Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

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Holdstrong
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Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by Holdstrong » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:35 pm

Hi all!

Upgrading my clown tank and looking to get some of your opinions on sand substrate options. I also have a question about particle size in a tank with lots of moving water...

I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I have credit that I can apply toward Caribsea products. So I am considering the following products:

Caribsea Supernaturals Crystal River
  • 0.5-1.0mm particle size
Caribsea Supernaturals Sunset Gold
  • 0.25-1.0mm particle size
Caribsea Supernaturals Peace River
  • 1.0-2.0mm particle size
I'm struggling to decide between them because...

I prefer a more natural look, and I worry that the Crystal River is going to appear to "ocean white" for my loach tank.

I love the natural beach sand look of the Sunset Gold, but that is a very small, fine particle sand and in a loach tank with powerheads I worry it will be a cloudy mess that ends up in my filters.

The Peace River isn't really sand, it is small gravel. I want to give my clowns the best substrate for them to dig and enjoy the tank, so I think the particles will be too big. But I really don't know for sure.

Hoping you all can weight in with some opinions or experiences. Especially about that Sunset Gold and whether you think that will be too fine/small a particle size.

NancyD
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by NancyD » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:58 pm

The first 2 look to be about the size of pool filter sand, fine for loaches but does move around some. I prefer the Sunset Gold color, pool sand is pretty much white & shows everything. I have had pool sand in several tanks as a "budget minded" substrate but wish it wasn't so light in color.

I love Peace River but have never tried it. I don't think it's too big for clowns or most loaches, maybe not horse faced or similar. It seems like it's heavy enough to stay put. The grains are rounded too, I like that.
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Holdstrong
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by Holdstrong » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:06 am

Thanks for your thoughts, Nancy!

I grabbed a bunch of bags of the Sunset Gold. The color is great in person. But it is indeed much more fine than my pool filter sand. I'm going to begin washing it today and should be able to test it in a tank soon to see how it handles movement. If it does kick up too easily and becomes a problem for the filters in the test tank, I can then decide to switch out to pool filter sand. Like you, I'm not super crazy about the white'ish color of the pool sand I can get around me.

I also took a good look at the Peace River in a tank that was setup at my LFS. It is really nice, and pretty small sized as far as gravel goes, but I decided I prefer actual sand for my CL's. So... looks like Sunset Gold or back to pool filter sand it is! Will remember to update when I get more info on my tests.

And now I have to work on building a DIY stand, because I can't bring myself to trust this plywood/MDF stand that came with the tank. :D

NancyD
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by NancyD » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:42 pm

Oh, yeah, MDF won't be a long term stand...a friend built a lovely oak stand for our 5ft 110g/ 120g...right before we moved to CA...We're not sure how long we can stay here, so we've never set it up. It was supposed to be a discus tank...but I no longer have the impetus to make it happen.

Yes! Do the Gold sand, I'd love to see how it looks. If you won't be having plants in the substrate, there isn't any reason to make it more than 1/2 inch or so deep.
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Holdstrong
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by Holdstrong » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:34 am

My DIY stand is done. It took a looooong time to do, since I am the least handy person on the planet (once again confirmed after this project!). I will post some photos and details soon.

To the subject of sand. The CaribSea Gold I purchased is almost perfect. It is soft, a great color, looks wonderful in the tank. But I think it is going to end up being too fine. It is coating everything in the tank, including my filter inlets/outlets with a thin layer. It just wont settle down. This gives a nice natural look to the tank, but I think it will eventually lead to some expensive dead filters. And this is with just filter movements at this point, no powerheads yet.

I'm going to search for some natural looking pool sand. And if none are to be found, I'll go back to the drawing board.

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redshark1
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by redshark1 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:25 pm

For people worried about the pronouncement on MDF stands, whilst it may seem a little crazy to build them out of this material I have one supporting a 6ft tank that is still going strong after 30 years.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-five years of age on 01.01.19, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

Holdstrong
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by Holdstrong » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:59 pm

Yep, my 75g was on a MDF stand for over a decade. It was peeling and was water swollen from day 1, but never budged. Guessing this material is stronger than it looks/seems, also guessing the major vendors wouldn't build warrantied stands out of it if it was really prone to failure. Of course, that didn't stop me from worrying about it. And for that reason alone a bomber 2x4 stand was worth the effort (even the long, ridiculously laborious effort it took someone with my lack of handiness to build!)

Back to the subject of substrate. I found an old post on these forums from Keith Wolcott where he recommended a product from Red Flint Sand and Gravel. A quick internet search found some folks on other aquarium forums also touting the product. I've reached out to them to see if I can order direct. They have two products that might do the trick. One is actually called "Aquarium Sand" and the other is a more standard "Pool Filter Sand." Not sure of the differences between the two yet.

http://www.redflint.com/aquarium_sand.htm

http://www.redflint.com/pool_filtration_sand.htm

NancyD
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Re: Sand substrate opinions and particle size question

Post by NancyD » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:04 pm

I like the color of those sands but they still seem too fine. 20 mesh is the pool filter sand I've used. It says on that site that's 85mm but the red flint "pool sand" is 45-55mm. I think you'll be disappointed. I also used a 1 "grade" pool sand once, it was finer than 20 mesh...OK for some tiny digging loaches I had (Lepidocephalichthys furcatus), but too easily blown around & vacuumed out. Plants were not quite happy either.

That said, I'd love to see pics of your tank & DIY stand!
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