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Guest Jessie

Sand or gravel?

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Guest Jessie

Ok, i want to upgrade my tank, and i want to use new gravel. But i got an idea, is sand better or gravel? Please tell me if sand is messy, always fogging the tank, ETC. Just tell me the best option and explain why, or you dont have to.

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gravel - potential to trap nasty bacteria if not thoroughly cleaned with every weekly water change. also, it should not be too thick. i light sprinkle on the base of the tank is best.

sand - is better, because it's so fine, there is less chance of nasty bacteria/food/fishwaste trapping however, some members have recorded that the intake of the filter can suck up the sand and cause problems to the filtration. it can be cloudy for days after it's first been added and sometimes after waterchanges as you still need to clean it well.

barebottom - i love this.. everything looks so clean, everything is easy to clean :)

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i don't know hun.. i have bare bottom tanks. i offered the information so that you can decide for yourself.. good luck :)

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I use sand. No risk of choking and esthetically pleasing. If you pre-rinse it thoroughly in a bucket, it won't cloud too much. Make sure to turn off your power filters when you first add the sand to avoid clogging the impellers. You will need to bat the floating particles down from the water's surface with your fingers and work to get the bubbles out of the sand at the bottom of the tank. I also recommend mixed black, white and maybe a third color together. This makes the fish waste less visual. Hope this helps:)

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Also...I do feel like my guys enjoy the process of mulling through the sand to find little bits of food, etc. It gives them a job to do!

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Please be careful when choosing sand. Some sands are meant for SW fish only :thumb:

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I started out with gravel and felt it was a pain to keep clean with goldfish (messy poopers) then I went bare bottom for a good while :) and really like it :) also tried sand as well, both the black TMS and the Natural colored pool/play sand, and always felt the sand tanks looked messy :(

so Back to Bare Bottom for the Goldfish for Me :) :)

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I wanted to weigh in on the sand choice but also perhaps to see if you could help me figure something out.

A few weeks ago I had completed the stages of slowly removing out the gravel and adding 'clean' sand. I say 'clean' because I must've washed it over a dozen times and it looked fine to me. It was regular plain sand from the LFS, a good store I've had no problems with. Well since then I've not had my tank clear for more than 6 hours after massive water changes. I even cleaned my filter out (perhaps too much), twice. I did have a massive algae explosion but that was most likely due to leaving the hot lights on too long. I stopped leaving the lights on so long. So I added some phosphorous anti-algae pads recommended by the LFS to my filter, the filter with sand, gravel, and regular filter medium; no charcoal. The water still very cloudy. So I added some water clearer drops. Within an hour all these white dots and waves of cloud & clear water start rolling around. This was 2 weeks ago and 4 massive water changes ago. Still, the same problem. The parameters are technically great. Ph: 6.8 Ammonia: 0 Nitrates: 0 Nitrites: 0

Not much in the way of algae growth but the water is icky! All the fish seem to be doing fine except one baby that got dropsy. To be fair, we had a heat wave and the place was stuck in the 90's and the tanks were crawling up in the mid 80's and climbing. So one of the water changes I made the water way too cold. Oops!!! Don't worry, she's being treated and warmed up in QT. Anyways...

I don't know if that helps with your sand decision or if I have my own little water world of problems.

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I just switched from gravel to Tahitian Moon Sand in my 29 gallon. I didn't rinse it first, just drained the tank, took out the gravel, and put the sand in. I was very careful when I refilled the tank so I disturbed the sand as little as possible. As jmetzger72 said, I did need to pat down the fine particles that were floating on the surface, but after that I had zero issues. The water stayed crystal clear, and my filter intake is way above the bottom so it doesn't suck up the sand. It does show the poop on the bottom, but once a day I wave my net over the surface to get the poop to float, then just net it out.

The black sand looks really pretty and sparkly, but I will be going bare bottom in my next tank. I would have done it with this tank, but there are hard water deposits stuck between the bottom frame and the glass, and they just looked so ugly that I had to cover it up with something. But overall so far I feel like the sand is cleaner than the gravel, as the food and poop sits on the surface where it can easily be removed. Gravel just traps all the nasty stuff. My :twocents

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I'm in the process of setting up my new 56 gallon aquarium and plan on using Tahitian Moon Sand also. Today I was watching a few youtube videos of different aquariums trying to get some ideas, and there was one that had black sand...and this comment below it..."im telling you now the aquaclear (powerfilter) will be destroyed within 2yrs or less with sand being kicked into the impeller and housing."

I'm hoping that's not completely accurate. I'm going to use an AquaClear 110, and they're not cheap. I would think taking a few precautions would help...like maybe having the intake a little higher than normal. This will be my first time with goldfish, so I'm not sure how much sand they would kick up.

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How about river rocks? I don't care for sand. I have read where it can kill filters and get in fish gills and cause problems. Gravel well get stuck in a goldfish mouth. But I do have a thin layer of gravel. When I move them to the 30 gallon it well be bare bottom. With some pots for plants.

