bad gas and sand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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at another forum the issue of sand substrate tanks creating toxic gases since threr was little circulation. people said that all you had to do was mix the sand around every time you make a water change. This seems like alot of work and imposible if you have a heavaly planted tank. so is this idea of sand making toxic gas true and if so what do you do about it?

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 12:19 PM
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I don't know that this applies to sand. Lots of folks here use sand as a component of their substrate to great effect. ...

What can sometimes "poison" a tank is if there is a space where "anerobic" (without oxygen) bacteria growth can take place. There are both "good" and "bad" bacteria than can only survive in a place with no oxygen. I don't remember the names of the organisms.

One "good" anerobic bacteria is a species people without planted tanks try to cultivate in an apparatus called a "denitrator". Many people have had horrid experiences with these devices - others think they're wonderful. Denitrators try to make anerobic conditions in a very slow flow of water from the tank to grow this "good" bacteria. This little guy processes nitrate into nitrogen gas - removing nitrate from the aquarium. A much simpler way to remove nitrate from the aquarium is to do partial water changes.

A "bad" anerobic bacteria makes the "rotten egg" smelling gas that can poison a tank.

Both can grow in an anerobic environment.

I suspect the "stir the sand" recommendation is to get oxygenated water all through the substrate again, to prevent having anerobic conditions down in the substrate.

What you want is a very small circulation of water in the substrate to help keep a little oxygen down in there.

Some of the guys who use sand in their tanks can tell you what kind they use and what their experiences have been.

Take care...

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