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Old 09-28-2017, 01:55 PM   #1
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Switching substrate from gravel to... Opinions?

Hey! I'm still in pre-planning stages for my 35gal and I REALLY want to try sand (or similar) substrate. I've always had gravel before but I like the natural look of sand.

This will also be my first try with live plants (starting minimal, all live plants will be "tied" to drift wood.) but I want to choose a sand that will allow me to branch out with planting if I decide too, and/or don't kill everything green in my tank.

There seems to be SO many substrate choices; mixing two substrates, layering them, etc... but I really want to keep it simple.

I've also been made paranoid by anaerobic air pockets also. I don't plan on having enough plants to eliminate this. I heard you can choose coarse sand? But I also need something that will be okay for a Featherfin Catfish (he is in a gravel now, but I heard when given sand, they will "dig")

So to summarize. I'm hoping narrow down some options that will give me the flexibility to branch into more planting if I decide too, and be okay for the Featherfin. All of my research so far seems to be stuff geared towards people who want to do a full planted tank or scaping...
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:07 PM   #2
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My tank has sand for substrate and though it's aesthetically pleasing to the eye it's a pain in the butt! My featherfin is constantly kicking up sand which in turn goes into the filter. So I have clean the filter at least 2 a week or else it will make a horrible noise like nails on a chalkboard! I haven't tried to grow any plants because I have silver dollar fish. I hope you have a different experience than what I am having, good luck
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:07 AM   #3
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Pool filter sand is the answer. It's a white color. Easy to clean. Easy to maintain. It's a larger grain so the fish don't kick too much around. I've had PFS in all my tanks and I've never had an issue with gas pockets. It's cheap and available usually at ace hardware.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:44 AM   #4
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Well that was even helpful for me thanks!
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:38 PM   #5
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Black Diamond blasting sand is a good cheap choice if you want a black substrate.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:22 PM   #6
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After you fill your tank and before you add anything, run your fingers or a spatula through the sand to release as many air bubbles as you can. Repeat this a few times...it will help with the potential air pocket issue. I use sand and have never had a problem.
+1 with pool filter sand. It's a heavier grain and a nice color. Helpful hint...rinse, rinse, rinse!
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:50 PM   #7
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I love using sand, most people say to use pool sand or blasting sand. I'm not sure what kind of sand I use honestly. Something my husband buys from a local store, it's probably pool sand. It's been a while since I've had to buy some.
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