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Should I add sand? Vs. Barebottom?


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  • Regular Member

I have barebottom tanks and love them even though I enjoy and love seeing others tanks with sand. I obviously don't know about the maintenance of having sand but I'm sticking to my low maintenance barebottom tanks. :)

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  • Regular Member

Seems to me in the LTAF thread, it was suggested you don't need to remove the biofilm. :idont

:krazy:

Unless your fish is a habitual bottom sitter, you should not remove the biofilm. :)

oh geez :P I thought Helen's research article suggested it was important to remove biofilm http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/103683-biofilm/

I just read it as instructions to remove bio-film, if you wish.

For me, this is something that is not something I wish to eradicate from my tanks, because: 1) it's futile. It will quickly grow back, and 2) it's an integral part of the pond/tank ecology. Yes, there are "bad" organisms in the biofilm, but those too serve a purpose. They serve to stimulate and boost the fish's immune response, leading to the development of immunity. The vast majority of organisms in the film are beneficial, so I don't know why I would want to remove it.

Don't take my word for it though :P

Here's something from the Center for Biofilm Engineering at the Montana State University

http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/node/2409

Biofilm is a fact of life for fish. I don't know why I would want to remove it, other than it it can be unsightly.

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Just my 2 cents. From a microbiology perspective, the other organisms in the bio film process the wastes of the other bacteria. Some might even have a resistance to a bacteriophage (bacterial virus) or possibly resistance to certain chemicals/antibiotics. Which depending on the bacteria you are talking about could be a good thing. And since the nitrobacter and nitrosomonas species grow attached to surfaces, makes me believe further that the benefit out weighs the risks. I agree with Alex in that there is such a thing as "too clean", even for humans.

Anyway back to the OP's topic.

I have TSM sand. I feel that it gives the fish more "stuff to do". But be warned, that sand gets EVERYWHERE! I also think I've lost two filters because of it. If I were to change to something different, I might look at a soil bottom with a gravel top for plants. But unless I move and have to drain the tank, I doubt that will happen. But it is pretty and the contrast is nice.

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  • Regular Member

Seems to me in the LTAF thread, it was suggested you don't need to remove the biofilm. :idont

:krazy:

Unless your fish is a habitual bottom sitter, you should not remove the biofilm. :)

oh geez :P I thought Helen's research article suggested it was important to remove biofilm http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/103683-biofilm/

I just read it as instructions to remove bio-film, if you wish.

For me, this is something that is not something I wish to eradicate from my tanks, because: 1) it's futile. It will quickly grow back, and 2) it's an integral part of the pond/tank ecology. Yes, there are "bad" organisms in the biofilm, but those too serve a purpose. They serve to stimulate and boost the fish's immune response, leading to the development of immunity. The vast majority of organisms in the film are beneficial, so I don't know why I would want to remove it.

Don't take my word for it though :P

Here's something from the Center for Biofilm Engineering at the Montana State University

http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/node/2409

Biofilm is a fact of life for fish. I don't know why I would want to remove it, other than it it can be unsightly.

I hate my biofilm! It makes my tank loon cloudy and then you look straight down and it's clear. I think my cloudy water is due to that even though I scrub the bio-film, it just keeps coming back in maybe 2-3 days. :thud

And I also like how the Petco sand looks. I am thinking about getting it still :). But whatever you choose, I am sure it William great!

Edited by mikey
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I am sure it William great!

What does this mean? :P

Why auto correct why? Can't you please be right for a change. :please

I meant I'm sure it will look great. :rofl3

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I added sand at the beginning of the summer and have been slowly removing it ever since. Newton seems to love it but as a person without a tank filling device - python etc - I find that I have to remove Newt during the bucket refilling process. The sand is also whitish and shows dirt/algae.

Newton is so fond of it, however, that I am considering finding a black substitute and am actively investigating the possibility of finding a way to attach a hose to my weird and ancient faucet.

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  • Regular Member

I like sand, it's easy to clean and the fish look for food in it in a cute way. Although, because of this, it always looks like it's been raining in the aquarium. They make little marks in the sand with their mouths that looks like fallen raindrops or something. So if you want a smooth bottom, you're gonna have to move it around. I personally don't mind the "raining".

But then again, I used to keep tropicals and the plants have always been important to me so I could never go without substrate.

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I have had gravel,bare bottom, black TMS and currently the sunset caribsea sand, and of all, I love my current setup with the lighter colored sand the best :), and I really believe my fish enjoy foraging in it and spitting it out all over the tank and on each other ;) , I always have to double check Link (my black moor) because I think I see ich from a distance, only to find she's covered in sand again :) I also love the ease of planting my plants :) and there richer color against the light sand :)

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I went from gravel to bare-bottom (after finding this forum) to Caribsea black TMS, and while I miss how easy it was to immaculately clean my tank, I really do love the sand (so much that it was my background on my phone the first week after I got it :D ). I had gravel because that's generally what noobs get with a tank and fish :P , then bared my bottom :booty after understanding the important of keeping the tank CLEAN, then decided on sand because 1) the tank just looked empty to my noob eyes, and 2) I thought it would be psychologically enriching for them to have something to do. My sand is the instant kind so I didn't need to wash and it didn't cloud up my water for hours before it settled, problems I hear others having with other types of sand. It's softer than I thought it would be and has sparkly bits so its not dull black. I took a video of my fish right after adding the sand..

