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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently deep cleaned my tank and switched from gravel to sand substrate. When I removed the gravel substrate, it was actually pretty gross water underneath the gravel. I noticed all this thick grey water coming up from the gravel when I vacuumed the last gallon of water out of the tank. That's why I was having ammonia spikes every few days and the fish maintained popeye even though I thought my water was fine.

It seems like other beginners that start with gravel may have the same problems but also be unsure of why. My LFS told me to avoid sand because bettas will cut themselves on it and get infected or would eat the sand and die. I don't shop there or ask them for advice anymore.

After watching tons of videos on sand being a great choice, I switched and couldn't be happier. I can immediately pickup the poop and food with a turkey baster between water changes. I did a water change a couple days ago and I don't suck up tons of sand either as long as I vacuum in a swirl motion above the substrate, then stir the sand when finished. Spider-Man (betta fishy) also has no cuts on him and is happy as can be.
 

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I Love the sand in my tanks. I just poured it over the gravel, I agree it is a lot easier to see the mulm sitting on top and suck it outta there. Sometimes I push the mulm in around my live plant roots for fertilizer. I have sponge filters though! I can’t imagine a filter would stay quite with sand stuck in the impeller 😂
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Should I let the poop and stuff sit in there until water change? I have been sucking it up with a turkey baster when I see it. Not sure if that deprives bacteria of food since tank not cycled yet
 
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