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Old 09-09-2010, 12:13 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2009
sand vs gravel which is better?

Hey guys. Im mainly wondering what is better for cleaning (with a vac) and which would work better with plants? Thanks
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:49 PM   #2 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Gravel is easier to vacuum and doesn't compact the way sand does. If you use sand you need to regularly stir up the substrate to keep it from compacting, or you could stock the tank with malaysian trumpet snails that burrow into the substrate during the day. My personal favorite substrate for planting is EcoComplete. I love the black color and the uneven texture--it looks natural and is enriched for planting in.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:38 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: South Wales, UK
Yeah I would have to say gravel too, although I personally find gravel tricky to vaccum lol but I thats only because my vaccum isnt very good lol

With the sand you would have to stir it up every other week or so otherwise it will compact and then kill your beneficial bacteria, I've left mine for a while and noticed it turning black and also green, not good lol. The other thing that is annoying about sand is that you have to take all your decorations and plants out etc to mix it up, which i hate doing, especially when you get everything how you like it lol. If you do go for sand then you may want to go for a darker colour as it won't show the debris and fish waste as much
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:51 PM   #4 
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Location: SF, Ca
I currently have about an inch and a half of sand on the bottom and a half inch or so of gravel on top. I was taught that the gravel is more decoration and the sand is more ideal for bacteria.

Never heard about stirring up the sand though for bacteria. My LFS has quite possibly a hundred of heavily planted freshwater tanks that I know they don't stir up. Heck, they don't even change the water, they just add to it due to evaporation and I think do some vacumming. Their fish are some of the healthiest I've seen in the city, with imported bettas to boot.

Last edited by TharBePirates; 09-10-2010 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:13 PM   #5 
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I think gravel is better for the bacteria. Theres tons of gaps between each of the pebbles in gravel henceforth more surface area for the bacteria to live in.
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