They instinctively knew to sift through it for food! I mean duhh but it was cool to see anyways. As you can see the water isnt cloudy and the tank doesnt look too dark. I can see my fish better with the sand as well. I have one bag in a 55g. The website recommends 1 bag every 20g, but Ive seen it work in a 70g and read that less is better for GF? Dont know.. but it **looks** fine at least. You have to run your hands through it each water change so pockets of [some chemical] doesnt form and hurt the fish. Here's another view with all the room lights on and windows open.. even brighter inside:

^ I dont have enough sand to really plant down my plant, so I added a stone to hold it down.

I added sand at the beginning of the summer and have been slowly removing it ever since. Newton seems to love it but as a person without a tank filling device - python etc - I find that I have to remove Newt during the bucket refilling process. The sand is also whitish and shows dirt/algae.

Newton is so fond of it, however, that I am considering finding a black substitute and am actively investigating the possibility of finding a way to attach a hose to my weird and ancient faucet.

My faucet didn't fit my hose either.. I looked online and it said to go to a hardware store and find a piece that fits both hose and faucet connecting the two. Where I live it wasn't expensive at all.. a few dollars. Such a good investment!

Advantages of sand:
- thought to confer digestive benefits to your goldfish. Yes, they will eat, and poop them out. The sand in the gut is supposed to help digestion along. I don't know if this is true, but it doesn't hurt.
- eases maintenance. I don't remember the last time I've had to vacuum the sand. It's so compact, food doesn't slip through.
- beautiful. I love the little sandscapes that my fish build every day.
- gives goldfish something to do. I will have to say that while yes, goldfish can still have a lot to do in a barebottom tank. Some people took this to extremes in the name of art, and had nothing but an empty expanse on their tank bottom. Eventually though they realized their mistake, and jumped on the sand bandwagon. I'm happy for their fish! :)

Disadvantages of sand:
- shortens the life of your filter

So, all in all, while I still recommend barebottom for beginners, I think that you should get sand, whatever color is best for you. I would also try sand in the 10 gallon. I wonder if it will help Skittles.

I read about digestive benefits as well but assumed they meant natural sand that they live in because it would contain natural bacteria and minerals etc.. but mechanical grinding makes sense.. cool either way as long as it doesnt hurt them! I know I was worried at first it would hurt them.

I don't really clean my bare bottom. :o. I just vacuum. :o

Should I be cleaning my bottom? :o

^^ I just wanted to lol at that :yeah::rofl3:rofl3:rofl3:booty:sorry::

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I have black eco complete which is like a very gravelly sand. Whats nice about it is it doesnt get caught up in my filters or float around. I do have to clean it and turn it over weekly with my siphon and once a day I put my gloved hands in the tank and swish the water around to get the waste and stuff over by the filters so it gets picked up. They love eating and spitting it out too. There are some sand like particles in it as some ends up in my tub each week when I'm siphoning. I have had bare bottom in the past as well as marbles and also I had river rock. The fish definitely are busier foraging which I like to see. I have to admit bare bottom is easiest but don't think I would ever switch back. I've thought about switching to sand but it seems like so much work to swap it out ugh. Also I have black caribsea sand in the betta tanks and find it much messier during water changes and there is always some in my filter sponges when I rinse and the bettas don't even sift.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

Edited by CindiL
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  • Regular Member

I have the Tahitian moon sand (tiny gravel) and it's great. I have very little--1/4" or less--so it stays nice and clean but it gives the fish a way to engage in natural goldfish behavior, which IMO barebottom does not. Plus I like the look.

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I have also been trying to decide if I want to add sand to my 29! I'm really loving the ease of vacuuming a bare bottom aquarium however I love black tms, I think it makes the goldfish colors really pop. Thanks for the post so know I can consider the pros and cons :)

Do it!

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I have petco sand and I love it. I prefer the larger grain because I CAN vacuum it and avoid sucking it up. It looks natural and the plants seem to love having something to dig their roots into. I've rarely had problems with the filter sucking it up due to the heavier grain as well.

The fish look beautiful against the white and I love being able to make little hills with it, plus it gives them something to sift through as well. :)

Edited by Chai
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BTW...I have never had any problems with my filters and sand. I keep my intakes about half way up the tank height and use air stones to help bring the water up from the bottom of the tank.

You can also install pre-filter sponges on your intakes to be extra safe.

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BTW...I have never had any problems with my filters and sand. I keep my intakes about half way up the tank height and use air stones to help bring the water up from the bottom of the tank.

You can also install pre-filter sponges on your intakes to be extra safe.

Same! My intake is half way up.

I keep an air stone where the water comes out so it pushes bubbles everywhere, no problem with sand flying around either. :D

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BTW...I have never had any problems with my filters and sand. ?I keep my intakes about half way up the tank height and use air stones to help bring the water up from the bottom of the tank.

?

You can also install pre-filter sponges on your intakes to be extra safe.

I use a pre filter and it is an awesome addition to a hob filter system anyway. It helps keep the water clearer I think and reduces the amount of gunk gets into your filter.

The only con is is you have to take it off and clean it regularly.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

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I have to say, I love barebottom for the fact that I can see how clean it is. I am super anal about bacteria getting in my tanks and it scares me to know there is stuff hiding in the substrate. For goldies I will probably always go barebottom just because I am majorly paranoid.

For my one betta tank though I have Caribsea sand and I love how it looks and the tank is heavily planted so I needed it. I still vaccum the sand, and get paranoid from debris, but at least my betta doesn't produce very much waste

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