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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to put some sand in a new 10g tank this week and love the way it looks. i used pool filter sand because its cheap and white enough for me. i have heard some good and bad about it but want to hear some people with long term sand in there tanks. seems like not alot like it due to seeing the fish/shrimp droppings lol, on the sand. and algae growing on it. anyone have sand nightmares?
 

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only bad thing i can see would be compaction over time but that can be easily remedied by adding MTS to keep it turned over.
 

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i would add sand to my tanks only in a small part of the tank not all of it. If I do i would buy black sand.
The BLACK sand is regular sand with black paint on it if I'm not mistaking. Wouldn't that be be bad for shrimps? Is there such a thing available as 100%natural black sand?
 

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I have pool filter sand. it can be a pain to keep clean if there isn't a lot of flow in your tank. if you need to, get a powerhead to help the water circulate across the sand and lift up the poop.
 

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I have been using black Sand Blasting Sand for many years. It does have a name that escapes me at the moment but I do get the coarsest grit. It is very inexpensive, which is why I started using it. I have read opinions about how it is not the best but it seems OK to me. I am now mixing it with Eco Complete which is not inexpensive.

The black shows dirt really well so be aware that it is not the final story.
 

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I use 3MCQ - the only draw-back is is that when I first set-up my tank I was using a magnetic algae scraper and if any sand got in the scraper, it would scratch the glass. &%&&##$!!!
 

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I use sand now in two tanks. Ive been using it for 4 years now. Ive used both brands of play sand from Lowe's and home depot. I HATE sand so much now. I am finally in the process of changing it out now to colorquartz. The sand looks good right after you clean it. I clean my tank and do 50% water changers weekly and %90 of the time my tank looks like crap. Fish **** might as well have a neon sign pointing down on it. If you ever get diatoms, even in small amounts your sand will look bad. And I'm not 100% about this but for some reason I believe the sand is releasing silicates in my 125g causing diatoms. Someone can chime in and correct me if thats not even possible. But one thing that is positive your tank is small so I don't think you will have as much problems as in my 72" tank. Well anyways there is my 2cents on sand. Good luck....

Edit: X2 on sand getting stuck in a magnet scrapper and scratching the tank!
 

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The sand looks good right after you clean it. I clean my tank and do 50% water changers weekly and %90 of the time my tank looks like crap. Fish **** might as well have a neon sign pointing down on it. If you ever get diatoms, even in small amounts your sand will look bad.
ditto for me on both of those...and that's with 3MCQ, so don't expect the problem to go away ;)
 

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adding MTS to keep it turned over.
I think their benefit is overstated. They help, they are harmless, but they burrow only deep enough to barely cover themselves, and in compacted sand, I do not think they would do much if anything to help.

My experience with sand... compact, compact, compact... Within only a few months it got so hard I could not poke my finger through it. Plant growth slowed down, I had dead spots all over the substrate where the compacted sand cut off oxygen and tuned the sand black from rotting organics. It smelled like rotting eggs, and some of my fish started getting sick.. lathargic, stopped eating. It was a huge mess.

That was several years ago. Since then I have tried growing plants in sand with no fish, because sand was cheap. My Cryptocorynes will simply not grow in it. Plants that responded well from water column ferts and plenty of light seemed to do OK.
 

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. I HATE sand so much now. I am finally in the process of changing it out now to colorquartz.
Isn't colorquartz basically a sand? How will maintenance of that differ from sand?

I'm trying to decide on a substrate for my low light tank...I think I'm going with Turface pro grey with a white sand river...should this be a relatively low maintenance substrate? I'll use some river rock scattered along the rivers edge to help keep the two substrates from mixing too much (though I don't mind a bit of blending). Thoughts?
 

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Isn't colorquartz basically a sand? How will maintenance of that differ from sand?

I'm trying to decide on a substrate for my low light tank...I think I'm going with Turface pro grey with a white sand river...should this be a relatively low maintenance substrate? I'll use some river rock scattered along the rivers edge to help keep the two substrates from mixing too much (though I don't mind a bit of blending). Thoughts?
There are two grades of colorquartz. Grade S is sand like. Grade T is more like turface. I ordered a few bags of Turface, I found it to be way to light and I thought the some plants whould have a hard time stay put.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
now that the sand has been in tank for a month the fish crap arent pretty lol. when i do water changes i can get 85% of the crap out without moving sand to much using a gravel vac. i just hover over it and looks clean for a few days. im sure ill end up vacuming the sand out later it looks great but a pain to constantly clean off. i have any plants in it so no worry of plants in it.
thanks for the replys!
 

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Sorry Robert, I have to disagree a little about MTS only burying themselves and going no deeper. I recently pulled a complete mass of Val nana from the back of my tank, where the sub was at least 5 inches deep, and the (very large) root mass had large MTS all throughout. I spent a few minutes picking them all out, I don't see how some of them were any closer than 4 inches to the top of the sub. I've never seen anything like it, it was like they were nesting in there. Granted, the sub they were in was SMS, not sand, perhaps they don't bother digging too deep into the more compacted sand.

As far as sand for planting, I personally have had good luck with regular play sand. The tank in question is only 30gl and I don't think I would do a complete sub of sand in a tank much larger than 30 - 50gl. The depth is no more than 3 inches in the deepest spots, I poke around periodically but not religiously, compaction isn't so bad, perhaps the snails help. I keep a powerhead down low behind some wood scaping to avoid dead spots and keep waste afloat so the filters can catch most of it. Before I added the powerhead, the mess would collect rapidly on top of the sand. Growth was great when I was injecting and fertilizing, now that the tank is low tech (no CO2 or ferts) growth is slow but healthy. Particularly bronze wendtii from Robert, and lutea, it's taking it's normal time but doesn't seem to be slowed by the sand. There is a large sword thriving in it, and anyone familiar with the root mas of a large sword might suspect it's helping against compaction. Ground cover has always been a problem in that tank, which is ironic because I added the sand 3 yrs ago to assist ground cover with it's small grain size. Only E. tenellus would work out there.

My verdict, if I was going to do a biotope type of tank, say with leaf litter or a bare sub as in nature, I would use sand. If I was doing a show tank with ground cover and the whole nine yards, I would only use sand as a contrasting element, one bare area set off from the plant mass.
 

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Well everybodys experience is a little different I guess. I used it in 20 and 30 gallon tanks and still had the problem, but I know you are not alone in your experience. I can understand the use of sand for its asthetic value, but it has very little other benefit. It contains no minerals that plants can use, is usually alkaline, and has no CEC capability, (the ability to hold metal ions, nutrients from the water).

Now, I am setting up soon a paludarium of sorts for fiddler crabs where I plan to use sand, rock and mondo grass, and maybe a couple other bog plants such as Acorus. The plants will grow above water with their feet in the sand and water. I think they will do OK.
 
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