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Old 12-08-2005, 02:21 PM   #1
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Changing gravel

I am looking to change the gravel in my 55 to a more natural color, what is in there know is a red, I found a substrate at home depot that says it can be used for ponds, it is black and has a small slate look to it, my question that I have read in previous posts it that if substrate is too sharp it can cut fish, Should I be worried about this, this is a fish only tank with south american cichlids
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:33 PM   #2
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sharp gravel is more of a concern for bottom dwellers. Catfish and loaches and fish that rest on the bottom a lot. Do any of your cichlids rest on or swim close to the bottom?
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:56 PM   #3
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Another thing with cichlids is the will stir up the sand or substrate for food retrival. I would be very careful of any gravel that is sharp. Why not look into pool filter sand, it is natural looking and very inexpensive.
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Old 12-09-2005, 01:10 AM   #4
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i agree on the pool filter sand.. great stuff and really cheep. All of my future tanks will have this.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:33 AM   #5
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Sand would be a great idea but a couple of things

Pool filter sand I have read it sometime too sharp

Is this sand agronite or silica sand

How heavy is pool filter sand, like with my saltwater sand it took a while for bacteria to load the sand so when I disturb the bottom it is not going to take an hour to settle, another reason for this is I don't want it to get into my filter and mess it up(has happen before with a saltwater)

As far as cost and place to purchase(I assume a pool store), what do I ask for just pool filter sand

thanks
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:16 AM   #6
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just go to home depot and look for "Pool filter sand" it is white to brown in color, it settles pretty quick. You have to stir it up, or you can get some MTS (thats what i have) they burrow into the sand and keep it churned up and keep from forming anaerobic pockets
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Old 12-09-2005, 02:03 PM   #7
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just go to home depot and look for "Pool filter sand" it is white to brown in color, it settles pretty quick. You have to stir it up, or you can get some MTS (thats what i have) they burrow into the sand and keep it churned up and keep from forming anaerobic pockets

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You have used this sand and no problems with your fish, do I need to worry about chemicals mixed with pool sand, and as far as anaerobic pockets that form, are these toxic to fish, should I do only a 1-1.5" thickness to reduced possible anaerobic pockets
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Old 12-09-2005, 05:09 PM   #8
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many many people on here have used pool filter sand with absolutely no problems. Its awesome stuff. you have to stir up the sand every now and then to keep it from forming anaerobic pockets as i said before.. i have about 2" of substrate but i also have MTS to keep it churned up.
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Old 12-09-2005, 08:03 PM   #9
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I have about 3" of pool filter sand, there is no chemical effect on the water and my cichlids love it! I don't have MTS to stir the sand I just stir it as necessary.
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:25 PM   #10
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I have about 3" of pool filter sand, there is no chemical effect on the water and my cichlids love it! I don't have MTS to stir the sand I just stir it as necessary.
But do you have live plants? See i have live plants... so stirring up the sand isn't really an option for me, thats why i love the trumpet snails.. they do an awesome job.
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:31 PM   #11
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Some live plants but not too many, with my clown loaches and yoyo loaches snails wouldn't make it anyway. 8)
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:37 PM   #12
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Some live plants but not too many, with my clown loaches and yoyo loaches snails wouldn't make it anyway. 8)
don't be so sure.. the MTS have very tough shells and they dig down into the sand. I have them in my 55 gallon as well and at night the snails go up on the glass and there are TONS.. but during the day you don't see them at all.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:31 PM   #13
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I don't think it matters how tough the shells are because the loaches eat the snails right out of the shells.
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Old 12-09-2005, 11:39 PM   #14
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I don't think it matters how tough the shells are because the loaches eat the snails right out of the shells.
sometimes.. but the MTS also have trap doors and can retreat into their shells... also they can burrow down into the gravel and sand. Yes the loaches will dig them up.. but they still survive surprisingly well. I have 3 medium sized clown loaches in my 55 gallon and plenty of MTS.
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Old 12-12-2005, 02:14 PM   #15
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I replace my gravel with sand this week, wow when I started agitating the bottom of the gravel my water turned straight black(no fish in tank), It smelled horrible, the next morning though when the lights kicked on, it looked good, I am thinking about adding a little more sand though, Before I get some MTS how often should I disturb the sand bed
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Old 12-12-2005, 02:15 PM   #16
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Can I put a dojo loach in with a sand bed
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Old 12-12-2005, 02:18 PM   #17
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Yes a loach will love a sand bed.
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Old 12-12-2005, 03:19 PM   #18
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I have pool filter sand in my 55G. It's awsome stuff, and the loaches love it. So do my eels. It does stir up easily, but quickly settles within a minute or two at most. And haven't had any problems with it getting into my filter either. Awsome stuff and looks great.

Another thing is you need to rinse it before putting in the tank like regular gravel. I used a large pitcher to do this, about 1/3 pitcher at a time. When I added to the tank, still got really cloudy. But within 20 minutes, was crystal clear. Just be prepared for a small dust storm when adding, it's normal, and will settle quickly. And don't have your filter in until the dust cloud settles, you don't want to get sand particles in the impeller assembly, etc.
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Old 12-12-2005, 04:31 PM   #19
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i have to say--not be argumentative or anything--but in my recent experience, i haven't been able to keep any mts alive in my tank at all. i just put about 50 or so in--randing from 3/8" to 3/4" and all i keep finding are empty shells! they haven't been cracked, but i think my loaches have become experts at sucking them out! i have 4 clowns (from 4"-5") and 4 yoyos (from 2" to 4").

i'm hoping that some of the mts made it under the gravel, but i can't really tell. my loaches have also successfully eaten some larger apple snails, about 1.5". i now have a love/hate relationship with them--i really like snails, but my darn loaches just think they're lunch! but then again...my loaches are pretty cute...for pig monsters...the little darlings... (head starts to spin 360 deg and explodes!)
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:22 PM   #20
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your clown loaches are bigger than mine crazycat... i don't have any trouble keeping the MTS alive.. but thats probably because my clown loaches are like 2". I hve MTS in my 10 and 55 gallon.
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