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Discussion Starter #1
i am currently getting all the supplies to make a 29 gallon tank for a bunch of different fish, gourami's koolies, corydoras ect. and was wondering what substrate i should use. i have gravel, but want something softer for the koolies to burrow in. what about sand? what kind of sand is safe for fish tanks, and is it sand you can buy at home depot or something, or is it "fish sand?" thanks!
 

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Sand is good as long as you mix it around every week to prevent anearobic spots, it also cancels your chances of an UGF. But sand is great for kuhlis and corydoras, the corydoras will look very nice digging around in the sand. Just go to home depot and get some playground sand there, its cheap and inert
 

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I've heard of people getting pool filter sand and using that as well. Apparently it's a bit heavier than other types of sand, so you can still use a gravel vac to vacuum up things that would fall to the surface and rest there (you still wouldnt' be able to put the gravel vac into the sand though I'm pretty sure). I'll be switching to sand this summer (I have yoyos and dojo loaches). Good luck.
 

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I switched from gravel to sand about seven months ago, before getting a group of kuhlie loaches.

I wouldn't move back to gravel, as I find it much easier to keep the sand clean - dirt rests on top of the sand and it's much easier to see and remove.

I bought the sand from my local aquarium shop - just one word of advice if you do decide to go with it - rinse it very well or you'll have one very cloudy tank. :)
 

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I've used all purpose sand from home despot. I sifted it to get a grain size around 3mm. Made it much eaiser to rinse. I've also used play sand. That compacts like you wouldn't believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
all purpose sand it is

i guess i didn't realize you could use that kind of sand, but i'm happy cuase it's so cheap. i want some for my koolie's to burrow in, thanks all!
 

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Re: all purpose sand it is

otis07 said:
i guess i didn't realize you could use that kind of sand, but i'm happy cuase it's so cheap. i want some for my koolie's to burrow in, thanks all!
Good luck with it otis, and let us know how it goes. The kuhlies will certainly appreciate it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
will do. i looked at your gallery, nice tanks!
 

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Switching my tank over to sand was the best thing i ever did for my loaches and cory cats. They love to burrow in it and it doesnt hurt thier barbals. Just dont expect them to not rearrange the tank . Its alot harder to keep plants rooted or plastic ones sunk in the sand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
good to know

if i put a lot of plants in, will they all end up at the top? what about mixing gravel and sand? that would look kinda neat, the plants woud stay, and the loaches and cory cats would still be happy. any one ever had experience with this?
 

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I'm not sure about mixing gravel and sand - I've never tried it, but I have plants in my tank and don't have any trouble with them floating.

As long as the sand is deep enough they should be fine - and you can always add lead plant weights to any that do have a tendency to become uprooted :)
 

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I used sand as the bottom layer of substrate, followed by fluorite followed by gravel on two tanks. I wouldn't do that again - the sand becomes compacted, anaerobic pockets form, and toxins start leaking into the water. You have to stir the sand with a long probe. More trouble than it's worth.

Now, you can put a thin layer of gravel down on top of sand, no worries. You can also mix gravel into sand to get a substrate that has characteristics of both (I've got eco-complete mixed about 4:1 with gravel in one tank, and it works pretty well.)

The best way to mix sand and gravel is to have a beach area. The substrate for most of the tank is gravel, but using inert edging - either plastic or stone, separate out a portion of the floor of the tank and put the sand on that. Using plastic or pottery as the edging, you can spread a layer of aquarium sealant on it and stick small stones and gravel on it to make it blend in. If you do that, let it dry for at least 48 hours (72 is better) before adding water.

Something I am planning on doing in a sand bottomed tank that I want to have some deep rooted plants in: Cut the bottom off of a clay flowerpot. Put it cut side up (wide side down) on the floor of the tank. Fill it with gravel and plant that. You could also use PVC pipe as edger. If it's big enough, you could drill holes in the side facing out and the whole thing becomes a cave along the edge of your beach. Just make sure you'll never need to net any fish that likes to hide in there.
 
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