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Old 02-27-2009, 12:44 AM   #1
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can/should I change my gravel to black sand?

10 gallon tank with aqueon power filter 10 (came in the kit)
filter-max prefilter i ordered is on its way so i can hook it up to the uplift
thinking of getting a sponge filter or two if i need more filtration as i think i am way overstocked and my fish have to stay this way for about 7-9 months

i've had my tank for about a month now
i have 12 neon tetras and 1 male albino bristlenose pleco
i have blue red white pebbles with medium sized clear brownish gravel
2 amazon sword
2 hornwort (not really sure what this is but i think it looks like the pics i found on google)
1 mystery plant (this is dying and i have to take it out soon im just giving it a last chance)

i noticed that the pleco tried to burrow under the gravel when it was trying to hide. i dont know if they just like to burrow or he was just annoyed by me staring at him for too long (i heard their sense of site is really bad)
i also found out that my neon tetras look nicer in black environment and so i added a black background to my fish tank.
so i was just wondering if it is possible for me to change my pebbles and my gravel to black sand as i think my fish will appreciate the black sand a lot more than what i currently have
would it be too much stress for the fish as im already way overstocked? i talked to the guy at LFS today and he told me siphoning is a pain with sand and told me to stick with what i have. the LFS sells bags of black sand and the guy actually discouraged me from getting it. maybe i should just listen to him?? what do you think guys?
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:39 AM   #2
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If I was you, I'd ignore the guy at the lfs and get it. Also, pick up a small peice of driftwood (your pleco will thank you!) and see if you can get some Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS) they will help to keep the sand aerated.

I had black sand in all of my tanks not so long ago, I loved it. It's not difficult to vac with sand - it actually makes it easier, you can see the mess sitting on top of the sand! The trick i used was to lift the siphon about 4cm of the sand and work in circle motions, this creates a mini cyclone and sucks up all of the gunk, you may get a little bit of sand too, but it really is a minimal amount.

Hope that helps, oh and make sure the filter intakes aren't too close to the sand to suck any up that gets disturbed by your pleco - this may not be applicable with your filters, i'm not familiar with them.
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:47 AM   #3
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dooooo it!! and post a picture of ur tank! but make sure ur tank is cycled so that u dont remove too much bacteria fromt he gravel. just move your fish to a bucket or tuperware container, then just take out the water, scoop out the gravel, put in sand, add water, and add fish!
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:32 AM   #4
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If you want to do it, do it.
IMO you will be no better off. BN Plecos do not burrow and do not need sand, They do like caves. So if you change it do it because you want to change the looks.
Hornwort will make a mess when it sheds.(I had Hornwort in several tanks, I finally ended up throwing it all away)
I would not add snails or any other animal to an already overstocked tank.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:01 AM   #5
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I really don't think that by adding a few snails (to stir the sand) you would have any problems. Neons are very small fish that don't produce a lot of waste. Having live plants is helping keep things balanced. This is the type of fish that really messes with the horrible inch per gallon rule.
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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I have 4 nanos tanks with sand in. The secret to cleaning a nano with sand is use a turkey baster in the areas where the gunk collects. Some sand do cause major algae issues because of the silica. I haven't had that problem with the brand I use. If you want good stem plant growth you can do one of 2 things use root tabs the quick and easy way or use a light dusting of topsoil or potting soil I used some African violet soil, I sifted with a flour swifter. If you use soil you will have to watch your ammonia and your ph it can cause a major cycle and lower your ph. If you are thinking of adding snails get some Malayaisan trumpet snails. If you decide on no snails you have to poke down in your sand to release areobic pockets that can actually build up and release on their own and cause fish loss.

If your plant is dieing back pull it out and cut off the good part and plant it again. Some plants like java ferns, and anubias should not be planted.

Sounds like I raid my kitchen on a regular basis for my aquariums. I really don't.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:04 AM   #7
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Thank you everyone for their advices
YEAH~~ im going to change it soon
i think my tank is still pretty new and i dont want to disturb any bacteria colony and i am also waiting for this sponge prefilter that might help with the sand getting into the filter uptake
you guys really think my overstocked tank would be ok with a snail or 2?
should i get more then 1 snail? ive heard snails reproduce like crazy and people had to get puffers or chemicals to get rid of them
ill wait to see if one of my LFSs carry MTS and in the mean time im going to stir up the sand myself as i already do PWC about twice a week.
im going to keep up with this twice a week PWC until i get a master test kit and to know for sure my water parameters are ok
i love my fish too much and i dont want to see anyone die
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missileman View Post
If you want to do it, do it.
IMO you will be no better off. BN Plecos do not burrow and do not need sand, They do like caves. So if you change it do it because you want to change the looks.
Hornwort will make a mess when it sheds.(I had Hornwort in several tanks, I finally ended up throwing it all away)
I would not add snails or any other animal to an already overstocked tank.
he does spend most of his daytime under the driftwood i put in for him
i think he comes out at nights...
hornwort (i think it is) is shedding like crazy and is making such a mess after my plants die (hornwort and mysterious plant. amazon swords are looking very healthy) im going to replace the spot with caves
so you think no snails?
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:35 AM   #9
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You are a bit overstocked but not by that much. I would actually get the MTS, they are livebearers because the good out weighs the bad IMO. One thing you can do to keep the good bacteria is to put a bunch of your gravel you have in a mesh bag and leave it in your tank for a couple of weeks after your change over.
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrism View Post
If I was you, I'd ignore the guy at the lfs and get it. Also, pick up a small peice of driftwood (your pleco will thank you!) and see if you can get some Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS) they will help to keep the sand aerated.

