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Old 10-22-2003, 01:00 AM   #1
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plans scrapped, new 20g sand tank going up.

I decided that instead of trying to add cory cats to a established comet tank I decided to start a new sand substrate tank.

I have a 20 gallon tank, an ac mini, 50w cheap heater and driftwood.
Thus are the supplys I have so far other than food and test kits.
Fish wise I was thinking of adding a betta and some other hardy and colorful fish and if I can find one I would Love to have a bristle nose pleco.
I realize that 3 corys, a pleco, a betta and a school of small fish is too much for 20 gallons which is why I need suggestions on how to put this together.
I also need to know what sand to get, how to clean it and an appropreate filter seeing as how an ac mini probably won't be able to do the trick, and also what color sand to fish like the most?

keep in mind I have a tight budget of about $60 canadian.
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Old 10-22-2003, 03:32 AM   #2
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This is just a comment about sand in freshwater aquariums (this is directly from my experience, so there's a chance this might not be definite in happening to you, but it could).

Since the sand is so compact, it's atrocious for a bacteria culture. Basically, all of your bacteria is sitting on the top rather than throughout the substrate. It helps if you add some large porous rocks, which will grow a pretty algae on top and bacteria in the crevices (both combatting ammonia).

For some reason, it's great for growing algae. Not entirely sure why, but it does.

Planting is a major pain, because one bottom feeder can knock loose your plants unless you use weights (which can squeeze the roots to death if you're not careful) or rocks to surround the base of the stem. And if you don't want rocks...expect to see floating plants almost daily.

If you don't have some serious filtration (mechanical and natural), you're probably going to have ammonia problems. Right now in a 20 gallon long with a sand substrate, I have 10 tiger barbs, 4 cory cats, and 4 clams (which act as filters; they're really cool :P); but I also have two massive penguin power filters each with bio-wheels (filtering somewhere in the area of 400 gph), and -TONS- of plants. With all of this and really, relatively normal packing of fish, I still get ammonia spikes every once in a while. Expect it; it'll probably happen.

Now, why use sand? Because it looks absolutely beautiful. Plus, my cory's love it. So would I go to rocks for this setup given the chance? Never; it simply looks amazing, and the trouble is more than worth it. Just remember, you'll probably have to do a few more water changes a month than you would if you had rocks with an ugf.

Now, as for which type of sand, there are lots you can use. There are cheap blasting sands that are ok (some are a pretty black), and there's "creek" sand that you can get at a fishstore or pond store. Avoid calci-sand, which is made for reptiles. I got some of that once for ghost shrimp that I was trying to breed (since they need calcium), and it just turned out to be a huge mess. Plus, it's expensive :P.

As for your stocking idea, it'd be just fine if it's a 20g long (provided you go overboard on filtration like I do).

Don't know if I answered all, or any of your questions, and sorry for the long reply :P.
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Old 10-22-2003, 08:56 AM   #3
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With diligent water care, 3 corys, the betta, the bristlenose (don't get a common plec!) and the small school (5-8 fish) won't be overloading the system. Prob is $60 CDN isn't much, and you folks don't get the discount we Americans seem to from bigals.com...hrmmm; you'll need a decent filter for that tank and they aren't cheap. Throw a post into the classifieds and maybe barter/trade forums (if you have something to trade) and see if anyone is selling/trade a filter cheap.
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Old 10-22-2003, 11:49 AM   #4
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I would go with at least an AC 200 in that tank. If you went with a school of smaller tetras like neons, silver tips, lemons etc... then you will be fine and shouldn't overload too much. Cories will absolutley love a sandy bottom and will rummage through it constantly stirring the top over. Also Malaysian Trumpet snails are perfect for burrowing through the sand an eliminating anaerobic pockets of gas. If the sand is deep enough then you don't have to worry about plants getting unrooted.

Most people seem to go and buy playsand from Homedepot for fairly cheap and then just wash it really well. It will be very cloudy at first when added to the tank but will settle. Otherwise places like Big Als will seel aquarium sand which can be anywhere from white to black in colour. So it depends on what colour you are looking for.
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Old 10-22-2003, 02:44 PM   #5
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Well, I am willing to do this but it looks like if filtering is a major issue I will have to postpone this endevor until I can find proper funds.
I'm gonna copy and paste your posts so I have a guide in the future .
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Old 10-22-2003, 04:41 PM   #6
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Also if you go with sand you may wish to place some sort of prefilter over the intake of the filter, maybe nylon stretched over and tied down or else some sponge. This will help prevent sand particles from getting sucked in and clogging the impellor.
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Old 10-22-2003, 05:50 PM   #7
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Do you guys think that an ac mini would be able to handle the load from a 10 gallon sand tank?
It probably wouldn't be to hard to convert my QT tank atleast until I can afford to equip my 20 gal.
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