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chade617

First Gravel, Now Bare, Next TMS?

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OK, after hours of searching the forums, I have concluded that the general approach to substrate is "all in the eye of the beholder." Some love gravel, some can't live without bare and others die by sand!

I have always sported black or natural gravel in my tanks and recently gave-in to a bare bottom set-up for my 46 bow in attempt to control my otherwise out-of-control nitrates. After a month, the nitrates are so-so, but I am already wishing I had my gravel back. The bare bottom is easy to clean, but looks incomplete in my opinion. I am now to the point where I will either put the gravel BACK in the tank, or switch to a thin layer of Tahitian Moon Sand (TMS). The gravel scares me from a choking stand point and bacteria trap, but the maintenance involved with sand turns me off as well, as there seem to be conflicting reports about the ease of TMS clean-up.

My topics of discussion:

How difficult is a TMS set-up AND is it safe for Goldies of all sizes?

How much is enough or too much?? (1/4" or 1/2" or more??)

Finally, (unrelated) I have a large chunk of driftwood in the tank that may be the culprit with my nitrate issues. General thoughts on driftwood with Goldies??

Any other comments or suggestions are welcome as well! Thanks! :clapping:

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I have TMS in one of my tanks, and love it. I've used it for nearly a year, without incident with any size goldfish, and I have fish ranging from tiny to huge. They will eat the sand, and poop it out, so don't be surprised.

Maintenance is a breeze since you just have to hoover the surface. This is pretty easy, because you can spot any detritus pretty well on the surface. The only negative I've experienced is that you will want to shorten your intake to about 1/2 way down the tank at most, or you risk getting sand in your filter. That's not a huge deal really, since you can just clean it out.

I have only a 1/4 inch layer in most places.

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I too have used TMS for a while, I think I put in in February of 2011...anyway, I love it. You clean it just like sand but don't have to worry about doing thorough gravel vacs. I shortened my intakes to 4 inches above the substrate. I have a few huge plants in there too. You just have to worry about sucking it up. Some people don't like the idea of it going down the drain. I haven't had a problem with it going down the bathtub drain but I have started siphoning the water out the back door instead.

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Thanks for the input. I think I will try some TMS in my 15 gallon before going all out on the 46. The stuff isn't cheap!

Any thoughts on the drift wood? I have notice a couple of my fish are missing scales on their sides and wonder if it can be from the drift wood?? Had it in there for almost a year, but the scale issue has been recent. Any thoughts on the drift wood's affect on the nitrate issue?

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I am personally not a fan of driftwood (having kept it myself in the beginning), but there are many here that keep it in their tanks without any problem :) Just make sure it is not hollow, and check it occasionally for soft spots that might indicate it is rotting (and time to replace :P)

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