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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently have a 75G dirt tank and the ecocomplete makes my discus very dark. Fish food would get into the substrate and started to rot.

I would like to get some feedback from people who have been maintaining a sand based substrate aquarium. Are they easier to maintain compare to ecocomplete type of substrate?

Would there be a chance fish waste and left over food get stuck at the bottom of the sand bed? How deep of sand bed is ideal?

Do you guys use Pool Filter Sand?

What do you do if there are algaes in the sand?
 

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I use play sand that has no dyes in it. (it is tan, not orange or blue ect.)

You have to rinse all the dust out of it before you put it in your tank. I do this outside with a hose and a bucket during warm weather. Don't wanna clog the drain. You end up with half the amount you start with.

In the tank I use about 1/2 an inch of sand, since I don't plant anything in it. If you plant in it you need to use root tabs.

It is nice because the fish food/waste sits on top of the sand and is easy to find so you can clean it quickly.

It can be a pain because the fish food/waste sits on top of the sand and is easy to find, so guests may think it's gross.

If algae grows on the sand it grows on top. You can just scoop it off the sand if it is in one spot.

Since sand packs down so nicely, it can create black pockets of anaerobic bacteria. You can stir the sand up once in awhile to aerate it. You can also buy Malaysian Trumpet Snails to burrow into the sand and stir it up for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I use play sand that has no dyes in it. (it is tan, not orange or blue ect.)

You have to rinse all the dust out of it before you put it in your tank. I do this outside with a hose and a bucket during warm weather. Don't wanna clog the drain. You end up with half the amount you start with.

In the tank I use about 1/2 an inch of sand, since I don't plant anything in it. If you plant in it you need to use root tabs.

It is nice because the fish food/waste sits on top of the sand and is easy to find so you can clean it quickly.

It can be a pain because the fish food/waste sits on top of the sand and is easy to find, so guests may think it's gross.

If algae grows on the sand it grows on top. You can just scoop it off the sand if it is in one spot.

Since sand packs down so nicely, it can create black pockets of anaerobic bacteria. You can stir the sand up once in awhile to aerate it. You can also buy Malaysian Trumpet Snails to burrow into the sand and stir it up for you.
What's the difference between play sand and Pool Filter sand? I thought both type sand are white, no?
 

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Pool filter sand has a different grain size than play sand, play sand also tends to have sparkly flakes in it. Some people say that they have trouble with corydoras and the sparkly flakes, but I had several corydoras and they didn't get injured by them.

You can get sand in different colors. Pool filter is white, Blasting sand can come in black, Play sand can be brown, tan and white and then those other dyed colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What grain size PFS is ideal for our aquarium? I couldn't believe HomeDepot doesn't have any PFS. Now I dont know where I can get them and I dont want to pay $30+ for shipping a bag sand. It's ridiculus.
 

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What grain size PFS is ideal for our aquarium? I couldn't believe HomeDepot doesn't have any PFS. Now I dont know where I can get them and I dont want to pay $30+ for shipping a bag sand. It's ridiculus.
HD doesn't have blasting sand, either, which I think is odd.
Did you try pool supply store for PFS?
 

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I've been using pool filter sand in my 55 gallon aquarium for almost ten years now and I love it. PFS is very clean and very uniform in grain size. It looks great. I don't recommend using play sand, it's going to take a long time to clean properly for aquarium use. PFS is very clean from the start. I got mine from the local pool supply store. Look around to see if you have a Leslie's Pool Supply or something similar. They will have pool filter sand. I would go for a depth of 3". For maintenance, you just vacuum up the debris that is laying on top of the sand. I also agitate it once every few months. I do water changes with a python (the large tube removed to make vacuuming debris easier) and just jam the hose in different areas when filling. It's harder to do these days though because I'm almost out of bare sand areas from all the plants.
 

