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Old 01-03-2013, 06:44 AM   #1
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Change over

Gravel to Sand. 40g all live plants. Cory's, pictus, USD cat, guppies. Is it a HUGE pain to change over to sand or at least 1/2 sand and leave gravel where the plants are BC of the roots? How much crap am I going to 'kick' up?? Will it stress all my fish out ??? Pictures are of gravel I have now - relatively smooth rock
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #2
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Gravel to Sand. 40g all live plants. Cory's, pictus, USD cat, guppies. Is it a HUGE pain to change over to sand or at least 1/2 sand and leave gravel where the plants are BC of the roots? How much crap am I going to 'kick' up?? Will it stress all my fish out ??? Pictures are of gravel I have now - relatively smooth rock
It's not that bad, I've changed my substrate multiple times now, since youre changing from gravel to sand it won't be nearly as bad as when I switched from white sand to black sand haha. Take out all your plants, then switch substrate, then replant, they'll be okay. As for fish, most people probably take them out, but I didn't and they barely cared. Just do one side at a time so you're not chasing them around, my fish came up and nibbled on my hand while I was doing it. Start on one side and get all the gravel out there, then add some sand leaving a couple inches between the new sand and old gravel on the other side, then switch sides, remove gravel and put in the rest of your sand and replant.

And it will probably kick up a bit of gunk, after you remove your plants vacuum your gravel really well. Then all the stuff that gets kicked up will settle on your sand after its in an you can just do a quick vac, no biggie.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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For freshwater does it matter if it is regular aquarium sand or "live" sand. I've been having severely high nitrates and doing WC everyday and I've lost 3 Cory's. I guess the gunk kicked up will get taken care of by the filter! The ONLY reason I want to do this is BC the Cory's are losing barbels - if you look at photo, is that small rock the reason ??
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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For freshwater does it matter if it is regular aquarium sand or "live" sand. I've been having severely high nitrates and doing WC everyday and I've lost 3 Cory's. I guess the gunk kicked up will get taken care of by the filter! The ONLY reason I want to do this is BC the Cory's are losing barbels - if you look at photo, is that small rock the reason ??
If you put live sand in freshwater it won't be alive for long. Just use regular aquarium sand, something like Super Naturals brand sand, it's great stuff and really soft for your bottom dwellers. I wouldn't know why your nitrates rise so fast, my only thoughts are that something is decaying and you haven't found it yet, or because you have plants and can't vacuum the substrate as well that a bunch of gunk has built up and now is giving you high nitrates
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:10 PM   #5
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I took out Everything (except for plants) and gravel vac'd the crap out of it!!! I can't believe how much stuff hides under decorations!!! Hopefully this helped!! My nitrates have been +/- 80 for 2 weeks!!! I lost very expensive and rare Cory's !!!
Did a lot of plant trimming too , overgrown
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:12 PM   #6
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I took out Everything (except for plants) and gravel vac'd the crap out of it!!! I can't believe how much stuff hides under decorations!!! Hopefully this helped!! My nitrates have been +/- 80 for 2 weeks!!! I lost very expensive and rare Cory's !!!
Yea, wild caught fish don't tend to do so well with higher nitrates. And yes, soooo much crud is in gravel, it's not nearly as bad with sand because it sits on top and you can easily vac it up

That's the reason I switched, one day while using a gravel vac I looked in the bucket and it completely grossed me out, ever since that day I've had sand and I've never even thought about going back haha
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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For freshwater does it matter if it is regular aquarium sand or "live" sand. I've been having severely high nitrates and doing WC everyday and I've lost 3 Cory's. I guess the gunk kicked up will get taken care of by the filter! The ONLY reason I want to do this is BC the Cory's are losing barbels - if you look at photo, is that small rock the reason ??

Also, I would think that if you put live sand in a freshwater aquarium, wouldn't it raise the PH a bit along with salinity?
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Also, I would think that if you put live sand in a freshwater aquarium, wouldn't it raise the PH a bit along with salinity?
Yes, it would do only bad things in a freshwater aquarium.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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i had sand in a 55G and for the most part i loved it... only had a few problems though.

1) sand ALWAYS ended up in my filter, clogged it and nearly burnt out one motor

2) yes the fish waste will settle on top of the sand, but in my experience it was heavier than the sand so almost impossible to vac (even using a full water changer connected to a sink).

