I've got a 10 gallon I'm in the process of setting up, and I was looking for advice on whether I want to put sand or gavel in the tank.
I'm leaning towards sand because I think it looks really nice, but aside from aesthetics, I don't really know what the main differences between the two are. I know sand needs to be stirred to avoid gas bubbles, but that's it.
I don't plan on having live plants in it right now (except a marimo ) but I would like to add them down the road. Does that make a difference?
SAND! Good you know the air pocket thing. :) Apart from that its very easy to care for and all the debris like fish poop lies on top of it instead of getting stuck between the pebbles of gravel, so its easy to siphon.. You just have to give it a good rinse before putting it into the tank. I personally love it :D
Sand! I think it looks lovely...and I find it easier to clean than gravel.
Which is why I plan on picking up a bag of pool filter sand the next time I am near a pool store.......I switched my tanks to gravel not too long ago and I just really don't like it...
If you decide to get plants with a larger root base I would go with a thicker grain type of sand...pool filter sand or petco has a nice grain sized sand now and it comes in cool colors like black brown and blue.You will also need some sort of root tab fertilizer if you have rooted plants in just plain sand.
The first time cleaning is annoying but what I do is, I put the sand in a bucket, and start filling water in it, I swirl it around with my hand and then let the bucket overflow for awhile so all the lighter impurities get out. Then empty the water, and repeat 2-3 times till the water gets clear and you can see the sand in the bucket clearly through it.
If you get pool filter sand, you don't need to to do this, its already pretty clean. :D
I prefer gravel because I do 100% once 2 weeks in my 5 gal which is what everyone should do, and gravel is much easier to remove than sand, surely.
I disagree. I find sand much easier to clean because the debris just sits on top of it, it doesn't settle down into all the cracks and crevices like with gravel. You don't need to vacuum it and you don't need to remove sand when you do a 100% water change. Just use a tube to remove the water and the suction will also remove the debris. You can gently swirl the tube around just above the surface of the sand to stir up debris to suck it up easily that way also.
I use the Petco brand sand and I love it! It is very clean, I rinsed it just in case and nothing came off of it, it's not dusty at all. It's kind of expensive but for a small tank, you shouldn't need much and to me, not having to rinse it over and over was worth the cost!
If you don't plan on having live plants, you don't need to worry about gas pockets. But they do fair better in sand than in gravel, especially rooted plants.