Helping a friend switch over from fish only to planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Helping a friend switch over from fish only to planted tank

This might just be a basic question, but my friend is interested in doing a low light tank with sand as his substrate. To be perfectly honest, I don't know much about sand as a substrate so I am looking for some quick little basic things. I know that it needs to in a bucket for a while to make sure it all sinks well and everything, but it doesn't need to be boiled right? I suggested to my friend either play sand or pool filter sand, but what else is acceptable, especially if we decided to go for a black sand for my friend?

The only other concern I have with sand is the fact that his tank already has fish in it, so how long would the fish have to be kept out of the tank to ensure that everything is safe? I knw when I re-did the gravel in my tank I added eco-complete and was able to re-add my fish right away (no mini cycle yay) but idk if the same can be done with sand, or if its addition would make the tank inhabitable for the fish for a few days or so. I am trying to avoid having his tank re-cycle, and if sand just seems like too much of a pain for us to do for him I'd just recommend eco-complete to him or some cheap inert gravel and a bunch of root tabs, since I know how to change a tank over with gravel substrate and add fish relatively quickly without upsetting the beneficial bacteria as opposed to doing so with sand.
thanks for the replies
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 07:51 PM
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Your friend is using a filter correct? If you can keep that running during this change that should help prevent the tank from having to re-cycle. I changed out the substrate in my planted tank and put the fish back in within 12 hours with no issues. I had a low bioload though.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 07:59 PM
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I think sand looks better than gravel. I have a playsand tank and love the look, but its very fine and compacts a lot. Not great for plant roots - but its workable. Tends to get kicked up into the water column when moving things around so a prefilter is a good idea (I lost one filter due to sand).
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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he does have a filter, but do i fear it does not have enough BB in it alone, though I did tell him to buy another filter and will try and seed his tank with some of my own BB since I have plenty

do you have to turn the filters off when adding sand? I really don't know anything aside from the fact that most sand is inert and people like it because poop stays onto of it and goes into the filter easily as opposed to getting stuck

I would give him some mts but he does have a yoyo loach that I believe he intends to keep, though that may change

I still want to know about black sand though, and other things of importance
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