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View Poll Results: Sand or Gravel for a Bowl?
Sand 5 20.83%
Gravel 17 70.83%
Personal Preference 2 8.33%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-30-2013, 06:43 PM   #1 
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Question Gravel vs Sand for a Small Tank?

[Once again, I do not have a betta, I was just curious.]

So, I know people use sand as substrate for large community aquariums or pampered bettas in ten gallons. However, I was curious as to what substrate people with small aquariums [e.g. Kritter Keepers, Bowls, One Gallon Anchor Hockings, etc.] with a betta ONLY, use as substrate. If a floor plan is small, wouldn't it be easier to only have to strain some gravel? I mean, those things usually need about two cleans a week, so to have to siphon off waste every time seems a bit tedious, yes? People usually say that they never go back once they've switched to sand [For Large Tanks], but in a bowl, wouldn't gravel just be *Easier*? Or is there some way to clean sand in a bowl with, say, a turkey baster?

Basically, Sand or Gravel in terms of convenience for an aquarium with little floorspace?

Last edited by WaffleSire; 04-30-2013 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:35 PM   #2 
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Gravel, IMO. It's easier to clean as it won't get sucked out by a siphon.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:12 PM   #3 
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Yeah. The thing is, big aquariums need siphoning anyways, so sand is better for them, but in small aquariums you can just dump the gravel out and clean.

I just reread my first post and realize I repeated some things. [Facekeyboard]
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:17 PM   #4 
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IME sand is a bit easier to clean because everything stays on top so there's no need to dig into it like gravel, so for me I like the sand. You do occasionally have to churn it around to release some air bubbles but I like it. However if it's a bowl that you're doing 100% water changes on all the time, then gravel or no substrate might be easier to work with.

I also just like the look of sand better ^^ I voted before I even looked at the comments but I do like sand, but I also believe it is personal preference.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:19 PM   #5 
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IME, debris has a tendency to fall between the cracks and crevices of petco gravel and even with regular maintenance, you're not gonna get it all. When my 5 gal w/ a betta & mystery snail had regular gravel in it (it's been transformed to a NPT w/ Floramax cap now) I would have to completely clean it out every three/four months ago because there was just so much built up debris and it would float for like 10+ minutes after a water change. I would have to take everything and drain it completely; you should have SEEN how much "organic material" was trapped underneath the gravel - absolutely disgusting.

I have sand in my 2.5 gal NPT and it's way easier to clean. I just use a turkey baster to spot clean when necessary. It takes some practice to not suck up a lot of sand, but once you get the hang of it, you're golden.

edit: Even though I prefer sand, I'm voting personal preference since at the end of the day it's all about the look you're going for. But in terms of maintenance, I still think sand is a bit easier to keep clean.

edit edit: Whoops, totally forgot to consider that you're gonna have to do 100% water changes in a bowl, so it probably would be best for you to use gravel or marbles or something similar. Haha, sorry about that!

Last edited by colorxmexravyne; 04-30-2013 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #6 
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I LOVE sand but with a small tank it probably wouldn't be a good choice.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:32 PM   #7 
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If you have like a 3 gallon bowl you can siphon it out, I have a few of those and I just siphon mine so you could do sand if you wanted to. I found that if you siphon the bowl you have to take the fish out though cause they get more in the way than in a large tank and can get hurt easily.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #8 
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With my smaller tanks I am mostly skipping substrate now. I want to be able to see any little Betta poops that need to be sucked out.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #9 
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personally i think it would drive me a little crazy to take my substrate out to clean it no matter how small it was, don't know that the plants would like that either. a turkey baster keeps sand pretty clean ime. you get the knack of it after a while, you can either stir things up and get them as they float, get just the right amount of hover distance above the sand to suck things off of it, or just go ahead and suck up the sand and when it's full of water let gravity pull the sand out of the turkey baster while all the lighter particles of junk you want to remove float around above it.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:47 PM   #10 
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I go with gravel for my 3 gallon because I do 100% water changes and I'm not sure how you could do that with sand. With gravel you just dump it out and rinse it off with everything else.
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