsider housing them together. I'll definitely check on growth rates for pictus.

Thanks for the info! kym
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-08-2008, 09:01 AM
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wood first then gravel so if your fish dig it will reduce the risk of topple

Also for larger pieces of wood i would lay down an egg crate
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