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FAQ: Can I use SAND as substrate? How to convert?
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Max
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Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: 2004.01.14(Wed)13:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help. I get my water from a well wich is why its pretty hard I tested a glass and it alone had a pH of 8.0.
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Plantbrain
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Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Location: The swamp

PostPosted: 2004.01.14(Wed)13:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just do a few more water changes/larger ones for a few weeks after the addition to keep things the same.
All that limestone is good for rift AF cichlids.
Do water changes to your heart's content.

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Tom Barr
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iamkylemcandrews
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Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Location: Omaha Nebraska USA

PostPosted: 2004.01.26(Mon)0:26    Post subject: Changing Sand... Reply with quote

I have a 10g tank with 4 Neolamprologus Multifasciatus shell dwellers and some of their offspring. The sand I have in with them is rather old, it is Repti-Sand, and is extremely fine. This was OK at first but over time the sand began to clump and even sticks to algae and gets in filter more than I would prefer. Would I be able to take out a majority of the old sand and put newer, less fine sand in with a little of the old stuff? What can I purchase at Lowe's or Home Depot that is more of a grainy sand that I can use?

Thank you for your time...

(I haven't been on this forum in a very long time but have recently "cleaned up" my tanks and am finding new interest Very Happy )

Kyle
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bohica
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Joined: 10 Aug 2003
Location: western Ky.

PostPosted: 2004.01.26(Mon)8:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

You certainly do need to change the sand. Here is why. With a very fine substrate you get compression and clumping (as you've noticed) and over time this will lead to dire consequences in your tank. If the substrate is really dense and fine and is not "turned" occasionaly or rooted through it will become an anaerobic wasteland in which nothing helpful will ever survive. To avoid this you need fish such as loaches that regurlarly dig through the sand and keep it "turned". Some cichlids are good at this also but they use the "dig and spit" method. Or you can do it yourself but this is disruptive to an environment that should be disturbed as little as possible.

Now I'll stop rambling and answer your question. Very Happy If your biological filtration is independant of your substrate it will not hurt a thing to remove all the old sand and replace it. I am assuming it is seperate as using a UG filter with sand is totally senseless.

Purchasing playground sand at a home store is OK but you have to do a few things to it before it is safe for aquarium use. My procedure follows.

1. rinse/strain sand completely to remove particulates, trash, and debris.

2. Bake sand at 400 F for about 30 minutes to kill any micro critters that survived the rinse.

3. Rinse/strain sand again.

4. Use as desired.

Bohica
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Skysong
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: MB, Canada

PostPosted: 2004.02.16(Mon)15:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had play-sand in my 77-gallon community for about 4 months and I have yet to see any negative aspect of it. My cories absolutely love it, it looks very nice, it is easy to vac once you get the hang of it, and it keeps my tank cleaner. I have not had any plant-growing issues as of late, my amazon swords' roots are throughout the entire tank! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about sand... Smile
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ColinAnderson
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Joined: 02 Feb 2004
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

PostPosted: 2004.03.13(Sat)15:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine your local fish store would probably have what you need, and could probably provide you with some recommendations if you give them the information about your tank and what you want to do with it. Smile
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Gwmbox
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Joined: 04 Aug 2004

PostPosted: 2004.08.05(Thu)0:00    Post subject: Is baking really needed? Reply with quote

Reading through all the posts, I have seen some people mention baking sand before using it - is this really necessary to do? We are hoping to get a 180G tank and are considering using course grade pool filter sand, either by itself or with pea gravel on top, to give a darker look to the tank - if I need to bake this before using it, its going to take weeks!

We do want a planted tank, (common plants only) with angelfish, and probably tetras, plecos and some catfish. Any opinions on whether pool filter sand and pea gravel or just one layer of either the sand or the gravel would work better (external type filter system). We have only ever used standard aquarium gravel and would like something a bit different (LOL and not as expensive for such a large tank!)

Thanks!

Michelle
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Steve Hampton
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: 2004.08.05(Thu)6:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pool Filter sand is a bit ambiguous, and it differs from location to location. What you are looking for is a coarse grade silica sand. Too fine of sand will make it more difficult for your plants roots to penetrate and even make planting difficult as the finer sands compacts in water so tightly. Since your planning on live plants I suggest you add a couple of amendments to your sand.

Start with a layer of about one inch of sand, add about two cups per sq. ft. of tank bottom of ground peat and 1-2 oz. per gallon of tank water of First Layer Laterite. Mix this evenly and smooth out. And another 2-3 inches of sand on top of this sloping from lower in the front to higher in the back. I personally like to top the sand with a natural pea gravel of about 1/2 an inch. Alternately you can eliminate the laterite if you chose Seachem's Onyx sand, but still add the peat to the Onyx sand.

One last point. Adding MTS (Malaysian Trumpet Snails) to a planted tank with a sand substrate is a very good idea. The MTS keep the sand stirred and take debris and detritus down into the substrate to decompose adding nutrients for your plants. Their constant working of the sand keeps it loose and avoids any compaction issues.
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blackjack06
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Joined: 11 Oct 2004
Location: SW Florida

PostPosted: 2004.10.12(Tue)19:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Seachem Flourite Plant Substrate on the very bottom, then use a decent layer of sand on top and my plants do just fine. I don't "stir" the sand either. However, sand substrate tanks in my opinion require a bit more or frequent maintenance or cleaning. Just don't stir it or siphen so hard when cleaning that you are essentially mixing it all up. You can get playground sand from Lowes or Home Depot in like a 50lbs bag for a couple of bucks.
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travis simonson
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Joined: 21 Nov 2004
Location: Englewood, CO

PostPosted: 2004.11.26(Fri)22:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all I want to apologize for dredging this thread back up. I've got a few questions I didn't see any answers for though, so I thought I would ask.

1] I'm setting up a new 30G grow-out tank, fry nursery for my planted African cichlid tank and I want the water conditions to replicate as closely as possible those of my large tank - pH 7.2 (CO2 moderated from a nominal 8.0), KH 14-15, GH 16-17. My plan is to put down a 1" or so layer of Flourite on the bottom and cover that with a layer of fine white aragonite reef sand. I really love the way that fine reef sand looks and it should serve very well to buffer the water to the levels I keep in my main tank. My worry is that it may buffer too well, as I don't have any experience with saltwater substrates and am not sure exactly how effective they are at buffering.

2] Assuming that I do use a Flourite/aragonite mix, will the carbonates in the aragonite cause root damage to my plants? In my large tank I use a mixture of 25% buffered Eco-Complete Cichlid Sand / 75% Eco-Complete Plant Substrate and don't have any problems with burned roots, but I'm not sure how well the Cichlid Sand compares to aragonite. I'll admit that I'm being stubborn in wanting to use this specific type of reef sand substrate but I really haven't been able to find any inert sand substrate that even comes close to the way it looks. And I am going to transplant a crew of MTS's over to the new tank to help with the prevention of compaction. They do a magnificent job in my big tank and also provide an endless feast of tasty snacks for my omnivorous Africans.

Well that's all I can come up with right now. I hope this doesn't sound too crazy. Thanks for the input guys! Smile
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