Made the switch to sand... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Central NC
Posts: 41
Made the switch to sand...

A couple of weeks ago the fluorite and gravel substrate that has been lining the 90g tall tank in my office for the past 15 years was replaced with sand. Having no experience with sand substrate before, I am really pleased with the results and wanted to share a couple of things from the experience. This tank has 3 Magnum 350 canisters underneath, and the media from all 3 was saved and re-used to avoid cycling all over again.

What sand to use?
There is much information available to read regarding what type of sand to use, with proponents and detractors for each choice. I was leaning toward aquarium specific sand from the LFS. However, in the end I went with pool filter sand from the local home supply warehouse. ~$18 for 150lbs. It wasn't as white as what I thought I wanted, but ended up looking much lighter in the tank.

Cleaning the sand.
Everything I read on the subject recommended cleaning the sand by rinsing repeatedly until the rinse water ran clear. There are many experiences to be found of those who did not clean their sand (both from the LFS and the home center) and ended up with cloudy tanks that did not clear up for days or a couple of weeks, after repeated water changes.

Rinsing sand sounds like a lot of work. I performed a test of the soda bottle method of installing sand in a 5 gallon bucket of water using fresh out of the bag, un-rinsed pool filter sand. After pouring in a liter of sand and removing the bottle full of dirty water, the sand was stirred up by hand. 5 seconds later all of the stirred up material had settled out and clear water remained above. That's it, no rinsing for me. And no cloudy tank after installing 125lbs and filling it up.

Other nice things about sand:
Putting in plants is easy-peasy compared to gravel. I have about 3" of sand and recommend at least that amount for easy and secure planting. With the same lighting (1 Satellite + Pro 48") and fertilizer regimen, the plants are showing new growth and looking good. I also planted some new dwarf hair grass which is putting out new growth. A previous attempt with dwarf hair grass in the gravel/flourite substrate failed when it never showed any new growth and died in a few weeks. There was originally about 2" of gravel on top of 2" of fluorite, so the first hair grass effort would have had its roots in gravel mostly.

The bottom feeders seem to enjoy it. There are a 9" pleco and a 6" algae eater, and both have burrowed out residences in the sand under a java root where they spend a good deal of time. Before they spent most of their time in hollows in the root. Also, they are both out more now and spend time less time on the glass and more time moving about the bottom scrounging for food.

So far it's easy to clean. I use a straight siphon (no faucet hook-up) and the vac picks up debris while leaving the sand behind. Vacuuming and water changes take less time because I just move the vac over the surface of the sand instead of sticking it into the surface of the gravel to get debris that has worked its way down into the substrate. This results in less water to replace after. I'm doing more frequent 20% water changes now where before I was doing 50%.
Westone is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 05:21 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
essabee's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
Posts: 1,012
My personal choice of substrate has been sand for the past few decades though in the last couple of decade I have an habit of first using a layer of laterite at the bottom before covering it with sand that more or less takes care of the need of dosing iron and all I need to do for the plants is drop a pinch of K2SO4 after water changes in the lowtech tanks.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
essabee is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 05:43 AM
Algae Grower
 
TommyLaudani's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Emmitsburg MD
Posts: 14
black sand all the way!
TommyLaudani is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 01:39 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
latchdan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (17/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Posts: 1,287
Lets see some pictures
latchdan is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 01:51 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Near Milwaukee WI
Posts: 34
What is this soda bottle method of getting sand into the water?
jeffh129 is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 03:04 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Blackheart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Posts: 3,038
Yes let's see some pictures! I personally am also contemplating switching my substrate to sand.
Blackheart is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 03:43 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
discuspaul's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,408
Here's a pic of white quartz-based # 20 grade density silica pool filter sand - for those of you who like white - it's not everybody's preference, but it's mine.

discuspaul is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 06:57 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Blackheart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Posts: 3,038
I actually think the white looks quite nice on the dark blue background. Where/how did you do the background btw?
Blackheart is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 07:01 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Newfoundland Canada
Posts: 216
Not a fan of completely black or white. The white reminds me of my grandfathers grave. Usually like mixing it up with some natural stuff.
megatrev62 is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-09-2016, 09:14 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
discuspaul's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,408
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackheart View Post
I actually think the white looks quite nice on the dark blue background. Where/how did you do the background btw?

The dark blue background is nothing more than the regular single color, or graduated color, plasticized/acrylic type backgrounds usually available at any LFS.
discuspaul is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome