Posted: 2007.01.06(Sat)10:03 Post subject: Which substrate for Shellies?
I'm starting a 55g shellie (L. Stappersi) tank, probably next week, and I need to go to my LFS today to order the substrate, because their selection is... well... bad.
Anyway, I'm doing some research, and I was wondering what you guys thought about shellie substrates... I know that I can just use regular playground sand, but I really like the look of some of these specialty gravels, and some actually don't look *too* expensive.
So far what I've found is,
Eco-Complete for African Cichlids- this looks nice, but it's kind of on the expensive side, and it seems that its selling point is that it maintains a high pH, but in my experience my water doesn't need any help with that!
Tahitian Moon Sand- this one was recommended by my chum the fish-lady at my LFS. I've heard only good things about it, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Would my fish mind that its so dark, though? I don't know what the bottom of Lake Tangynika looks like.
Finally, the fish-lady mentioned some kind of substrate that is actually straight out of Lake Tangynika (hmm... seem like lake dismantling to any one else?) that is a mixture of crushed shells and very small whole shells. If she told me the name, I don't remember it. Does anyone know?
What do you guys think?
Also, how many kg do I need for a 55g tank to create the ideal depth for the shellies? _________________
If you buy the kind of sand at Home Depot labeled "Natural" sand, it really actually has a nice color and texture. I got 100 lbs (45kg) of it for about 7.50USD for my 40 gallon breeder (about same surface area as a 55 gallon) and only ended up using about half of it, but for shell-dwellers (who love to dig in deep layers of sand) 75-100 lbs should be about right.
However, the Tangyika sand would obviously be the best, because another interesting trait of shell dwellers is their tendency to move around and live in the shells that cover the bottom of the lake. So either go straight Tangyika sand, or buy the Home Depot sand and add your own shells. Oh! And if you buy the Home Depot sand, don't forget to wash it first, otherwise when you first fill the tank, visibility will be about 2 inches. _________________ I'm Back
Great! There is a home depot pretty close to where I live so I'll run out and check if they have it. That certainly makes life easier for me! The price is just right, too...
I read somewhere that I could wash it in a pillowcase. While I'm sure this would work, 45kg of sand will probably take a while to wash in a pillowcase! Any other ideas? _________________
For my 40 gallon I just took the tank out into the driveway, filled it up with sand, and then blasted it with the spray nozzle on the hose then drained it with a few scoops of a bucket. I did this until when I filled the tank with the hose it wasn't cloudy anymore. However, unless you can easily carry a 55 gallon tank with 45kg of sand from the stand to the driveway and back, this may not be the best way to do things, so you might have to wash the sand in small portions at a time, meaning that using a pillow case and adding sand to the tank gradually wouldn't be too bad an idea. _________________ I'm Back
Okay, so I got the sand, and I am sure glad I did. It was CHEAP ($4.50CDN for 22 kg!!)!. It's the colour I wanted too.
So now my question is, how deep does it need to be? I'm in the process of washing it, but it is REALLY hard work to wash that stuff in a pillowcase, because it's pretty dirty. At this point, one 22kg bag has gotten me 3.5 cm deep, but I'm pretty sure it needs to be deeper than that, right? _________________
Anywhere between 5cm and 10cm should be fine, but keep in mind that the deeper the sand is, the more anaerobic (sp?) bacteria colonies will form, creating the need for extensive vaccuming. Although your digging Tagyikans should keep the sand pretty well turned, I would guess that a layer on the lower end of the spectrum (5cm to 7cm) would be nominal.
By the way, I hope you didn't try to wash the sand on a rainy day like I did! _________________ I'm Back
Are you kidding? I did it in my bathtub! If I waited for it to stop raining, I might have had it done by June, if I was lucky... My washroom is now a complete mess, but that's the price I pay...
I ended up going with about five cm, because my back (and my wrists) gave out after that. The little buggers are just going to have to deal with it. I also sprinkled some fine river rock gravel in some places to add a bit of texture and make it easier to add some plants. (I'm probably going to just do Anubias, Java Fern, etc.) _________________
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum