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Discussion Starter #1
I have a coloured gravel substrate in both of my tanks.
Three main reasons I am switching to a sand substrate:
1. I have Schwartzs cory (Corydoras schwartzi). Sand will make them more comfortable.
2. I have 2 amazon swords, a wide leaf sag (Chilensis), and two something that look like ludwigia repens. Only the swords have rooted kind of OK. Others will be easier in the sand.
3. Education! I want to gain some experience with different substrates before I start my 120g.

The journal entry starts with finalizing what I am going to use, and pool filter sand or play sand (whichever I find first before going to home depot) is the winner!
 

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I have a coloured gravel substrate in both of my tanks.
Three main reasons I am switching to a sand substrate:
1. I have Schwartzs cory (Corydoras schwartzi). Sand will make them more comfortable.
2. I have 2 amazon swords, a wide leaf sag (Chilensis), and two something that look like ludwigia repens. Only the swords have rooted kind of OK. Others will be easier in the sand.
3. Education! I want to gain some experience with different substrates before I start my 120g.

The journal entry starts with finalizing what I am going to use, and pool filter sand or play sand (whichever I find first before going to home depot) is the winner!

You won't find pool filter sand at Home Depot, but playsand is "better" from what I've heard. You will need to do lots, and lots of rinsing with play sand. That is a lot of sand in a 120 gallon. Have fun! :)

Gwen
 

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Thanks Gwen!
I saw play sand today and it was very fine! I was just worried it would cake at the bottom of my tank, will come up in my gravel vac... and... I could not possibly carry a 60 Lb bag and walk a mile and half home! LOLz
The 120g is going to be a discus juve grow out tank till they get bigger so that I can convert it into a planted tank slowly. So initially it will have sand just enough to hide the glass base.
 

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Thanks Gwen!
I saw play sand today and it was very fine! I was just worried it would cake at the bottom of my tank, will come up in my gravel vac... and... I could not possibly carry a 60 Lb bag and walk a mile and half home! LOLz
The 120g is going to be a discus juve grow out tank till they get bigger so that I can convert it into a planted tank slowly. So initially it will have sand just enough to hide the glass base.

With sand you don't vacuum it like you do gravel. You just hover over it and pick up obvious debris. It's so much nicer than gravel, but washing it can be a BIG job. You have to decide if it's worth it. If you aren't putting plants in, you don't need it to be too deep. It doesn't get sucked up into the filter. You do want to make sure your intake is 3" from the sand, and if you are stirring up the sand, turn your filter off.


Gwen
 

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Agree. I now have Quikrete Play Sand from HD in five of my seven tanks and I like it. You only want 2 to 2.5 inches depth overall in large tanks, and a bit less in smaller. My 10g, 20g, 29g and 33g have about 1.5 to 2 inches sand depth, and my 115g about 2.5 to 3 inches. Lots of substrate-rooted plants (meaning plants that root in the sand as opposed to on wood, floating, etc.), and Malaysian Livebearing snails help a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I picked up a 50Lb bag of Sakrete play sand from Lowes. Took out may be a gallon of sand in a bucket and washed it like 15 times. I guess it is futile to expect it to be completely clean. I will treat it just like dirt.
Wet sand is much darker than what you see in the bag. With water it gets compacted too. Kept the sand in the bucket under 5-6 inches of water. Soaking it overnight to see how it will turn out. May be I will wash it a bunch of times tomorrow.
I am planning to keep some of the old gravel in the tank along with old filter pads just to avoid the tank going through cycling.
I am definitely not going to put play sand in my 125 g :D LOL
already tired of washing <1 g!
 

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I picked up a 50Lb bag of Sakrete play sand from Lowes. Took out may be a gallon of sand in a bucket and washed it like 15 times. I guess it is futile to expect it to be completely clean. I will treat it just like dirt.
Wet sand is much darker than what you see in the bag. With water it gets compacted too. Kept the sand in the bucket under 5-6 inches of water. Soaking it overnight to see how it will turn out. May be I will wash it a bunch of times tomorrow.
I am planning to keep some of the old gravel in the tank along with old filter pads just to avoid the tank going through cycling.
I am definitely not going to put play sand in my 125 g :D LOL
already tired of washing <1 g!

I have to agree. I've done playsand in all my tanks, but they are no bigger than 43 gallons. I can't imagine washing enough sand for 125g! Last post I saw from Bryon suggested he's been doing "less" rinsing, and has cloudy water at first, which clears. I'm sure he'll post a reply to tell you about it.

You can buy sand from Amazon and other places, and it's more expensive, but for your size tank, may be the way to go.

Gwen
 

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I picked up a 50Lb bag of Sakrete play sand from Lowes. Took out may be a gallon of sand in a bucket and washed it like 15 times. I guess it is futile to expect it to be completely clean. I will treat it just like dirt.
Wet sand is much darker than what you see in the bag. With water it gets compacted too. Kept the sand in the bucket under 5-6 inches of water. Soaking it overnight to see how it will turn out. May be I will wash it a bunch of times tomorrow.
I am planning to keep some of the old gravel in the tank along with old filter pads just to avoid the tank going through cycling.
I am definitely not going to put play sand in my 125 g :D LOL
already tired of washing <1 g!
This was the thread in which I set out my method of washing playsand.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/play-sand-how-clean-clean-enough-103161/

Using the gravel for bacteria is fine, but don't let it mix in with the sand or it will all have to come out. I never bother with this, but I have live plants which avoids any "cycling" issues. I do use wood from existing tanks, some bacteria arrives with that.

Byron.
 

