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Old 05-05-2009, 11:18 AM   #1 
LaniBaby
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How do you feel about sand?

Hi Everyone,

I'm planning to do 100% clean outs of my tanks this week so I feel like it's a good time to consider changing the substrate. Right now I use flat glass stones. They look lovely but i'm concerned they're not as clean as they should be. It's difficult to get the plants to stick in them, and then when i vacuum, if one rock shifts, 5 rocks shift, and the plants are floating again. I've noticed an accumulation of junk on the bottom of the tanks that isn't always getting picked up by vacuuming, so i'm researching sand.
I know there are a few threads here on sand but nothing particularly in depth. Can anyone who has used sand tell : is it easy to clean? Do you like it? Is there any particular type of sand that is good or bad? Does it affect pH levels at all? How often do you need to take all the sand out and rinse it?

Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:29 AM   #2 
aunt kymmie
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Sand? I love it and use it as a substrate in all my tanks. Certain sands (aragonite, crushed coral sand, etc.) will raise the ph so you wouldn't want to use those in a betta tank. I have white play sand in one betta tank, black tahitian moon sand in another. You would not want to ever pull out all the sand as much of your benefical bacteria will be living in the sand bed. Weekly vacuuming of the sand bed at water change time, during which time you should gently "stir" the sand bed to keep any anaerobic gas pockets from forming is all you would need to do.

PS. I don't know what size your tanks are but doing a 100% clean out will completely destroy your biological. You'll have to recycle your tanks all over again which will be very tough on your fish.

Last edited by aunt kymmie; 05-05-2009 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #3 
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they aren't cycled tanks. they are 3 gallons each with one betta in each one. I'm a little paranoid about water changes since my last betta was constantly ill (he came that way) and since these bettas are from a breeder, i would just be miserable if anything happened to them or their lovely fins.

i've heard you need to really wash play sand before using it and it doesn't seem to be found at petshops. Is that something you get at a toy shop or big box?

Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:05 PM   #4 
aunt kymmie
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Yes, play sand needs to be rinsed in a bucket, repeatedly, before you see the water run clear. I'm glad my neighbors didn't see me wasting all the water I did during this process. I purchased my play sand from Home Depot. It was about $5.00 for the bag and I didn't need much for a 6g tank. I've got most of the bag stored in my garden shed. It's too bad I couldn't find a much smaller bag than the 50 pounder I purchased. That was the smallest size bag that Home Depot offered.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #5 
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50 lbs!!!! what will i do with 50 lbs?? haha. that's a lot. i was always wary of home depot for animal things, but if you and other people have had good luck with it, that can't be so bad, I suppose. :) so rinse until the water runs clear. Is there anywhere that sells sand that you know of that doesn't need so much rinsing?
Maybe I should just run down to the lake with a coffee can.... although Chicago sand probably isnt' any cleaner. And I recall getting chased out of there once while collecting sand for a high school science project.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:26 PM   #6 
aunt kymmie
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Yikes, I'd stay away from the lake sand as who knows what parasites and diseases may lurk there. ALL sand requires rinsing, some sand more than others. I know 50lbs is alot but it was so cheap I didn't mind spending the money and having so much left over. I'm sure I'll be adding another tank sometime down the road that I can use it in.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #7 
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i was just kidding about the lake sand. :) thanks for the input on the sand. I'll have to find a place to wash it out where my water-conserving grandparents don't see me. :P
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:40 PM   #8 
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I use sand for my cories,and have pondered using it for my bettas. They currently have gravel (well fishy does) and the others just have stones. Lots of junk accumulates under there. I end up doing 100% cause its nasty. I like the sand cause the waste stays on top! Dont have to dig for it lol. The part i dont like is having to stir it all the time. But if you keep up with the stirring,you wont have problems. I forgot to stir for awhile and my sand turned black on me. Ive been good now haha.

I used sand from Lowes,same price just about and yes 50lbs lol. I also read you can use pool filter sand. Its cleaner,but i dunno where to find that or how much it would be. Oh and the sand will cloud up your tank water for awhile once you do put it in. Itll clear up though dont worry.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #9 
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what about tahitian moon sand? i've heard it brings out colors nicely in the fish.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:55 PM   #10 
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how often do you stir it? i've heard every few weeks up to 3 or 4 times per year!
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