Substrate Choice

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Post by mickthefish » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:33 am

i use silica gravel, it's of a fine grade looks good in the tank, instead of the usual gravel this is inert with a great orange/tan colour.
it's two drawbacks are it's not cheap at £10 a 50lb bag and it takes a lot of cleaning before it can go in the tank and even then for the first week the tank looks misty.


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Post by shari2 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:20 am

You can wash sand in the same solution you'd use on plants--1part chlorine bleach (unscented) to 19parts water. Soak for at least 10 minutes, then rinse heavily and soak again in heavily dechlorinated water, rinse again.
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Post by Diana » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:30 am

A good way to rinse sand is to put the sand in a pillow case and turn on the hose. I do this under whatever tree needs a deep soaking and let the water run slowly for a long time, stirring the sand around as often as I can (maybe every 10 minutes for an hour or more, then do another batch of sand)
The fabric is a fine enough material to catch a lot of small stuff, yet lets the really fine stuff out.
You then still need to remove the floating bits.
To do this I will but perhaps a gallon (4-6 liters) or so of sand in a 5 gallon bucket and swirl it around with the hose going, so the water spills over the side of the bucket, carrying the floating debris with it.

I have not collected substrates from the wild, but it sounds like the bleach and dechlor is a good way to handle disinfecting them. Air drying, and exposure to the sun would be good, too. (Especially in Texas summers)

I happen to have a large garden with lots of fruit trees, so I can always move to a new spot, under a different tree, if I am washing a lot of substrate.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

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Post by OHFISH » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:54 pm

Thanks for the welcome. I checked out your website, pretty cool. I am amazed at how low you were able to get the Flourite. PetSmart was $24 a bag, everyone else in town is higher. Where did you purchase yours from? I'd like to get the Flourite Black for my display tank. Right now I only use Flourite in one 75G plant tank. My other tanks have standard gravel, except for my Salt tank. Overtime I will replace them with Flourite or some other substrate good for plants.

You mentioned the Flourite being too coarse for the loaches. My Yoyo's and Clowns don't seem to have a problem with it at all.

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Post by crazy loaches » Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:32 am

Yeah, like I said my loaches have been fine with the flourite. But they cant shovel around in it or burrow, which I am sure they'd like to do. But no signs of any barbel erosion or belly scratches. I got mine from which is in Ohio, but they were on sale at the time. Some other places I frequent is (were I buy most stuff, plus with their vip program you accumulate points and wednesday is double), and . Out of those three the cheapest right now is the Drs, at $14 per bag. But unless your looking for something specific like that, I'd stick with local sand. The PFS sand I got and a local pool supply store cost like $7 for a 50 pound bag. It was only like 60 bucks for 400 pounds for my 240g tank.

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Post by SondraT » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:02 am

I use this: ... 92169.aspx

Nice, even grains..slightly course..natural color..real clean..stays out of the water column. My loaches seem happy with it. I really like the look of something finer but after pretty much destroying two filters with Tahitian black moon sand I didn't want to take any more chances. That stuff was beautiful but very expensive and never really settled when the loaches were out. I originally bought Home Depot playsand when I moved up to my 120g from a 55g. I had great luck with it a few years prior but apparently it had completely changed over that time. Washed and washed that sand but never could get it clean. Tried it anyway and it made brown mud in my tank that never cleared! Thought it might settle over time but never did..had to take it all out. That's when I found the Quikrete pool filter sand. I bought mine at Aubuchon Hardware in Massachusetts, but I believe their stores might only be found in New England. I originally found the sand by doing a web search.. Good luck! :)

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Post by Doc » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:27 am

I use a mixture of Roman Gravel sand and Tesco playsand. Takes about 30minutes to wash a 15kg bag of sand in a large tub I use and then mix well with the RomanGravel sand. Most of the fish I keep seem to love it.

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Post by qumqats » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:20 am

I think one of the main things is regardless of what you get or where you get it, you HAVE TO RINCE IT OUT. It's going to have crud in it you won't want in the tank.

What I've found works best is to get a bucket and fill it half full with sand.
I then use a hose to fill the bucket with water. The floaters will come to the top and out with the water flowing out of the bucket. You can use the flow of the water coming out of the hose to liquefy the sand such that all the particles are suspended in the water. By adjusting the amount of flow and direction of flow of water out of the hose you can get just the smallest particles of sand to flow out of the bucket. You want to get rid of the mud and smallest particles of matter.

I've ready many postings by people who've just poured the un-cleaned sand into a tank and then complained about the muddy water they've created!



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Post by crazy loaches » Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:37 pm

Yes most substrate needs rinsed. There are some that are pre-rinsed though and have minimal dust.

For my 240g tank I had a different approach. I started rinsing the sand in buckets like I've done in the past. But the sand was exceptionally dusty and for the volume I was cleaning I had calculated out how long it would take me... and I forget what the number was but it was going to be at least two days. So instead, I purchased a diatom filter and just dumped the sand in. I purposely kept the sand stirred up to get as much of the dust in the water column as possible, so the diatom filter would clean it. I think it took around 3-4 days and a few cleanings of the diatom filter but in the end I think it was well worth it and now I have a DE filter on hand.

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