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OscarFan
05-13-2009, 04:42 AM
Sand is becoming increasingly popular in aquariums.
Sand however can have negative effects on some fish. A lot of fish will blanch their colors to blend into the sand more. This makes them less colorful and less active. Many aquarists also use it for their Coryadoras. But this can cause rashes and sores on the Coryadoras soft underbelly since it is very abrasive, a good alternative to sand for Coryadoras is leaf matter since that is their natural habitat. However some fish do enjoy sand in their aquarium. African species are an example of this. Some fish also need it to aid in their digestion.
Sand is not recommended in planted aquariums. It is very light and easily kicked up. So plants have a hard time staying rooted. However there are a few sands that are enriched in nutrients on the market today. These are made heavier to hold the plants better.
Sand will also get anywhere and everywhere. So you should put a sponge over the Filter intake so sand does not destroy the impeller. It will also get on decorations and plants. So you may have to frequently brush off any decorations.
There are several types of sand that you can find at any hardware Store;
-Silica Sand- You can usually get a 100 pound bag of this for 8-10 US dollars. Itís easy to clean but very light. Its color is a real light tan and would be perfect for an African Cichlid tank.
-Play Sand- It is similar to Silica except a bigger grain, dirtier, and a little more expensive.
-Pool filter Sand- Is a little more expensive but is very clean. Itís similar to Silica Sand in size and weight but is whiter. Also a good choice for an African Cichlid tank.
There are also several other kinds of Sand you can buy at your lfs. They are more expensive but donít need cleaning. They also come in a large variety of colors and sizes to suit your wants. Some of these are:
-Coral Sand-This is meant more for marine aquariums but can be used in fresh. It will Increase your water hardness which will buffer your PH. So if youíre looking for a stable PH this is a good choice.
-Aragonite Sand- Is similar to Coral sand and is available in many different colors. The downside is it is very expensive.
- Nutrient Enriched Sands- These vary in color but are enriched with nutrients beneficial to plants. They are usually heavier than other sands and good for plants.
To wash Sand:
-Get a 5g bucket
-fill it about a quarter to half way full.
-Rinse with water until it all settles in 5 minutes
*Not recommended to do indoors.
On a final not I will mention Dead Pockets. These are areas that form in sand that arenít circulated by the water. They are usually oxygen deprived and have no anaerobic bacteria. So the sand should be sifted on a regular basis.

Goodbye
05-13-2009, 04:52 AM
Great Job OscarFan!! That was what I call "A Great Read".

DrNic
05-13-2009, 05:18 AM
Great article!

OscarFan
05-13-2009, 08:51 PM
Thanks:ssmile:

Red
05-13-2009, 09:44 PM
good write up!

robflanker
05-13-2009, 09:47 PM
Great job - nice write up

rich311k
05-13-2009, 10:56 PM
Very nice job!

ILuvMyGoldBarb
05-13-2009, 11:14 PM
I don't want this to sound wrong and sound like nothing but negative, there are some very good points in this. That being said, in the interest of having accurate information posted here, there are some things that do need to be pointed out and corrected.




A lot of fish will blanch their colors to blend into the sand more. This makes them less colorful and less active. The sand has very little to do with colors being bleached out. The "bleaching" out of fish is a result of poor diet, poor water quality, and stress. The sand itself is not responsible for loss of color. If sand is not maintained properly then the water quality will suffer and the fish will become stressed and blanch out, but that is not the fault of the sand.


Many aquarists also use it for their Coryadoras. But this can cause rashes and sores on the Coryadoras soft underbelly since it is very abrasive, This is true of some sands, but not all. The biggest issue with abrasive sands and Corydoras is actually their barbells. Abrasive sands will actually wear down their barbells and seriously deminish their ability to sense food.


a good alternative to sand for Coryadoras is leaf matter since that is their natural habitat. In addition to this, a soil substrate will also suit them fine as well, however it can be a bit messy. The leaves are a very good choice though.


