Next month I get my new 20 Long (30x12x12) acrylic tank with removable divider. I have always had gravel; never sand.
The tank will be heavily planted with one Betta on each side along with RCS, Assassin snails, Thai Micro Crabs, Mystery Snails and Dwarf Crayfish.
I currently have Echinodorus Parviflorus 'Tropica' (small sword), Dwarf Onion plants, Dwarf Hair Grass mats, Cabomba, Anachris, Pigmy Chain Sword, Crypt retrospiralis, Amazon Sword, Crypt undulata, Banana Plant, Anchor and Java Moss, Banana Plant, Micro Sword, Red Root Floaters and Golden Loydiella. Also have Driftwood. If there's room, I will probably have more plants.
The Micro Crabs like to bury in sand so they would keep it aerated. I also like the idea of surface vacuuming to clean up the poo instead of having it filter down through the gravel.
Are there any cons to using sand given my parameters? I plan to put root tabs in the substrate. I have 15 pounds of Eco Complete. Can I mix it with the sand or put it on the bottom with sand on top? Or should I give it away?
Is Tahitian Moon a good product?
Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 05-19-2013 at 03:12 AM.
I would definitely go with sand and would use the eco complete under it. I did a sand cap in my 20g long NPT and it is thriving. Plus, the sand is super easy to clean and I feel it is gentler on the fish than gravel.
What you might consider using instead of the Eco Complete is just Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Soil (NOT Garden Soil--I made that mistake) sifted through a colander to remove big chunks and any wood. You can then cap it with the sand. I have really good clay soil in my yard and am using that for my NPTs, but that particular potting soil is said to work well for them.
The pros I've found of the Eco-Complete are that it can kickstart the cycle, and you don't have to be as careful during water changes, because it won't muddy up. The cons I've found are that it is a bit harder to get the plants in and make them stay.
I haven't used Tahitian Moon, but I hear it's good. I used Fluorite Black and really like it. It seems to have a few shiny grains here and there for added beauty, and it's great for the plants.
The Micro Crabs like to bury in sand so they would keep it aerated.
Two thing about that - first is that most things that burrow in the sand only do so in the top layer, so if you have more than an inch of sand, the rest will remain undisturbed.
Second - aerating the sand is just a warning that people repeat. The threat of poisonous gas pockets developing is almost nonexistent. How can I say that? Aside from the fact that most sand beds just aren't deep enough for that to occur, there are NEVER any threads about it. NEVER. People create threads about every stupid little thing, and yet there are NEVER any threads about poisonous gas pockets killing someone's fish. Now I suppose it is possible that that is the ONE problem that everyone manages to avoid, but when EVERYONE manages to avoid something, how real of a threat is it? Can it happen? Yes, it probably can, given a perfect storm of circumstances. But it is not something about which anyone should worry.
If you put sand on top of Eco Complete, it will eventually just settle and sift underneath, and the EC will be on top. Trust me, it's happened to me and it's not pretty :/ I think you're fine if you use plain sand with root tabs, or do a NPT.
There is also the option of an enriched sand, such as Flourite Black Sand. However I'll warn you now that Flourite sand is quite dusty, and clouds the tank whenever you move plants.
Tahitian Moon Sand is good, I've seen it in other tanks and it looks pretty. For me it's too 'sparkly', but it has a larger grain size than play sand or Flourite sand, which makes it a cleaner product/easier to clean before hand. Flourite looks like dirt, tbh, which I like.
Pontificating is my favorite past time. Whatever helps you sleep
Make sure you provide plenty od SMALL hiding spots for your crabs and dwarf crays or the betta may very well eat them. At least that was my experience before I learned better.
May not help me sleep but it sure made me laugh.
I have lots and lots of plants, caves and driftwood. Very thick wall of moss and 3x5 Dwarf Hair Grass mats. I'm amazed the Bettas don't bother the RCS and BVS but they don't.
Have you seen the shrimp houses? Same guy makes Cichlid and Pleco breeding tubes and caves. He made these half-tubes shorter for the shrimp. Holes in the towers are a little smaller than a pencil eraser.