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Old 10-03-2013, 06:54 PM   #1
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What to know about sand?

I currently have gravel and I like the look of the sand. So can I get some pro's an con's? And what to knows? Can I lay it on top of my gravel?
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:34 PM   #2
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Pros

Plants do better than if in gravel.
looks better
Substrate sifting fish and shrimp do better.
Easier to clean. Less waste gets trapped

Cons
You have to poke it to release trapped gas
You have to use a prefilter on the intake to keep it from hurting your filter
You have to be careful vacuuming it so you do not suck it up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildroseofky View Post
Pros

Plants do better than if in gravel.
looks better
Substrate sifting fish and shrimp do better.
Easier to clean. Less waste gets trapped

Cons
You have to poke it to release trapped gas
You have to use a prefilter on the intake to keep it from hurting your filter
You have to be careful vacuuming it so you do not suck it up.
These are all good pros and cons. I will add one thing to the con list - silicates in some sand may lead to a diatom bloom, but this will usually clear up in a couple months on its own if it happens and it is harmless, just kind of ugly.

And no, you can't add it on top of your gravel. It will fall through the cracks in the gravel and eventually end up underneath the gravel.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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how can you tell if you have a gas pocket? I am planning on the switch to.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:02 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! What's a good cheap vaccuum
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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I personally use Pool filter sand, since it is heavier it tends to have less vacuumed up when cleaning the tank.

I use a $10 manual gravel vacuum that I got from Petsmart to clean up my sand substrate. It works really well, gets all the "crap" while leaving the sand on the bottom. I pick up some sand dust that I missed while washing it before I put it in my tank but almost no actual full sand particles.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:21 PM   #7
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You cannot tell if there is gas built up until it erupts from the sand. Just take a chopstick or other such thing and poke around in the sand every few days. I usually do this about twice a week. Make sure to pay attention to areas around plants. That is were I get most of my gas built up. Doesn't take much time to do that.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #8
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Thanks a lot guys. You've all put in wonderful input, I'll be doing the switch Friday. One more question, how frequently do I have to change the sand( if at all)
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #9
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So far I've never had to change the sand out on my tanks. I also tend to keep mts in my sand tanks. They bury themselves in the sand and turn it over for you, cutting down the likelihood of getting gas pockets building up. For the most part I don't even see them, unless I come down late one night when the lights in the room are off
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:31 AM   #10
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I already have 2 zebra snails. The man at the lfs too me they were nerite so they will not mate in freshwater. So 2 more snails won't be too much?
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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Nerite or other such snails will not mix up the sand. Malaysian Trumpet Snails bury themselves during the day so they keep the sand mixed up. I have mystery snails and ramshorn snails. They keep the tank clean but do not bury in the sand. I am told as long as you do not over feed, the MTS will not get out of hand. You do not replace the sand. After it has been in the tank for awhile, it is actually bad to remove it unless you break down the tank. I started out with pool filter sand but wanted black sand. A year in I found black sand and tried to remove the pfs without taking the fish, shrimp, and snails out. I had a major mini cycle and killed a lot of my shrimp. So be careful if you decide to remove it.
I have added more sand to the existing sand because vacuuming does remove a little and over time decreases the amount of sand in the tank. I just add more as needed. Another thing about black sand, it doesn't seem to cause the diatoms that pool filter sand does. I used Black Diamond Blasting sand, coal slag.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:14 PM   #12
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+1 as wild rose said, mts won't get out of hand unless you are over feeding the tank. They are self limiting, so if the food isn't there they won't reproduce. As with other snails and shrimps their bioload is almost non existant and they should be fine with zebras. You won't even know they are there unless you catch them after lights out, and you know that the sand is constantly being turned over.
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