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I've been using pool filter sand in my 55 gallon aquarium for almost ten years now and I love it. PFS is very clean and very uniform in grain size. It looks great. I don't recommend using play sand, it's going to take a long time to clean properly for aquarium use. PFS is very clean from the start. I got mine from the local pool supply store. Look around to see if you have a Leslie's Pool Supply or something similar. They will have pool filter sand. I would go for a depth of 3". For maintenance, you just vacuum up the debris that is laying on top of the sand. I also agitate it once every few months. I do water changes with a python (the large tube removed to make vacuuming debris easier) and just jam the hose in different areas when filling. It's harder to do these days though because I'm almost out of bare sand areas from all the plants.
Very appropriate comments.
I too have been using #20 grade white quartz-based silica pool filter sand in my tanks for years, (obtained from a pool supply store) and wouldn't use anything else for ease of cleaning, and little or no detritus getting into/under the substrate.
Needs no rinsing, is easily vacuumed with a common vac tool without getting siphoned out, and will not flow up into the water column when disturbed, so will not get into filters & clog them up.
It's a particularly good substrate to use in a discus tank set-up because it's so easy to remove any unwanted matter which stays on top of the sand - uneaten food, decomposing plant matter, fish waste, etc.
When it gets a little dirty or algae-covered, simply siphon up the top 10%-15% layer, and replace it with new, to get a brand new look.

Here's a couple of tanks with the white PFS:
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/h357/discuspaul/3RedSnakeSkins
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/h357/discuspaul/Anubias
 

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P.S.
In some areas of N.A. depending on where it's quarried & shipped, PFS can be obtained in white, at least 2 shades of tan/sand/brownish, a light grey, and occasionally, even a pinkish hue.
It's dense and larger-grained than (very fine) play sand, so has little or no dust, silt, or grime, and will not heavily compact in the way that play sand does. (Re: anaerobic pockets).
In order to avoid anaerobic gas pockets developing, use no more than approx. 2.5" or so in planted areas ( & use root tab ferts), layered to under 1" in open areas.
 

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I have been using pool filter sand for a couple years. I also have a tank with Eco complete. Pool filter sand is a lot easier to clean. The waste does not travel down through the substrate like it does with Eco complete.
 

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P.S.
In some areas of N.A. depending on where it's quarried & shipped, PFS can be obtained in white, at least 2 shades of tan/sand/brownish, a light grey, and occasionally, even a pinkish hue.
It's dense and larger-grained than (very fine) play sand, so has little or no dust, silt, or grime, and will not heavily compact in the way that play sand does. (Re: anaerobic pockets).
In order to avoid anaerobic gas pockets developing, use no more than approx. 2.5" or so in planted areas ( & use root tab ferts), layered to under 1" in open areas.
I've never used root tab ferts. Are they good? Will they affect the water balance? I am looking to set up a sand only substrate tank.
 

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Just dont mix the two IMO, I loved the idea of black substrate with a white sand top. Nothing like spending hrs pulling black pebbles out of your pristine white sand. Then trying to fix it all nice and purdy whenever you want to move anything. Just spent 2 days removing sand from two of my tanks. I also believe that the sand had a whole lot to do with my diatom and algae issues. I removed it and all was well. I wasnt using PFS tho, was using carbiseas white sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just dont mix the two IMO, I loved the idea of black substrate with a white sand top. Nothing like spending hrs pulling black pebbles out of your pristine white sand. Then trying to fix it all nice and purdy whenever you want to move anything. Just spent 2 days removing sand from two of my tanks. I also believe that the sand had a whole lot to do with my diatom and algae issues. I removed it and all was well. I wasnt using PFS tho, was using carbiseas white sand.
So you are switching to ecocomplete or BB?
 

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I've never used root tab ferts. Are they good? Will they affect the water balance? I am looking to set up a sand only substrate tank.
A number of root tab fert brands do an effective job bringing some essential nutrients to aquatic plants, and will not adversely affect your water conditions & quality.
I use them in combination with a carbon source (like Excel or pressurized CO2), with occasional dosings of other trace elements, and they grow plants well. Lately I've used mostly API root tabs, which I replace about every 4 to 6 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A number of root tab fert brands do an effective job bringing some essential nutrients to aquatic plants, and will not adversely affect your water conditions & quality.
I use them in combination with a carbon source (like Excel or pressurized CO2), with occasional dosings of other trace elements, and they grow plants well. Lately I've used mostly API root tabs, which I replace about every 4 to 6 months.
I have both API root tabs and Osmocate capsule in the substrate. Could this be the reason that I have poor water quality in my tank? Also I believe I added lot more fertz than recommended dosage. I also have soil. so there are too many variables in this equation.
 

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If you used 2 types of root tabs and you think you added more ferts than the recommended dosage, and this along with having soil too, then yes, it's possible you could have negatively affected your tank's water quality.
In what way did you have poor water quality in your tank ? Ammonia ?
 
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