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I don't seem to have a problem with the filter and the sand, my intake wand is a good 6 inches above the bottom. Curious how thick of a sand layer you successful folk have. Maybe it's that I don't have it deep enough so the bacteria isn't getting trapped like it use to in the gravel. I worry about the gravel because the fish choking on it was becoming a regular occurrence.

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I have Moonlight White Sandby caribsea and I just love it. I have about 1/4 inch in the front and about an inch in the back where the plants are. It's incredibly fine sand but besides the first day when it was cloudy I've had no problems. My fish are constantly rooting through it which keeps it quite clean and it encourages behavior that would occur in a carp's natural habitat so it doubles as mental stimulation. I was on the barebottom team for SO long but honestly I don't think I'd ever go back seeing how much of a difference it makes to my fish and how nice it looks. I haven't had any problems with my filters either and I suspect it's because the sand is so fine. Here is a post I made in MissColonel's thread about sand

sadn1002.jpg

Here's the sand's grain size in comparison to my fingers. It's so fine that it gets caught in the dermal ridges of my fingers :rofl

FINGA.jpg

Here is the grainsize close up, as you can see it's silica based sand and the granules are all rounded with no sharp edges. It's exceptionally soft sand, to the point where in contact with water it feels more like mud than sand, but the sand on the beaches near me contain much larger granules. I'd say it's safe for your bubble eyes, I don't see how they could injure themselves on it given it's texture and how it behaves in water. I've had it in my tanks for around two weeks now and it is just a wonderful substrate. It settled quickly and doesn't cloud the tank after it initially settles, even when the fish muck around in it (or people, like me aquascaping). It holds plants down very well, I've only had a problem with two of my vals which keep putting out runners and push themselves partially out of the sand in the process, however I suspect I just need to add a little more as I have under an inch in the back where it's deepest. The goldies turn over the sand fairly quickly and I find that overnight they routinely clear the sand of any waste that has accumulated of the course of the day.

Hope this helps!

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Wow that's just beautiful sand. My sand is just plain old boring beige stuff and I keep it about 1/4inch in some areas (maybe less) and up to an inch near the plants. The fish do a good job ripping the plants up and playing with them near their normal feeding spot. I suppose that's mental stimulation. lol

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I'm having a VERY hard time finding Tahitian Moon black sand. I ordered a bag off of Amazon...the picture CLEARLY shows a 20 pound bag, and the desciption doesn't say the weight...and it was $11.45. I wanted 2 bags, but they only had 1...so I ordered it. A 5 pound bag showed up. I'm definitely sending this back! Totally misleading! Petsmart's website has a 20 pound bag for $24.99...I tried to order 2, but they only had 1! I've looked in lots of local pets stores, but no one has any. Why is this stuff so rare???

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I'm having a VERY hard time finding Tahitian Moon black sand. I ordered a bag off of Amazon...the picture CLEARLY shows a 20 pound bag, and the desciption doesn't say the weight...and it was $11.45. I wanted 2 bags, but they only had 1...so I ordered it. A 5 pound bag showed up. I'm definitely sending this back! Totally misleading! Petsmart's website has a 20 pound bag for $24.99...I tried to order 2, but they only had 1! I've looked in lots of local pets stores, but no one has any. Why is this stuff so rare???

Try dr.foster and smith they have it ;)

I am not sure if you have one locally but my Petsmart carries the TMS in store along with the other sand so I got mine right from the store since I am impatant for waiting for things to arrive lol

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I'm having a VERY hard time finding Tahitian Moon black sand. I ordered a bag off of Amazon...the picture CLEARLY shows a 20 pound bag, and the desciption doesn't say the weight...and it was $11.45. I wanted 2 bags, but they only had 1...so I ordered it. A 5 pound bag showed up. I'm definitely sending this back! Totally misleading! Petsmart's website has a 20 pound bag for $24.99...I tried to order 2, but they only had 1! I've looked in lots of local pets stores, but no one has any. Why is this stuff so rare???

Try dr.foster and smith they have it ;)

I am not sure if you have one locally but my Petsmart carries the TMS in store along with the other sand so I got mine right from the store since I am impatant for waiting for things to arrive lol

I'm impatient also...that's why I've checked 2 of my local Petsmart stores, but neither of them had any. I did find a website that has it for a good price...and strangely enough, the warehouse for this website is located here in my city. So I can pick it up and save the shipping charges. The only problem is that it will take 6 days to get here. Oh well...I'm going to setup the aquarium this weekend and get the cycle started and just add the sand later. (I hope it's ok to do it that way)

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It will be fine to do it that way too ;) lol Your fish are going to love the substrate :D

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Thanks so much for the input MissColonel! I've never used sand in an aquarium before, but I love the way the black sand looks in pictures and videos. :)

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i've used the finest gravel the lfs had in my 15 gal mixed with another bag of mixed coloured natural pebbles for looks. not quite sand, not quite gravel! i wanted to use something a bit larger for my new 55 but am afraid of the fish getting it stuck in their mouths. with the finest gravel/coarse sand they can sift through it for food & easily spit out the grains they pick up. it's also easy to vacuum through with the siphon.

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