Gravel / Sand

10 posts

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:41 pm

Gravel / Sand

by cseidler

I have always had gravel in my tank. However I would like to try sand. How does one clean sand? With gravel, about once a month i use a vacume to clean the gravel. I would also like to hear the advantages and disadvantages others have had with sand when compared to gravel. I like plants in my aquarium, will that be a problem if i switch to sand?

Posts: 1980
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 am

by Peterkarig3210

Many people say their plants do fine in sand.

As for cleaning, I don't know, though when the plants become thick and roots are also thick you shouldn't disturb the substraight as this puts nutrients into the water column and can cause algae outbreaks.

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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:38 am

by bennyphan

Depends on which sand. I have crush coral sand, and it is heavy enough for me to graze the vacuum over it. But now that I have my tank in the wall, its make it hard for me to vacuum it, so I don't do it any more. I have two water filter ( 60Gal and 70Gal) on my 55 gal tank to compensate for the nitrate level the waste will create, and like PK, I change my water when needed (Nitrate level gets above 20).

So again it depends on the sand you want to put in. I can not speak for the true sand that you normally see in saltwater tanks, but if you have crush coral sand, just have the vacuum close enough where it will suck up the waste, but not too deep where the sand starts to go through the hoses.

Hope that helps!

Posts: 1980
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 am

by Peterkarig3210

check out

There are some awzome tanks with sand and plants. I think that many people plant in a "plant"substraight and have sand in the bare areas.

I think you do this by using a cardboard separator. sand on one side and "plant" substraight on the other. You could bend the cardboard in a circle and have the plant stuff in the middle and sand on the outside.

After pouring in the sand and, if you want, other substraight you then pull out the cardboard and there will be a clear seperation between the two.

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Last edited by Peterkarig3210 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:42 pm

by waterbabe

Hi i have sand in all my tanks, i have salt free play sand in my cold tank and acrilic white sand in my tropical tank, it never ever looks dirty and rarely needs cleaning as it cleans a degree.
the fish usually make enough movement for the muck to be sucked up the filter cleaner itself, also i use a vacuum using small circular movements to move heavy soiling.

plants love it too, so long as you don't have any heavy handed big boys in there that might uproot it while is establishing itself you will be fine..just one more thing, keep the power down on the fluval power...etc... it can tend to blow and move the sand around the tank like a desert storm... as i found out!

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Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:13 am

by leifariek

all of my tanks have flourite on bottom, and sand ontop.
Since i do most of my aquarium work on a low budget, i usually steal sand bags from constructions sites, sieve it, rinse it and most importantly boil it.
This is so far my most inexpensive way of filling my many aquariums.
I take great care in cleaning the accquired sand, and always have some extra, incase i suck out too much sand with the siphon.

A word to the wise about crushed coral: its neat looking, heavy enough to use with a gravel vac, and 100% calcium. - This will eventually, and undoubtedly, lead to endless scrubbing of any glass and plastic parts on your tank and filters, trying to remove the ugly white/yellow calcium deposits. I dont mind maintenance, as it is a calming activity for me, but i got real tired of the calcium, so keep that in mind, especially if you have a large tank.

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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:02 pm

by findingjohn

Sand can be hard to clean. Make sure you have a spong on your filter so the sand does not get in there.

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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:37 pm

by stingraysrule

I have sand in all of my tanks.
But I do water changes 1 to 2 times a week in my tanks.
Your crap, plant garbage, food waste, and poop sit on top of the sand, whereas gravel or stone hides it in the crevices.
I use fluval Canisters for water filter, and do not have any problems with sand in the canister.
When I siphon my tank, I try to be careful how I hold the vacume as to not suck it up when I clean the tank. If I do, I put it back in, as it is expensive.

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Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:56 pm

by cmarti

Yeah, you can swish the siphon around a few inches over the sand and scoop up the poop. Don't swish it too hard or else you'll pull the sand up. I've even pushed the siphon down in the sand to see if it'd suck it up. True enough it sucks up some of the smaller pieces, but most of it's too heavy to be sucked up.

I've had gravel in my tank and now I have sand. I like sand a lot better.

Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 6:53 pm

by bangme33

i use sand in my tank, and have no problems with cleaning, also run my finger thro the sand to disperse any bubbles in there and to help bring the nasty stuff to where i want it

Gravel / Sand

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