3) i could barely get my plants to grow in sand... i even upgraded my lighting to something better suited for plants and still had issues. also, i was always re-burying plants due to shifts in sand, it never stayed in one place like gravel does.

don't get me wrong though, i loved the sand aside from the above mentioned issues. so if you have already thought of solutions to these then you're quite a few steps ahead of where i was... sadly these issues may steer me away from ever attemping a sand substrate tank again
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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i had sand in a 55G and for the most part i loved it... only had a few problems though.

1) sand ALWAYS ended up in my filter, clogged it and nearly burnt out one motor

2) yes the fish waste will settle on top of the sand, but in my experience it was heavier than the sand so almost impossible to vac (even using a full water changer connected to a sink).

3) i could barely get my plants to grow in sand... i even upgraded my lighting to something better suited for plants and still had issues. also, i was always re-burying plants due to shifts in sand, it never stayed in one place like gravel does.

don't get me wrong though, i loved the sand aside from the above mentioned issues. so if you have already thought of solutions to these then you're quite a few steps ahead of where i was... sadly these issues may steer me away from ever attemping a sand substrate tank again
I hear this a lot with stuff like pool filter sand or play sand, but I haven't had an issue with supernaturals or petco brand sand, they're both pretty heavy sand. I never had any problems growing plants in either and it can be any worse than gravel you just have to use root tabs every now and then and pack the sand a little around your plants. I've never had either of this get stirred up by my filters and I keep my 406 intake pretty close to the substrate, even use the sand in my planted HOB without issues
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:37 PM   #11
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I hear this a lot with stuff like pool filter sand or play sand, but I haven't had an issue with supernaturals or petco brand sand, they're both pretty heavy sand. I never had any problems growing plants in either and it can be any worse than gravel you just have to use root tabs every now and then and pack the sand a little around your plants. I've never had either of this get stirred up by my filters and I keep my 406 intake pretty close to the substrate, even use the sand in my planted HOB without issues

hmmm... maybe i'm just cursed or unlucky lol, i used sand from petsmart
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #12
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bkiggy, I wouldn't think any single rock decor is responsible for your corys loss of barbels. Your high nitrates are probably more likely the cause.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:40 PM   #13
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Yeah. It's probably high nitrates or inf . Only 2 actually have/had barbels erosion and died. Others are ok
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:25 PM   #14
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bkiggy, I wouldn't think any single rock decor is responsible for your corys loss of barbels. Your high nitrates are probably more likely the cause.
I agree, this is where sand would be the better idea since its easier to clean because gunk doesn't get trapped and hidden in the gravel
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #15
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Well haven't decided yet. LFS said it is hard to get plants to grown in sand; but..... I did find this TINY gravel so ill have to see about that. Right now I've changed my focus to see about CO2 tank for the 40g. Have to research that and see if it is worth the hassle
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:10 AM   #16
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Well haven't decided yet. LFS said it is hard to get plants to grown in sand; but..... I did find this TINY gravel so ill have to see about that. Right now I've changed my focus to see about CO2 tank for the 40g. Have to research that and see if it is worth the hassle
It is absolutely not harder for plants to grow in sand. Neither gravel or sand hold nutrients that's why I suggested root tabs. Even a very thorough gravel vac of gravel will leave a lot of gunk in the substrate which decays and eventually leads to a runaway train scenario of nitrates especially since you have plants you really can't do a really intense gravel vac. With sand the gunk sits on top and though you have to hover the gravel vac about 1/4" above the sand it is still cleaner than gravel. A quick search through this forum will show you it's not hard to grow plants in sand. In my 20g I have fluorite and I'm really no happier with that than sand as far as the growing of plants go. Here's a pic of my tank using supernaturals Tahitian moon sand to prove my point that sand is no worse, the plants grow incredibly well. If you add co2 dont forget you have to have the lighting and nutrients to back it up.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:00 PM   #17
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Here is a picture of a new plant I got. IDK about co2. Seems a lot of trouble. I have/use liquid and tabs for fertilizer by Seachem
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:29 PM   #18
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Here is a picture of a new plant I got. IDK about co2. Seems a lot of trouble. I have/use liquid and tabs for fertilizer by Seachem
Very pretty plant, red temple? I don't use co2 either, I thought about it for my 20 gallon but for me it seems like just another expense for a larger tank
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:54 PM   #19
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Alrernantheria reinekii ?
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:10 PM   #20
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Alrernantheria reinekii ?
Cool that's what I thought, petco sells it as its actual name, a LFS I go to sells it as a common name "red temple". I've almost bought it before haha. Any closer to the gravel/sand decision? Haha
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