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Currently I have a 10gallon, anubias plants, driftwood moss, African dwarf frog 2 platties, heater at 80degrees, filter, and fluorescent lighting.

I am not liking the gravel. I was told that Sand was more of a hassle than gravel was. I thought sand would look nicer and have a more peaceful feel to the tank. Can someone tell me the pros and cons in detail for sand vs gravel? Also would swapping substrate mess up the nitrogen cycle? The tank is only 3 weeks old. How would you swap it correctly without hurting the cycle too much?
 

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Sand is very easy to maintain... Once you know how. As with anything, there is a learning curve. Cleaning (vacuuming) sand is a finess job, while gravel is rather brutish. People tend to freak out about sucking out some sand, which I've never understood. It's just sand - you can always add more.

Once your tank is well established, it's all but bullet proof. Because the tank is so new, I would not suggest making any changes. When the time comes, you can remove the gravel a little at a time until its all gone, then just add the sand. That will give the bacteria in the filter a chance to pick up the slack.
 
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Sand is very easy to maintain... Once you know how. As with anything, there is a learning curve. Cleaning (vacuuming) sand is a finess job, while gravel is rather brutish. People tend to freak out about sucking out some sand, which I've never understood. It's just sand - you can always add more.

Once your tank is well established, it's all but bullet proof. Because the tank is so new, I would not suggest making any changes. When the time comes, you can remove the gravel a little at a time until its all gone, then just add the sand. That will give the bacteria in the filter a chance to pick up the slack.
+1
 

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Yah, sand lets most of the detritus stay where you can suck it off easily... on the surface of the sand. Gravel lets it get down between everything. Once you get things balanced and going there may come a point where vaccing the sand becomes unnecessary... I haven't vacuumed in over a month now as there is nothing to suck up as long as I remove the worst of any dead foliage before it turns to mush... just water changes.

The key to sand is getting it rinsed off first though or your water will get cloudy from all the fine particulates. Just hitting it with a hose in a pail a few pounds at a time then pouring off the dirty water works well, repeat until the water runs clear and then do some more. For a 10 gallon you don't need much.

While I sort of agree with Jaysee, I think changing this out before you get any fish in place would be best though.

Edit: If it were me I would remove the gravel, add the sand and a few more plants and not even worry about the cycle... but that's just me.

Jeff.
 

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Sand is very easy to maintain... Once you know how. As with anything, there is a learning curve. Cleaning (vacuuming) sand is a finess job, while gravel is rather brutish. People tend to freak out about sucking out some sand, which I've never understood. It's just sand - you can always add more.

Once your tank is well established, it's all but bullet proof. Because the tank is so new, I would not suggest making any changes. When the time comes, you can remove the gravel a little at a time until its all gone, then just add the sand. That will give the bacteria in the filter a chance to pick up the slack.



+1 here with the bold and underlined, whole reply but especially the bold underlined
 

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Currently I have a 10gallon, anubias plants, driftwood moss, African dwarf frog 2 platties, heater at 80degrees, filter, and fluorescent lighting.

I am not liking the gravel. I was told that Sand was more of a hassle than gravel was. I thought sand would look nicer and have a more peaceful feel to the tank. Can someone tell me the pros and cons in detail for sand vs gravel? Also would swapping substrate mess up the nitrogen cycle? The tank is only 3 weeks old. How would you swap it correctly without hurting the cycle too much?

I had multi colored gravel for a while, but i changed to playsand The tank does look much better!

Pro's Fish seem to have more color and are happier, easy to clean.

Cons harder to keep plants from floating away lol.;-)
 

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I switched to [pool filter] sand a year ago and I'm very glad I did. It's too easy for uneaten food and detritus to get down in the gravel and decay. It requires routine gravel siphoning to prevent the nitrogenous waste from producing excess nitrates. With sand, everything stays on top and either slowly decomposes and/or is easily siphoned off during the weekly water change.
Be careful not to get too fine a grain sized sand as this can pack and is not a good substrate for rooted plants. It also can present other problems if there are digging fish and too much current. As I mentione I used pool filter sand, but many members here report success with regular play sand from the big box store.
Also, as others have mentioned, make sure you wash/rinse the sand very well to remove 'fines' (dust like particles of sand). The easiest way I think is a 5g bucket outside with a hose. Put a couple of good handfuls in the bucket, fire the hose in, let settle just a bit, pour off and repeat until clear.
As to your existing gravel, when I did mine, I removed abut 10g (60g tank) of water, I moved the fish temporarily into a 5g bucket, scooped the gravel, then added the sand, decor and fish.
You might want to bag some gravel for the biology and leave in the tank for a week or two.

