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Old 07-23-2011, 03:53 AM   #1 
thePWNISHER
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Gravel vs Sand?

Need a compare and contrast or pro/con answers to Sand vs Gravel. I just saw that they got some beautiful black sand at my Petco and I'm tempted to swap out my black gravel for it? With sand you can't exactly gravel vac it during cleaning so what do you do besides churning it a bit? I'm just wondering the differences. I know real soil for plants is great but is sand better for live plants than gravel or vice-versa?? Just wondering from all of your experiences.
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:08 AM   #2 
copperarabian
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sand is harder to clean then gravel, and will get sucked up the gravel vac. Some people will hover the vac over the sand to suck up the poop, and anything they don't want in there. I personally like gravel better, it's a lot easier to clean :D I have a heavier sand in my 15g along with some gravel, and I can clean it normal for a few seconds then lift the gravel vac up and it sink back to the bottom :D
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #3 
Tisia
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I actually think sand is easier to clean because everything just kind of sits on top of it instead of sinking underneath it. larger grain sand is easier, it doesn't get kicked up as easily and is less likely to get sucked up by a siphon. I use pool filter sand because it's bigger and cheap, lol
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:19 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tisia View Post
I actually think sand is easier to clean because everything just kind of sits on top of it instead of sinking underneath it. larger grain sand is easier, it doesn't get kicked up as easily and is less likely to get sucked up by a siphon. I use pool filter sand because it's bigger and cheap, lol
I agree with this.
Unfortunately the first sand I went with was too powdery fine...My corydoras were kicking it up all over the place... I now have gravel..but I miss my sand and plan on switching back to sand once I find some I like. Sand needs to be stirred a bit every other week or so that way it doesn't compact. If the sand is just sand and not specially for live plants you will need root tabs for your deep rooted plants and a liquid water column fert. for your stem plants and mosses.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:47 PM   #5 
thePWNISHER
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So live plants would fair better in gravel for the most part it seems. I just saw this nice thicker grained black sand at the shop and was thinking of Hawaii for some reason. Glad I didn't just pick it up on impulse. I have never used sand whenver I've read the washing out threads I decided maybe if I have a week vacation I might take on the endeavor but no thanks.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:29 PM   #6 
betta dude
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gravels way better
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:09 PM   #7 
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I definitely prefer sand by far. But the right kind of sand. I got a very fine grain white aquarium sand and also have used ADA sands and hated both. This time around I got a bag of estes black marine sand (yes you can use it in freshwater) and Tahitian moon black sand and tested both in a cup of water.

I went with Tahitian moon sand becuase the grain size was larger and it sunk faster. No regrets at all. Dream to deal with. Food and poop stays on top for easy removal, great water parameters.

Sand is definitely better for plants, but if you are going with stem plants a enriched substrate underneath the sand or gravel is best. If you are not going for stem plants (anubias, mosses java fern etc.) then it does not matter which you use.

My biggest problem with gravel is that it collects way more mulm, poop and debris and can cause problems as a result. The larger the grain size, the more it will collect debris, which is why I think that the habit of putting marbles and large decorative pebbles in unfiltered bowls with bettas can be hazardous.

That being said it is hard to fill up small tanks with water when you have sand wihout causing a mess, the wanding over the gravel can be hard to pick up poop if you have alot of inhabitants to pick up after (I only have a betta and use a turkey baster once a day) and you need to be careful about your filtration intakes being to strong and close to the sand bed in case sand should get in your impeller.

If you don't maintain it and you have light colored sand, it will look dirter faster than an unmaintained gravel bed. Also sand can harbor dangerous gasses so have inhabitants (like Malaysian trumpet snails) that turn the sand bed around or give it a poking during WC to keep any gasses from building up.

Ultimately it's a matter of personal preference though... good luck :)
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:12 PM   #8 
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I should also add if you do use tahitian moon sand (which may be what you saw) you need to wash it very very thoroughly or it will cloud your water for some time.

I knew this and washed mine for an hour with the hose and the sink and it's been clear water from the start.
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