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Old 08-24-2015, 04:09 PM   #1
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Sand vs. Gravel for 20 Gallons

I have been doing research and going back and forth on the decision of whether to do sand or gravel for our new 20 gallon tank. I am fairly new to caring for tanks on my own. We had them growing up when I was a kid, but my dad did all the work. My son has had a 5 gallon with gravel for the last 2 years, but he is only 3, so I have been doing all of the maintenance.

I am debating between keeping/adding to the current blue 5 gallon gravel or getting sand for the new tank. The plan is to have it be a community tank with a few bottom dwellers (I really want a group of Khuli Loaches). Looking for what is best for the fish, but also as easy as possible to maintain. I am also a little worried about how sand works with the filter. We have not decided on filtration yet, so if there is one that works better with sand over others, I can accommodate that.

If I do go with sand, how many pounds would I need for a 20 gallon tank. Would a 25lb bag be enough? I think when we did the gravel for this tank we did 1 or 2lb/gallon, but I have read it is a fine balance with sand.
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:43 PM   #2
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Go with sand. It looks nicer, would be better for your khuli loaches, and I disagree when people say gravel is easier to clean. Sand is way easier to clean! Plus sand is better/easier for planting live plants.

With freshwater there's no specific amount of sand of gravel you need. It depends on what you're looking for and what requirements your livestock need.

A nice stock list would be:
6 neon dwarf/praecox rainbowfish (super active, colourful, and easy to feed)
6 khuli loaches (cute and fun, and they help clean the substrate)
1 neon stiphodon goby (awesome little gobies that consume detritus and algae)
1 honey gourami (great centerpiece)
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:50 PM   #3
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Pool filter sand is my favorite and then eco complete if I want black substrate.

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Old 08-24-2015, 07:53 PM   #4
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Sand. The "crap" settles on top and can be siphoned of fast, versus being stuck UNDER the gravel, which is harder to clean. You may suck up lighter particles but as long as you don't push the siphon into the sand you should be able to only suck up the lighter pieces of sand and the debris.

Also, Loaches have barbels which can be worn away by gravel, so sand is better for them.

Sand is best, IMO, its in all my tanks and always will be.


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Old 08-25-2015, 10:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LayzorBeams View Post
Sand. The "crap" settles on top and can be siphoned of fast, versus being stuck UNDER the gravel, which is harder to clean. You may suck up lighter particles but as long as you don't push the siphon into the sand you should be able to only suck up the lighter pieces of sand and the debris.

Also, Loaches have barbels which can be worn away by gravel, so sand is better for them.

Sand is best, IMO, its in all my tanks and always will be.


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Well said.
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:24 AM   #6
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We are also starting to use sand. Have a 15 G tank which will be brackish. Currently planning it as a single specimen puffer tank. Question, is there any critter that can survive in there with him?


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Old 09-03-2015, 05:06 AM   #7
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I used to have gravel and now that I've switched to sand I will never go back to gravel! The sand I used was extremely cheap 5 bucks for a fifty pound bag at home depot. I used quikrete brand medium sand, it's an off white color and looks great imo and definitely way cheaper!

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Old 09-03-2015, 06:22 AM   #8
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For Kuhlis try to get smooth grained sand...not super rough. They love to burrow through it. A big group will be much more confident as well.


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