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Old 04-11-2013, 12:30 AM   #1
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Gravel to sand

I've been thinking about going to sand but I currently have gravel, it's a 55 gallon tank and I'm not sure on how to approach this? I understand ill probably have to take out all the fish and water to get all of the gravel out but how long do I have to wait for the sand to settle? Also what sort of sand do I need? I plan on having a whole lot of plants as well do I need to put some sort of substrate in it? I already have plants started. And If I'm getting a canister filter can I put some gravel in one of the trays as a mechanical filtration, I just don't want to throw out all the gravel I bought in September.

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Old 04-11-2013, 12:51 AM   #2
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I started with gravel in my 10 gal, and opted for black Petco "aquarium sand" for my 75 gallon. I rinsed and all the stuff you're supposed to, but basically it comes down to letting it sit in the tank a few days, stirring it once in a while with something (I used a piece of PVC pipe) to get the bubbles out and break the surface tension, and after about a week, starting up the filter. The filter gave me a few false starts, because I got sand in the impeller - took it apart, cleared it, and it worked fine. Since then, the sand hasn't given me any filter issues. As the sand sits for a few weeks, it gets heavier, and is less likely to get sucked up by the vacuum or stirred up in the water. Not sure what happens, but it seems to settle in.

My tiger loach seems to like it, and it's fairly easy to vacuum. Poop stays on top instead of sinking into the cracks and being a problem every time you stir the substrate. Only one ammonia spike while cycling so far.

Planting fake plants is a little tough because they're buoyant, and the sand isn't very heavy, but I found it's really easy to just hold it by the stem at the base with the aquarium-grabber, push down into the sand, and it's sucked up. No digging required, really. But, stuff can get jostled/ dug up easily too. I need to push down a grass mat, come to think of it...

I'm a newbie, so take my experience/advice for what it's worth.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:03 AM   #3
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Well sand is inert so you'll definitely need some root tabs. Some people use the sand to cap organic soil. IMO, I'm not a big fan of the cake layer look... But i suppose this can be done in a way that the soil is not visible through the front glass.

What color sand were you thinking?
If you're thinking of going dark, i would suggest going for all Eco Complete as it's a good planted tank substrate.

Anyway, I'd put all the fish in a large bucket with clean water and an airstone for at least a day or two until the tank settles. After which, you should monitor your tank closely for any signs of a mini cycle.. You might have to do a few PWC's in close succession through this process until the beneficial bacteria can fully re-establish.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:09 AM   #4
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Empty tank

Put sand in

Put a bowl in the tank and tip water into the bowl, this will stop 90% of the sand being kicked up, 3 or 4 hours you'll have Crystal clear water again
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gravel, sand

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