Sand is not recommended in planted aquariums. It is very light and easily kicked up. So plants have a hard time staying rooted. Sand is an excellent choice for planted aquariums. Not all sands are very light(not just the nutrient enriched ones) and easily kicked up and plants root just fine in sand. In fact, sand will hold plants down better than some gravels out there. The fine material allows for it to compact more.



Sand will also get anywhere and everywhere. So you should put a sponge over the Filter intake so sand does not destroy the impeller. It will also get on decorations and plants. So you may have to frequently brush off any decorations. This greatly depends on the kind of fish you have and the amount of flow you have in your tank as well. I have had a few tanks with sand in them and none of this has ever been an issue for me.



-Silica Sand- You can usually get a 100 pound bag of this for 8-10 US dollars. Itís easy to clean but very light. Its color is a real light tan and would be perfect for an African Cichlid tank. Actually, Silica sand is not perfect for a Rift Lake Cichlid tank. It is much too light and it does not provide any kind of buffering for the water.



-Play Sand- It is similar to Silica except a bigger grain, dirtier, and a little more expensive. Price isn't really much different. $3.50 for a 50lb bag.


-Pool filter Sand- Is a little more expensive but is very clean. Itís similar to Silica Sand in size and weight but is whiter. Also a good choice for an African Cichlid tank. Not a bad choice for a Rift Lake Cichlid tank, but again, not the best choice for one.


-Aragonite Sand- Is similar to Coral sand and is available in many different colors. The downside is it is very expensive. Now this is the perfect sand for a Rift Lake Cichlid tank. A coarser grain Aragonite will provide something heavy enough that it will not always be suspended in the water column, and it is also a good grain for the cichlids to pick up in their mouth to aid in digestion. Furthermore, this sand will buffer your water to near Rift Lake conditions.

A note about washing. When preping sand for a freshwater tank, all sands should be rinsed, not just the ones from the hardward store. Even Coral Sand and Aragonite will have dust that will stay suspended in the water column.

OscarFan
05-14-2009, 03:39 AM
Thanks for patching my wholes ILMGB. Some of this is from my personal experience, so it may vary for other people. From my experience every fish I have had that had sand in the tank have lost color. But food and water quality do play a role in color as you said.
For Plants I have had nothing but trouble keeping them rooted(plastic+real) might be my planting ability though:11:
And play sand is more exspensive here but I live in a remote place so my prices always vary alot compared to others.
Also forgot to add be careful with sand and acrylic tanks. It tends to scratch easily.

Oscar_freak12321
05-14-2009, 03:43 AM
Thanks for the info Oscarfan!

Owlbehere
05-14-2009, 04:14 AM
Great info from you both!!! Very helpful

robflanker
05-14-2009, 12:27 PM
That might be the most multi-quotes i've ever seen ILMGB haha

I really like it when articles include examples and approximate prices and stuff of things. That way when I'm out looking for a particular type of product I know what the price range should be. I know its tough to do around the country (and the world for that matter) but its still nice to know ball park figures

Lady Hobbs
05-14-2009, 02:06 PM
Home Depot sand in my photo. Never gets stirred up by the large featherfins thrashing around in there, easy to vac, stems plants stay down and clears up over night.

I do not even wash it! I dump it in the tank, stir it up and do a large water change. Turn the filters on after 10 minutes or so and it's clear by morning.

There's a lot of different opinions on sand and I'm of the belief that not all stores carry their products from the same supplier. What others find wrong with their sand I have not have the same problems at all. It does give too much diatoms for the first couple months but phosphate/silicate removers take care of it.

Now, I tried their white, fine sand and hated it with a passion. (QuikCrete) It was too light, too fluffy, got sucked up in the vac and showed every speck of debris. I had to remove it from the 3 tanks I put it in. grrrrrrrr

robflanker
05-14-2009, 02:08 PM
Hobbs how do plants and sand work? I thought they were incompatible as the roots cant really grow in sand can they? Do you add like the plant feeding stuff (ive no idea what it is but ive seen it on the shelves!) to the water to nourish the plants seen as they cant get it from the sand/substrate?