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Have cleaned sand for large tank's till the cows come home, and easiest method I have found, is to get large shallow tub (30 gal or larger ) and pour half of 50 lb bag into the tub, and then take garden hose and spray the sand while turning it with your hand.
Dump out dirty water and repeat ,until the water you dump is fairly clean.(You can clean a lot much quicker)
For smaller amount's of sand, I like to take it and put sand in old pillow case and then shove the hose into the pillow case and runit till water is fairly clear.
Would NOT clean sand indoors over sink, for it is easy to clog drains this way.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Got kind of clear water today morning. Rinsed it once again. Been doing it like 1077 says
is to get large shallow tub (30 gal or larger ) and pour half of 50 lb bag into the tub, and then take garden hose and spray the sand while turning it with your hand

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/substrate-swap-journal-103028/#ixzz1wvlbaZj9
Using the gravel for bacteria is fine, but don't let it mix in with the sand or it will all have to come out.

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/substrate-swap-journal-103028/#ixzz1wvmCVlGO
@Byron: I am not sure I get this. I was planning to put the gravel in some sock/net and suspend it in the tank for a while and then place it some parts of the sand. Would that be ok? Else I will just completely replace the substrate.
 

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I picked up a 50Lb bag of Sakrete play sand from Lowes. Took out may be a gallon of sand in a bucket and washed it like 15 times. I guess it is futile to expect it to be completely clean. I will treat it just like dirt.
Wet sand is much darker than what you see in the bag. With water it gets compacted too. Kept the sand in the bucket under 5-6 inches of water. Soaking it overnight to see how it will turn out. May be I will wash it a bunch of times tomorrow.
I am planning to keep some of the old gravel in the tank along with old filter pads just to avoid the tank going through cycling.
I am definitely not going to put play sand in my 125 g :D LOL
already tired of washing <1 g!

I have to agree. I've done playsand in all my tanks, but they are no bigger than 43 gallons. I can't imagine washing enough sand for 125g!
I've done this ;-)

For my 125 gallon 6 foot tank I washed 175 pounds of sand (three and a half bags). Yes, it took a long time sitting in the street with two buckets and a hose, with the neighbors all looking at me like I've gone crazy (maybe I have).

You can get it pretty darn clean. Not 100%, but clean enough that if you fill the tank carefully, there is no cloudyness at all. I put maybe a fifth to a quarter of a bag in a 5 gallon bucket, then spray the heck out of it. Let it settle for a minute, then dump the water. Repeat 10-15 times or however long it takes for the water to look pretty darn clear ~30 seconds or so after you turn the water off.

Yes sand compacts when wet, but I wouldn't say it's too bad. If you get sand wet, then drain the bucket, it's very hard to dig around the sand. But if you fill the bucket with water and reach in, it is very easy to dig around in the sand. Being under water makes it loose versus just damp when it sticks together like glue and is perfect for sand castles.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails work wonders in keeping the sand free of dead spots. Plants and Cory's rate sand an A+ :cool:
 

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So finally after two hours of back breaking work I finished swapping the substrate. Haven't put the fish in yet. Waiting for the water to clear up.

This is the neglected tank. Procrastinated the cleaning for a long time.


Emptying the tank. Yes! That is a clutch of pond snail eggs on the glass. It is surprising how just a single snail can start laying eggs which hatch!



This is my plant stock. These guys started drying withing minutes!


Filled up the tank with about 1.5 inch of Sakrete play sand. I had to wash some more sand. This time I did it in small batches. Much faster, much cleaner!


I have a fry separating container which I used to pour water in so as to not disturb the sand.


Ready for plantation.


Planted and filled up! I put an air stone, a couple of ornaments from previous setup and a small sponge filter rated for 5 gal in the tank. Hopefully the filter will help in clearing up the water. Looks like it is going to take a while clearing up.


Keeping my fish in the small 6 gal hex for a couple of days. Hopefully the bacteria will start their job quickly in the 10 g. The hex has my old filter, heater, couple of PVC pipe caves and a bunch of gravel hopefully has enough bacteria so that it does not go into cycling!


One off the track suggestion! Clean up spot algae the moment you see it! Once it proliferates, may you have the strength of a WWE wrestler to clean it off.
 

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The water cleared up real good in the morning. Left it like that till afternoon, tested the water, all is good. Put the fish in. And..... the cory stirred it up! Put two more plants. Green Foxtail and rooted water sprite. The water is not as clear as it was in the morning. I guess a water change is in order. I will wait for a couple days more in case it is partially due to bacterial bloom.
 

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Did a 40% water change. Water is kind of clearer.
The cory seem to have lightened up significantly. No signs of stress though. Breathing and behaving normally. They have started to go through the sand more now. But the water is not clouding up.
The oto and gourami are enjoying the extra plants. Everyone is eating well. I think I will stick with the smaller filter for now.
 

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All the plants seem to be doing good. Anacharis did not fare well in the diatom bloom. Most of the leaves on the main stem melted, but there is new growth. Some stems are branching, some are just growing on top.
All the stems of Foxtail are getting new growth.
Both amazon swords are getting new leaves.
A new shoot on the water sprite.
New growth on the red plant too! Even though it still has lot of furry stuff on its old leaves.
Brazilian Pennywort has lot of new growth. Still has a number of bad leaves. Slowly pruning them one by one every day.
New leaves on wide leaf sag too!
Did a water change and glass wipe down. There was a bit of algae on the glass, which came off easily. The filter sponge was filthy. Just rinsed it a bit.
Cory seem to have gotten their pattern back, but their basic colour is still lighter than before. The spots are nice and dark.
 
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