View Full Version : substrate

02-06-2008, 07:55 PM
im thinking about using substrate other than gravel, i just know nothing about it. so can any one point me in the right direction, give me tips, ect. thanks and sorry if this is already a thread.

Bobo the Clown Loach
02-06-2008, 08:06 PM
if you are going to use have plants, use eco-complete and/or flourite.

02-06-2008, 08:07 PM
pool sand grade 20, I even grow plants in it.

02-06-2008, 08:41 PM
ok any se up tips or a site that tells me how to do it

02-06-2008, 09:50 PM
Sand etc. is set-up just the same way gravel is... no difference... it is just a lot finer

02-07-2008, 12:39 AM
And messier, especially the flourite. But worth it, just wait for any of these to settle as it will take a few days sometimes.

Bobo the Clown Loach
02-07-2008, 02:33 PM
And messier, especially the flourite. But worth it, just wait for any of these to settle as it will take a few days sometimes.

Yeah, the flourite can be a mess. I ran my filter with a very fine media to clear out any dust. It took about 2 days and about 10 filter cleanings for my water to clear up completely. I'm just not a fan of sand because it can get caught in the impeller of HOB filters and make them stop working. The flourite and eco-complete mix looks very nice and provides a darker bottom color. The fish contrast against it nicely.

02-07-2008, 02:45 PM
If you wash the sand well enough before putting it in, you won't... check that, should't have any problems. An hours work before putting it in will go a long way to helping you out.

I don't have a hose hook-up outside my house, so to clean it I used a bucket and ran water back and forth from my kitchen. Just fill the bucket about 1/2 way up with sand, and stir it all up as you pour water in. I poured enough to cover the sand by about 2-3". After you stir it up, pour the water out. Repeat. I took extra precaution and did each bucket about 10 times. You really only need to do it until the is mostly clear.

If you have a hose, put the end in the bucket and fill the bucket again about 1/2 way. Turn the hose on, but don't blast it. The finer crap in the sand will run to the top. Just let the bucket overflow until the water runs clear.

I let the tank sit for about 2 days with the filter running on another tank while the sand settled. After that, I threw the filter back on. I don't have any problems with sand getting up in the filter. Right now there are only 2 Dragon bichirs and a Royal Pleco, but during cleaning any sand I disturb just falls back to the bottom.

My filter intake is pretty close to the bottom. I've heard of people cutting their tubing when using sand so it ends about 1/2 way up the tank. That will prevent any low floating sand from entering the filter and clogging it.

Also, be sure to run your fingers through it about once a month during a cleaning if you decide to use sand. I've heard of people talk about gas bubbles that may form under the sand, and this will help release them.

You will probably want to vac your tank twice a week instead of the typical once weekly. The poop and stuff really sticks out on top of the sand, but it's super easy to clean up.

Hope this helps! thumbs2:

02-07-2008, 02:57 PM
thanks that really helps a lot, when i vac, hehe, is the sand heavy enought to not get vaced up or should i keep some replacement on hand

02-07-2008, 03:01 PM
Using sand, you won't dig down in it like typical gravel. Everything will stay right on top. You'll want to keep your gravel just off the serface, not actually in the sand. If you get it right, the pooh and stuff will be sucked up, but the sand wont. If you do pull up sand, it should just stir around in the vac, and then fall back down.

02-07-2008, 06:26 PM
I use play sand, which is 50lbs for 5 Us dollars. I rinse it a lot. Yesterday when I check my filter there was no sand. If you want to keep plant you could have flourite/laterite/eco-complete and a layer of sand on top. I would go with pool filter sand because you prolly don't have to rinse as much as play sand.

02-07-2008, 07:05 PM
ok im most likly not gonna use live plants, i would love to get fish that dig in the sand, like a banjo cat, would love to get one. so i have plenty of plastic plants right now im gonna start on a small scale to make sure i get it right. so i got the whole intro to using sand and all that, if i can get a census on using sand and not using sand, and also opinions on it and just cleaning tecneiques, that would be great. its just that i dont have that much money to throw into a tank and i dont wanna have to re-buy filters, so any help and tips would be appricitated

02-07-2008, 07:15 PM
Anything that digs in the substrate will make it difficult to keep live plants, as they would easily get uprooted. I was very nervous using sand at first, as it appears you are. Trust me, with some thorough cleaning of the sand before putting it in your tank, you'll be A-OK! thumbs2: It looks awesome, and my fiance decorated the tank to look like a tropical beach, with Tiki huts, palm trees, hammocks, some plastic plants and a treasure chest.

After you put the sand in, don't worry about how cloudy the tank is. It'll take probably a couple days for everything to settle, no matter how much you clean it. I left my alone for 3 days with the filter running on another tank to keep the bacteria alive. By the 3rd or 4th day, the tank was crystal clear, and I put the filter on. I haven't had any sand whatsoever in my filter, and I left the intake tube long and right near the bottom. If you're worried about it, you can cut the intake tube so it stops about 1/2 way up.

Even stirring up the sand to bury the plants and trees, the sand fell right back down with no clouding.

Like I said for cleaning, just keep the vac right off the top of the sand. It'll suck the pooh up. If you get too close, the sand will swirl around the vac, but just fall right back down. :thumb:

02-07-2008, 07:18 PM
pay a little extra and get the grade 20 pool sand $10 per 50#, it isn't as dirty, it has a larger grain so it doesn't blow around as easily, and it won't compact as much as play sand, easier to vacuum

02-08-2008, 01:30 AM
thanks a lot every one