Lady Hobbs
05-14-2009, 02:20 PM
Root tabs. You can also mix gravel with it or flourite if you want something with it. The swords in that photo look sick but it's not due to the sand. They looked sick when they went in this tank and are coming out tomorrow!

What I would like to do is get the Flourite sand and mix them. But, what one store sells for Play Sand is not the same in each store. You may get it from one store and not like it at all but it doesn't mean each store sells the same sand.

troy
05-14-2009, 11:26 PM
Thanks for all the info.

Flowcus
05-15-2009, 09:46 PM
I also use the play sand from Home Depot... $2.88 for 50lbs and its great! Everything Hobbs said for sure! It doesn't have small sharp particles like most play sand does, and doesn't harm your fish like most can. My corys are perfectly happy with it and never show barbel damage. And my Clown Pleco has even burrowed through it under his driftwood! thumbs2:

Oh and as far as the air pocket issue... If you have loaches, or don't mind baiting them out every couple days. Get some Malaysian Trumpet Snails. They will sift your sand for you many times a day! Not to mention leave some pretty sweet crop circle like designs in it over night! Just be prepared for the infestation after they start making babies.

bereczky_sanyee
05-20-2009, 06:25 PM
Yeah very informative article! Thanks :D ! only one question.....I heard from some people that you have to boil the sand to get rid of all unwanted stuff.... and I'm a bit sceptical....is it true?

poler_28
05-20-2009, 06:52 PM
I'm using a sand called Red Flint. I think it's like pool filter and water filter sand? Any info on that? I got it from my LFS. It's heavy enough that it doesn't get sucked up when I vacuum the bottom and it anchors the plants nicely. Although I use silks for now, when I'm ready to use real plants, I'm hoping it will work well. It's a mixture of red/tan/lighter browns so it's not really light in color but looks very natural. The grains are very uniform in size and my corys love digging in it.

dblzz
05-20-2009, 07:12 PM
i got 8 trumpet snails from the pet store they told me the same thing my tank would be coverd in them in a month or two. i turnrd my heat down just a bit 75 and i dont over feed my fish i still have eight going to try to breed a little more for my other tanks their great. heat and food make them breed take one out they wont breed

Flowcus
05-22-2009, 06:31 AM
In response to the boiling the sand... this is some peoples personal preferance. I personally have never gone as far as to boil it myself. But I do take a 5 gallon bucket fill it half full of sand and continually fill the bucket with water rinse the sand and dump out the water. It takes me about 2 hours to completely rinse a bag of play sand so that it doesn't cloud my tank every time I stir it up.

And in response to the Pool filter sand. Essentially its just Silica sand. Its widely used in the aquarium hobby, and much prefered by most people. I used it in my 175g african cichlid tank, along with crushed coral to buffer the Ph. Instead of buying it at the LFS next time find your local pool sales place and just purchase it through them you will save a lot more money that way. thumbs2:

bluebluecow
05-22-2009, 08:23 AM
Must admit I have sand in both my tanks, and never had any probs, my fish love it, they dig it up and its never the same each day, I have 2 freshwater mussels and they love digging and hiding in it.

I also have no probs with plants in it, I dig them in well, But I have prob about 6inch depth of sand in places where the fish have dug it, the floaty plants, getput nest to my hardscape and there roots dug under the rocks.

I dont have any problems with it getting everywhere.

And when I had loaches and corys on gravel, then moved to sand they looked healthier and their barbel grew big

Liz

edited to add, I rinse in the bath, I put sandin big bucket and run the shower constanly though it while stiring the sand

bushwhacker
06-08-2009, 08:26 PM
i have 3 tanks with sand 100,75, and 55... the 75 and 55 are pretty well planted not really massive growth but they do grow fairly well i dont do ferts or co2

Fishguy2727
03-03-2011, 12:34 AM
IME almost every single problem people have with sand is due to the type of sand and not sand in general.