Keep us posted.

Edit: going back to your original post, I realize the tank is only 3 weeks in so preserving the gravel as I suggested won't make much difference. Sorry for any confusion.
 

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I agree on doing the change from gravel to sand now. The longer the gravel stays, the more bacteria will colonize it, and when you change the substrate it will be even more of a change biologically. And I am not just considering nitrification bacteria, which frankly is the least of the issues, but all the other types of bacteria that live in the substrate and keep an aquarium healthy.

I also do not recommend changing a bit at a time; do it all together. I have changed the substrates in all my tanks more than once in some cases, from a 10g up to 115g. Live plants, especially floating, also benefit.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I did it!!! I replaced the gravel with sand. The tank has a nicer zen like feeling now. The gravel was probably more appropriate but I love the ocean and the sand brings a more peaceful feeling to my tank and my room. Love the contrast of that green against the white sand.

But I cannot believe how hard the outsmart associate was trying to steer me away from sand. Especially the live sand. Kept saying the frog will eat the sand and die(it is a fine grade sand) and especially saying putting live sand would spike ammonia and kill my fish. Can someone make sense of that for me? Wouldn't the live sand convert the ammonia? Wouldn't the extra bacteria die off if there wasn't enough ammonia to feed on? The guy was just saying things that contradicts everything I researched and I just felt like I ended up schooling him instead.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ihr4wj7jim2mi9r/Photo%20Apr%2024%2C%209%2045%2059%20PM.jpg

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I've kept frogs with sand for years.
 
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....... Kept saying the frog will eat the sand and die(it is a fine grade sand) and especially saying putting live sand would spike ammonia and kill my fish. Can someone make sense of that for me? Wouldn't the live sand convert the ammonia? Wouldn't the extra bacteria die off if there wasn't enough ammonia to feed on? The guy was just saying things that contradicts everything I researched and I just felt like I ended up schooling him instead.
Well I'm confused :dunno:
As far as I know, "live sand" is a term only used in SW aquariums. Like live rock, It has the desired beneficial biology for SW that is different than the organisms for FW. You bought live sand for a FW tank?
Setting that aside for a minute, all substrates eventually contain a host of various beneficial bacteria and organisms that help to maintain water quality.
 

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Well I was confused too so I tried to ask him about it but I don't think he knew what he was talking about. Yes they have live sand for freshwater I don't think it is as complex as the reef sand for sw tanks. There is one by caribsea, I got the moonlight sand, which comes in both standard and live versions. I got the standard one. I wanted the live if it would help establish my tank but I couldn't get any information from petsmart associates.
 

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Interesting. It's a wet sand that already has a water treatment, bacterial base, clarifier, stress coat stuff and metal detox in it. I would think that it would have a shelf life. I know that the nitrifying organisms are tougher than we account for and go dormant rather than dying off but eventually they would kick the bacterial bucket.

Gimmick or for real, no idea.

Jeff.
 

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Well I was confused too so I tried to ask him about it but I don't think he knew what he was talking about. Yes they have live sand for freshwater I don't think it is as complex as the reef sand for sw tanks. There is one by caribsea, I got the moonlight sand, which comes in both standard and live versions. I got the standard one. I wanted the live if it would help establish my tank but I couldn't get any information from petsmart associates.
I'll be derned! Well, I guess it's not much different than treating the sand with a bacteria supplement - I didn't realize it was being marketed for FW.
 

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The moonlight sand is BEAUTIFUL, but it is awful with HOB filters. I had nothing but problems with it fouling motors, until I switched to a canister.
 

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CarribSea have been marketing their substrates that "contain beneficial bacteria" for years. Eco-complete is one. I've not bothered with these, so no idea how much impact they actually have. When I was looking for an enriched plant substrate two years ago, I decided against Eco-complete partly because I didn't want whatever this "bacteria" stuff is in my tank, and second it was rougher in texture which is not good for bottom fish. [Not that this applies to the Tahitian sand, to avoid confusion, just stating my approach].

Byron.
 

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I have used a few of the caribsea "live" sands, but I thoroughly washed them all before adding them to the tank - didn't need whatever they put in it, so I cannot attest to their effectiveness.
 
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