I had black sand in all of my tanks not so long ago, I loved it. It's not difficult to vac with sand - it actually makes it easier, you can see the mess sitting on top of the sand! The trick i used was to lift the siphon about 4cm of the sand and work in circle motions, this creates a mini cyclone and sucks up all of the gunk, you may get a little bit of sand too, but it really is a minimal amount.

Hope that helps, oh and make sure the filter intakes aren't too close to the sand to suck any up that gets disturbed by your pleco - this may not be applicable with your filters, i'm not familiar with them.
i do have a driftwood for him and he is always under the driftwood kind of sucking on it. i only saw him swim around really late at night once and never saw him separated from the wood again
the prefilter i ordered and is on its way here is a sponge attachment to any uplift or a filter intake. i hope this traps all the fine sand particles before it enters my filter.
ill hold on to the snail for a while ( i heard they are big waste producers) and stir the sand myself until have actually test my water and see how good/bad it is.
if i do add a snail should it be only MTS or could i go with other kinds?
can i even add ghost shrimps? i heard they burrow and maybe that will help aerate the sand?
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Old 02-27-2009, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joy13 View Post
You are a bit overstocked but not by that much. I would actually get the MTS, they are livebearers because the good out weighs the bad IMO. One thing you can do to keep the good bacteria is to put a bunch of your gravel you have in a mesh bag and leave it in your tank for a couple of weeks after your change over.
i was actually thinking of changing a half of the gravel and wait like 2-3 weeks and then change the other half. i was at the LFS the other day and saw some kind of snails on sale. i didnt even bother to look at the name of the snail but they could be MTS
i have a lot of planning to do...and this is what makes ths hobby exciting
what about some ghost shrimps in your opinion?
i eventually want to upgrade to a bigger tank (29g, 30g, or 36g bowfront)and have some corys and a dwarf gourami but that would have to be after this summer
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:07 PM   #12
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Ghost shrimp are a small bioload the thing with ghost shrimp is they are usually bred for live food so the quality is hard to predict.

If the snails were being sold chance are they are mystery snails most shops don't even sell MTS but if they have them there they will give them to you.

Your idea of changing half the gravel at a time might be messy but it is probably the best way to prevent a mini cycle or a complete recycle.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:57 PM   #13
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This is a stupid question and a good answer will prevent a disaster
do you think there is a room for some cory fish say...like 3 of them?
i was thinking of albino cory
if this is a stupid idea stop me by all means before a disaster
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:06 AM   #14
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Looking at what is in your tank right now, I wouldn't chance it. I have a habit of understocking but right now you are stocked a little over the limit. The bristlenose is a huge bioload on the tank.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:25 AM   #15
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i'd say yes to mts. and no to anymore fish. i don't know how big your pleco is right now, but i believe the bn get to be about 6 in. and if they grow like common plecos, a big part of that will happen quickly.
you've had this tank for a month? i'd say, slow down (i know it's hard) take care of the fish you have. build fantasy tanks in your mind. window shop online for your future fish and when you get another tank, get i big one.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:30 AM   #16
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the pleco i have now is about a little less than 4 in.
i did my research before i got him and found out that only grows upto 4-6 in.
man i need to upgrade...when i bought this 10 gallon deluxe kit instead of 5.5 cube box they had at petland disounts, i thought i was getting a big enough tank
now i regret i didnt go for 29 gallon deluxe kit maybe i should get one next month its only $129 lol
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:38 AM   #17
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i know people advise against it, but i've gotten three tanks off craigslist for cheap. and don't worry, i did the same thing. 2 gal, to 10 gal to 37t gal. now i have a 5.5, 10, 20, 37t and a 55 gal. and a 30 gal waiting. oh, and if you get stuff used, there are often things to go with it, filters, heaters, gravel etc.
check the seams, and for scratches.
ugh. what a wonderful, addictive fulfilling hobby.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robott View Post
i'd say yes to mts. and no to anymore fish. i don't know how big your pleco is right now, but i believe the bn get to be about 6 in. and if they grow like common plecos, a big part of that will happen quickly.
you've had this tank for a month? i'd say, slow down (i know it's hard) take care of the fish you have. build fantasy tanks in your mind. window shop online for your future fish and when you get another tank, get i big one.
ive had this tank for a little over a month
thanks to you guys my fish live a less stressed lives in their small tank
its hard just imagining what sized tank i can have and what fish i can put in the tank
i have been doing this building fantasy tank in my mind for a month now i want a real thing now!!!
im thinking of going with aqueon deluxe kit 29 which is only $129 at LFS
but i really want a 36 gallon acrylic bow front which is about $260 just for the tank alone...
man i feel like a little child waiting for the christmas gift that my parents bought for me on thanksgiving day and just waitng for the big day to finally open the box
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joy13 View Post
Ghost shrimp are a small bioload the thing with ghost shrimp is they are usually bred for live food so the quality is hard to predict.

If the snails were being sold chance are they are mystery snails most shops don't even sell MTS but if they have them there they will give them to you.

Your idea of changing half the gravel at a time might be messy but it is probably the best way to prevent a mini cycle or a complete recycle.
this LFS sells ghost shrimps not as feeders but as pets (i think they actually breed them in their little tank with java moss only)
so assuming the shrimps are in a good condition/quality are they ok in my tank? would they contribute to the stirring of the tank?

are mystery snails bad for my purpose? (stirring the sand)
only MTS will stir the sand?

can i put both snails and shrimps

and yes i was planning to do half and half to prevent a mini or a complete cycle (that is assuming i have a cycled tank...i dont even know this and on monday for sure i will get the AP master test set to test my water)
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:48 AM   #20
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i've just been contemplating changing my gravel lately also, so thanks for asking this. btw.
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