Sand Substrates...? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
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Question Sand Substrates...?

I love the contrast of plants aginst light colored sand, but ive heard that sand is a pain to maintain . . . does anyone have any reccomended reading on the topic?


~Nic
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 11:49 AM
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As far as maintenance goes, if you are just going 100% sand substrate then there are only 2 real issues:

1. compaction leading to anaerobic pockets
2. fertilization

Issue #1 can be helped/solved by -getting the right kind of sand with bigger grain sizes, -possibly stirring the substrate, -encouraging malaysian trumpet snail growth (they burrow), -creating only a 1" layer, which rules out many rooted plants.

Issue #2 can be solved by adding substrate fertilizers, or just dosing the water columns.

The sands I've heard of folks using (worst to best, IMO) are playsand, pool filter sand, blasting sand, and tahition moon sand. I actually used "michigan sand" from a construction site once, but eventually got a cyanobacteria breakout!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks for the quick reply. I assume blasting sand has a higher grit size than pool filter sand. If my local HomeDespot stocks the stuff, I'll try it out.


The 50/50 setup you have on your 29gal low light looks interesting. . .
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 02:47 PM
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esarkipato gave a good answer already so I'll just tell what I do with my tank (the one in my signature).

I use sand blasting sand, the grain size is 0,1-0,6 millimetres, there's about 2-6 centimetres of it in the tank (sorry, I am a metric European). I stir the sand once in a while (maybe once a month or two) before I do the weekly water change and I also have malaysian trumpet snails (I am trying to get rid of them, them and freshly replanted Hemianthus callitrichoides aren't a good combination ). I've never had any problems with the sand. I add Tetra Crypto tablets as bottom fertilization and the plants are enjoying. So it is a good option if you remember to stir the bottom once in a while and make sure it doesn't compact and get really, really foul smelling.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 04:22 PM
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Some people like to have a plant substrate in the back (like Fluorite, Eco-Complete, Soilmaster Select, etc.) where they root the plants, and a small field of sand in the front. Creates a sense of depth and looks fantastic. You can divide the substrate during initial pouring with a piece of cardboard.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Some people like to have a plant substrate in the back (like Fluorite, Eco-Complete, Soilmaster Select, etc.) where they root the plants, and a small field of sand in the front. Creates a sense of depth and looks fantastic. You can divide the substrate during initial pouring with a piece of cardboard.
Hence . . . . . my 29 gallon lowlight project!

But, as you can read, I've found it to be a pain to maintain ~ keeping the fluorite off the sand!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 05:41 PM
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Check out this thread:

Sandy Beach

3. Algae--I found what I've read others complaining about with sand substrate--it seems to promote algae growth. For me, it was increased thread algae. Just a thought....


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 05:48 PM
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I haven't noticed any algae issues with my sand blasting sand, but I've heard about cases where people have used this really light coloured sand blasting sand brand and they got some BGA growing on the surface of the sand. But it hasn't happened in all of the tanks with that specific sand and it might not have anything to do with the sand itself. I wouldn't worry about it.

- Satu

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 06:00 PM
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I used white playsand from HD and had thread algae problems. BUT I also had those problems after I switched away from it. I don't think the white playsand causes it--I think it just amplifies it....

Edit: I'm not referring to the tank in the pix in the thread above. I'm referring to a 29gal that was 100% playsand substrate.


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Last edited by Naja002; 03-27-2006 at 08:40 PM.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 08:00 PM
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We use pool filter sand, and it seems to work out fairly nice.

Thanks,

Tim


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 08:18 PM
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I will post a pic of my ten gallon play sand tank when it gets dark tonight. Never had any problems with it at all. I once used playsand and got the stinkbomb, but that was cuz I put in like 3 inches of it in there.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahbobarah
I will post a pic of my ten gallon play sand tank when it gets dark tonight. Never had any problems with it at all. I once used playsand and got the stinkbomb, but that was cuz I put in like 3 inches of it in there.
I have used playsand for a couple of years now, and I have 3 1/2" of it with a layer of gravel on the bottom. I have not had any problems with it. I know the plants love it! Its pretty easy to plant in as well. I understand that there is a compaction problem, but the plants i have dont seem to mind at all. I have alot a different plants at the moment. Everything is going great. I do however get pretty vigorous with it when I do the weekly WC's.

I have a couple spots of BGA that grows in one place every week in the front of the tank between the glass an substrate, but is always vacuumed up real easy every week, and has not spread at all. My nitrates where a little low, an have since kicked it up a notch, so we will see.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 06:23 AM
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Here is my ten gallon sand-bottom tank:



Specs:

1 inch Home Depot play sand.
15 (or 18?) watt NO flo tube that comes with a 10g 12 hrs/day.
No ferts, CO2, or excel, only fish poo and snail poo.
Plants are baby swords (these plants are about.... 1 year old now) java moss, banana plants, aponogetons. Fish are 5 plumetail platies and one rasbora (which hid when I moved the original school out and was thus left behind.)

40% water changes (no gravel vacuuming) every other Saturday.
bastalker, it's prolly cuz you're so assertive with your gravel vacuuming that you've had no probs with the 3 inches of sand - that and the gravel
And yes, IME, planting is SOOO much easier in this sand. When I've removed plants from the tank, they've always got massive white root bunches.\

Oh yeah: this tank has never had any problems with algae.

A caveat, however: what is marketed as playsand in my local home depots may be very different than playsand from other such stores in the U.S. and may contain components that can affect pH or other factors.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 11:10 AM
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I use pool filter sand. it works great although I will say think the pool filter sand from HD may raise ph. I just set up 2 10g tanks with it and the ph in both of them is high. In my 75 with sand from the pool store it stays nice and low. My kh is 3 in all tanks. I even bought something to lower the ph and it won't budge it so I think the sand has to be the reason.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 11:35 AM
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Haha, just re-read NicoBlah's first post, and noticed he asked for reading material!

http://www.fishinthe.net/html/sectio...rticle-50.html

Good luck.
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