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Discussion Starter #1
Does it matter if I start my freshwater fish tank with sand instead of gravel? I know most use gravel, but I think sand looks more natural. Has anyone done this? I know you need to wash gravel before you put it in a tank, but do you need to wash sand? I guess I could do it by mixing it with water and then using a very fine strainer to get rid of the water... Has anyone else put sand in their freshwater fish tank?
 

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I have only seen sand in saltwater tanks. I can't see why you couldn't use sand in a freshwater tank, though. Just be careful because a lot of the aquarium sand pet stores sell is treated with bacteria meant for saltwater tanks. I'm not sure how it would affect a freshwater setup.
 

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If you are using live plants, you need an enriched sand such as Seachem's Black Onyx sand. If you aren't, some local fish stores sell freshwater sand such as Tahiti moon. Just be careful when using certain sands because they can alter the pH.
 

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Thanks, dasmall1. You seem to know a lot about this stuff. Do any freshwater fish need sand as opposed to gravel or vice versa? Or do the fish themselves not care?
 

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Thank you!
Cichlid lover said:
if you are going to get sand get playsand at home depot or any other hardware store, it does suck to clean, but it is like $30 cheaper than getting other sands, which it sounds like you do not need. Here is a link to cleaning sand, it looks simple, but any other way will take ten times longer.
 

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Colored sand?

Is there colored sand available? One thing I like about gravel is that you can choose a color to match the theme of your tank. Do they have different colored sand that allows you to do the same?
 

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Sometimes you have to worry about the roughness or size if you have specific bottom dwellers or feeders. For example rays need sand or they scratch themselves when burying. Otherwise i always use gravel becasue fish waste and stuff doesn't sit on top of it like it does with sand. A small sized gravel in a natural brown or tan color usually does the job.

Brie
 

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Hi Libby, by "rays" do you mean sting rays? Are there freshwater sting rays?

CuteLilPleco said:
Sometimes you have to worry about the roughness or size if you have specific bottom dwellers or feeders. For example rays need sand or they scratch themselves when burying. Otherwise i always use gravel becasue fish waste and stuff doesn't sit on top of it like it does with sand. A small sized gravel in a natural brown or tan color usually does the job.

Libby
 

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Michael said:
Hi Libby, by "rays" do you mean sting rays? Are there freshwater sting rays?
Hi Michael
Yes, I am talking about freshwater stingrays. Although these are not common among most aquariums I was just using them as an example.
 

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A lot can be said on the pros and cons between these two.
There's not much disadvantages with gravel.
For sand, one thing that can be a pain is that when they become compact, they create anaerobic spots. This alone produces much toxic gases thus killing the fish. You need to stir sand frequently to prevent compaction.

Brie is right about choosing substrate. If the gravel is sharp, then obviously your bottom dwelling fishes won't like it as their barbels get injured. Cories are the most vulnerable to this.

By the way, Brie,I have seen some freshwater stingrays in my two lfs but size is the problem. Even if I have to get another tank, this fish will still outgrow the tank.:roll: They are very rare and a few people can afford them.
 

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The only problem I've seen people run into is when the fish borrow or play in the sand they kick some up and it gets sucked into the filter which in turn can damage the impeller
 

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Blue said:
I have seen some freshwater stingrays in my two lfs but size is the problem. Even if I have to get another tank, this fish will still outgrow the tank.:roll: They are very rare and a few people can afford them.
Thats neat, I've never seen them for sale. But you also live in the Philippines. There must be different fish there, right?
 

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I've seen freshwater stingrays in the us, they are saltwater rays that have been caught up stream and have adapted to freshwater.
 

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It's rare to find them for sale but I have seen them maybe twice.
 

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2 weeks ago I saw 2 that ran about 100-150 dollers a piece.
 
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