View Full Version : Sand substrate for kuhli loaches

08-08-2008, 01:38 AM
Hi, I'm planning on getting some kuhli loaches for my 55 gal tank (which I am in the process of setting up), and I know they would do best in sand substrate, but the only kind of sand I can find is for saltwater aquariums. I've heard some people recommend play sand, but from what I can remember, it grows algae very quickly and can increase the ammonia level in the tank. Other people said they used aragonite, but I heard it increases water hardness, which is something I definitely don't want to do because I already have hard water. Are these rumors actually true? And if so, what type of sand would be best for kuhli loaches? Do you guys have any brand recommendations? Thanks for any help!

08-08-2008, 05:16 AM
Crushed coral "sand" and aragonite will raise both pH and hardness, fine for African cichlids, not for kuhli loaches. If you aren't going to be doing loads of live plants pool filter sand would be a great choice. Like the name says, it's sold by swimming pool supply places, and shouldn't be very expensive. It's graded to a uniform particle size and fairly well rounded so it won't irritate or cut burrowing fish. Another advantage is that it doesn't compact as tightly as play sand, so it's less inclined to form gas bubbles from decaying organic material. Just make sure it doesn't get into the intake of any hob filters, sand will ruin the impeller very quickly.

08-08-2008, 05:57 AM
I have 4 now with stone substrate, they seem to do ok as long as they have somewhere to hide. Under sand or under structure. But sand is the way to go if you can figure it out

08-08-2008, 01:07 PM
I have play sand in my 75 gallon, and algae is not a problem. The cories, clown loaches & pleco love it. I did find "black" sand from time to time (shined a flashlight at the bottom of the tank underneath the stand). All I did was stir it up & take a little sand out. I have no plants in it, all my plants are attached to driftwood/rocks.

08-09-2008, 04:58 AM
Pool filter sand is pretty good stuff. I like the color of it but poop really shows up on it and seems to gravitate towards the very center of my tank no matter how I position decorations and catch pits. :rolleyes:

If you can find it, I'd recomend silica blasting sand. Really fine stuff, super bright and alot of fun to play in (for both the loaches and you ;) ) The downside is that it does compact so you will need to stir it up every so often.

08-11-2008, 01:09 PM
I've heard a lot of good stuff about Estes Marine Sand, which can be used for freshwater aquariums and doesn't alter pH or the calcium carbonate level. Anybody else use this stuff? It also comes in several different colors.

08-14-2008, 06:48 AM
And holy crap, Estes Marine Sand is $1/lb >_<

What do you guys think of the Tahitian Moon sand? It claims it doesn't affect pH, but does it get all nasty and cloud up the aquarium, float, and get stuck in the filter motor? I'm really hoping I can get my Fluval 405 back, but if I can't, I'm just going to get one of those Marineland Penguin 350B filters. I have the 200 for my 29 gal aquarium, and it works great. But yeah, really hoping for my Fluval to come back to me... I loved that thing so much! Anyway, I read some reviews on Estes Marine Sand, and from what I understand, even when the sand gets kicked up, it falls straight back down, rather than creating a swirly mess of sand. I'll probably splurge on my sand and get the Estes stuff, unless the Tahitian Moon sand is actually good. Oh, and I have fairly hard water here, so any sand that would increase water hardness is a big no-no! And I also don't want a sand that's going to pack too tight and allow all kinds of nasties to form in the sand grains!

Oh, and my plant is to have Fluorite in the back half of the aquarium in order to grow plants, and have black sand with a hint of tan colored sand mixed in to create a more realistic river basin. I'm thinking of using that black gardening separator stuff held down by silicone tank sealant in order to keep the fluorite and sand from mixing together and creating a mess. What do you guys think of that idea? I know, I probably put WAY too much thought into setting up an aquarium, but hey, it's my favorite hobby, other than taking naps because grad school totally fries my brain >_>

So if I do the back 1/3 to 1/2 of the tank with fluorite, how much sand would I need for the front of the tank? It's a 55 gal aquarium (48" long and 13" wide). I was assuming 8 of the 5 lb bags would probably be good if I wanted to cover the entire tank in sand, but at $5 per bag, that's pretty expensive for a poor college student! So what do you guys think? Maybe 25 lbs (5 bags)? Or more?

Thanks for any help!

08-14-2008, 09:27 PM
I would avoid TMBS, it is really coarse stuff compared to most other sands. And with scaleless kuhli loaches it might not be a friendly sand for them, I've had 2 kuhlis on 3m black quartz before and really have to say I didn't like it and their behavior towards it. They should be having fun in the tank, not lounging on plant leaves like a worm on a hook.

With the back half flourite (I think it comes in 20 or 25 pound bags?) and the front half sand I think you'll only need 25 lbs of sand. As long as you aren't planning on planting too much in the sand then it doesn't need to be really thick and I like the idea of sand sloping from back level flourite with plants to a shallower depth in the front.