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Old 04-06-2005, 03:38 AM   #1
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gravel and sand substrate

SpaceButler's post reminded me that i wanted to add sand to the gravel already in my 20gal. i was wondering if i should...

1. turn off the filter and add the sand in with everything the way it is or vacuum the gravel first

2. remove my fish before putting the sand in

3. just get rid of all the gravel and put sand only

i've read that there are some added benefits to having both sand and gravel but is that really true? is having all of one better than having a mix?
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:15 AM   #2
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You can have sand and gravel. Why not? It would give it a rocky/sandy beach look. I think I would vacum the gravel as well as you can first. Also shut off your filter. Then you can add pre-soaked sand to your tank either with the water and fish or without. It might be easier to take the fish out and lower the water level, but thats not a requirement. One way to add the sand is to place it in a tupperware container place it on the bottom of the tank and slowly open the top and gently scoop the sand out. If your sand is soaked really well, you shouldn't have to much clouding or "floaters". I would keep your filter off for a little while and also put a sponge over your intake for a few days until all the sand settles. I'm sure other people have more techniques, but thats mine HTH
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:44 AM   #3
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speaking of that would i be able to add sand to my tank? i already have 50 lbs of natural substrate, now i just want to add sand so if my fish ever decide to "itch" themselves on the substrate it wouldnt hurt them as much
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
One way to add the sand is to place it in a tupperware container place it on the bottom of the tank and slowly open the top and gently scoop the sand out. If your sand is soaked really well, you shouldn't have to much clouding or "floaters".
thanks for the suggestion. that "soaking" part doesnt sound right...sand isnt porous like a sponge. to get rid of most of the floaters i rinsed it really well and other than that all you can do is wait for them to settle on the bottom once its in the tank.

it'd be nice if someone could tell me what the benefits of having both sand and gravel are other than giving your plants a substrate that gives their roots something to grab onto as well as keeping them in place.
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:53 PM   #5
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:06 PM   #6
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As DG said, by soaking the sand, it will sink faster. If it is wet you won't have as many issues with floaters. If you put dry sand into the tank, 1) it is not cleaned and 2) it will take longer for it to fall to the bottom. I know, that sounds odd but if you soak the sand first, it will clump together, holding the water. It's hard to explain, but the sand should definately be soaked first.

I can't think of any benefits of having sand and gravel in the tank together. Basically it would just be for looks. I don't know about live plants, don't have them. If you have a question on that, you should start a thread in the Planted Tanks forum.
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Old 04-06-2005, 06:08 PM   #7
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:18 PM   #8
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Felf, I was given a 55 gal sw tank with sand. I use it as a FW tank so switched the cleaned sand out for 30 lbs of Estes gravel. I used a large fishnet and scooped the sand out as best I could, siphoned the rest into a bucket then threw in my rinsed gravel. The fish stayed in. I turned my filter off just in case but the sand did not move around as much as i thought it would, I did not have any floaters (the sand I mean ).
As far as beneficial effects other than appearance, it would probably close off some pockets of substrate that might gather decaying food. Maybe if you did want to switch to plants, it would give them something better to root in, depending on the sand. I have heard that a 50/50 mix of gravel and fluorite or onyx sand is good for plants but I do not know what kind of sand you are using.
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:36 AM   #9
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My experience with a sand and gravel mixture is that the sand will eventually make its way to the bottom and you will have gravel on top of sand. Others may have different results but i would personally go with one or the other. Unless of course you want half sand and the other half gravel. That may look good.
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:28 AM   #10
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i have silica sand and just bought some flourite ($36 RIP OFF but there's only one local source) today. it's ok if there're layers because i can always mix them up again. the contrast might be kind of nice
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