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Old 02-20-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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Sand & Gravel mixed?

I'm just now starting to cycle my new (and only) 60 gallon tank. The guy at the LFS sold me 50lbs of nice looking natural gravel. To me it doesn't seem like enough--I've sloped it from back to front so the back has about 1.5 to 2" down to less than 1/2" in the front. I am also an avid scuba diver both local and tropical. I've noticed that most river/lake/sea beds tend to be a mixture all sizes of gravel/sand and, wanting my tank to be natural, am considering mixing in 30 or 40 lbs of sand. I have not really seen anything like this in any of the tutorials. Most seem to assume we are using either gravel or sand. So is there anything wrong with a mix? I am going to upgrade my lighting and do plan on some live plants.

Cheers,
Doug
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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I don't see anything wrong with mixing them. It is your tank, make it however you see fit. Good luck
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusta
I'm just now starting to cycle my new (and only) 60 gallon tank. The guy at the LFS sold me 50lbs of nice looking natural gravel. To me it doesn't seem like enough--I've sloped it from back to front so the back has about 1.5 to 2" down to less than 1/2" in the front. I am also an avid scuba diver both local and tropical. I've noticed that most river/lake/sea beds tend to be a mixture all sizes of gravel/sand and, wanting my tank to be natural, am considering mixing in 30 or 40 lbs of sand. I have not really seen anything like this in any of the tutorials. Most seem to assume we are using either gravel or sand. So is there anything wrong with a mix? I am going to upgrade my lighting and do plan on some live plants.

Cheers,
Doug
How are you cycling it?
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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Get pool filter sand instead of pet store sand because it doesnt float around if you swish it...
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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Get pool filter sand instead of pet store sand because it doesnt float around if you swish it...
Doesn't mater what sand you get so long as you rinse it well first.

Place the sand in a bucket. Fill the bucket with water. Swish the sand really good until you have all of it moving around in the bucket. Pause a few seconds, and then pour out the water and whatever is still floating around. Repeat the process about 10 times to get all the "float" stuff out of the sand. You'll likely loose about 2-5% of your sand in the process. But once you are done, you will have sand that if swished around in the tank with instantly fall back to the bottom of the tank.

I've done this with pool filter sand, play sand, and ultra-fine sand from a fish store. All have worked the same. The only difference is that the finer sand is easier to make move. For example, I placed a air stone on the surface of the fine sand and got lot of sand raining down on decorations anywhere near the air stone. On the other hand, I've been able to place a bubble wand UNDER the pool-filter sand for an interesting "the ground is bubbling" effect without sand getting redistributed around the tank.

Now one issue you are likely to fact mixing rock and sand is that once mixed, you can't un-mix them without filtering the rock from the sand. The rock will tend to sink in the sand with any disturbance (like during a water change) so I would suggest that you have something like a sand side and a rock side to the tank. I've got a 20L tank that the front right corner is nothing but rock. That's where I do the water changes as the rock holds its place better than the sand when refilling the tank. Where the sand and rock meet, the two will blend together and change over time.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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The rock will eventually make its way to the surface if you put the sand on top. It will look like this.

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My 70g^^^
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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The rock will eventually make its way to the surface if you put the sand on top. It will look like this.

Attachment 77961

My 70g^^^
That's a pretty cool looking setup.

I couldn't remember for sure if the sand would work its way to the top or the rock would. I just knew that in my setup, I wanted them more separate (a sandy area and a rocky area). But the area you've got pictured is a good 50/50 mix.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu
That's a pretty cool looking setup.

I couldn't remember for sure if the sand would work its way to the top or the rock would. I just knew that in my setup, I wanted them more separate (a sandy area and a rocky area). But the area you've got pictured is a good 50/50 mix.
Thanks. It took a few months to get it to look like that. I had a gravel cap over dirt and the dirt kept coming up so I added the sand. It kept disappearing into the gravel so I kept adding it. Been like that a good 6 months now
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