The sand I use comes in multiple colors and I use either solid black or black and white mixed. Light colored backgrounds and substrates will cause fish to wash out their colors to try and match it. This is why I use black backgrounds and dark or black substrates. They darken their colors to try to match so reds are redder, blues are bluer, etc. There is actually a measurable increase in the pigmentation with darker backgrounds. Fish not only seem more colorful but actually are physiologically.

My plants have always done well to too well in the sand I use. It is inert but I enrich it with root tabs.

My cories have never had any issues (neither have my loaches, spiney eels, catfish, bichirs, goldfish, the stingrays at the store I was running, or anything else).

The sand I use is very uniform in size and sinks very quickly when moved by cichlids, goldfish, etc. This means that for it to be an issue with filters the fish have to spit it right into the intake.

Some silica-based sands can cause horrible brown algae problems. The one I use has a polymer coating that prevents this.

IME sand is much easier to maintain, effectively maintenance-free. I will never use gravel ever again except in cases of fish so large it simply isn't practical (pacus, big catfish, etc.).

Sand is the most natural substrate available. Effectively all of the fish we keep in the hobby are from waters that move too slowly for gravel to be the substrate. The substrate is sand or finer (the finer being silt or mud, both impractical in the hobby for almost everyone).

Cermet
03-12-2011, 03:02 PM
"On a final not(e) I will mention Dead Pockets. These are areas that form in sand that arenít circulated by the water. They are usually oxygen deprived and have no anaerobic bacteria. So the sand should be sifted on a regular basis."

Boy, did I learn this lesion the hard way! Lost a lot of fish! I too use sand (play) and it is fairly fine (I washed it a min of six times! to remove the ultra fine particles.)

That said, I discovered that a heavily planted tank has a huge down side- I did not stir the sand due to extensive root systems and boy, after a year or so, the sand became toxic! (even killed off most of my plants)

Live and learn - I am trying a new method. I added an UG filter plate that has power heads running in reverse. This drives water through the sand keeping it clean (waste can't get down into it.) I have a normal canister filter filled with noodles and I added a biowheel to further improve bio-action.

The UG is not and will not be used as my filter, it just automaticly "stirs" the sand and boy, does it work! Whether it works in the long run I'll see but boy, does it keep waste out of the top sand layer and (I hope) may keep "pockets" of dead space from forming and allowing deadly bacteria to grow on the fish liquid waste that would normally diffuse down into the sand. :hmm3grin2orange:

Alasse
03-12-2011, 09:27 PM
I have white play sand for my cories, causes them no damage what so ever.

I've had a planted sand tank, had excellent growth.

White play sand can stress some fish to where they wash out their colouring, their washout hd nothing to do with water parameters. I changed the white sand over to black sand, and now their colours look awesome!

In the tank i use sand i have malaysian trumpet snailsw, they keep the sand aerated, no bad pockets

White play sand is cheap as here. Black quartz sand not so cheap.

Silica sands usually do cause diatom outbreaks

Surfdog
03-19-2011, 12:26 AM
That cleared up alot of questions I had, Thanks for being very informative!:fish:

Lady Hobbs
03-19-2011, 12:31 AM
This was a 2 yr old thread that returned from the dead but glad it did because I learned a lot since then and don't use sand at all anymore. Don't like it at all.

JDA70
04-22-2011, 08:36 PM
I mixed Flourite with Tahitian Moon Sand from CaribSea Super Naturals and not only did a bunch of my plants die but the plants that propagate via runners did absolutely nothing.

So this whole thing about mixing sand with plant substrate seem like misinformation to me.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
04-22-2011, 10:25 PM
I wouldn't be so quick to blame the sand mix, and thus judge the info as incorrect.

Passions71203
09-29-2011, 01:28 AM
This was a 2 yr old thread that returned from the dead but glad it did because I learned a lot since then and don't use sand at all anymore. Don't like it at all.


Sorry for bringing up a thread from the dead but I was researching sand for our new tank. So Lady Hobbs, if you don't mind me asking why don't you use it anymore?

Fishguy2727
09-29-2011, 02:05 AM
Start your own thread.