Gravel vs sand

despreauxb

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Ive had gravel in my betta tank (I also have shrimp and snails (mainly assassins because they've been breeding a lot lately)) I also have some live plants. I was tired of the ugly black and white gravel and decided to redo her tank. I ordered more live plants and some sand. Ive been reading now that maybe sand isnt the best for her?? I have super fine gravel/sandy type of substrate in my other tank but I also dont have any thriving plants in that tank yet either. I don't have an undergravel filter, just a regular one. Ft Cerberus and her current set up
 

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Byron

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There is no reason why sand would be detrimental to your fish, nor any other tropical fish for that matter (with a very few exceptions). And plants grow well in sand. Avoid white sand however, this is not good for fish. But "sand" is an excellent substrate.
 
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despreauxb

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I read that it traps toxic gas bubbles and compacts so roots wont be able to penetrated. the sand i ordered was Aqua-Terra but I think the color is "Natural white". Should I just throw it away and get tan or something?
 

Byron

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I read that it traps toxic gas bubbles and compacts so roots wont be able to penetrated.

Any substrate can (and in places will) become anaeobic, that is part of a healthy substrate. Plant roots are more than capable of growing through the sand, and during photosynthesis oxygen is released through the plants' roots. Provided the aquarium is properly maintained (fish load, feeding, water changes, etc) there will not be any issue with sand as opposed to gravel.

the sand i ordered was Aqua-Terra but I think the color is "Natural white". Should I just throw it away and get tan or something?

If it really is white, the problems are (a) not natural for any freshwate fish to have a white substrate, (b) white reflects light making it even worse for the fish (and the aqwuarist--I cannot look at tanks with white substrates, the poor fish are off-colour and it is hard on my eyes too. A darker substrate is better, natural buff sand is OK.
 

itiwhetu

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I like gravel for all my tanks as you get water movement through it, sand will only compact in the base of a tank. Plants also find it easier to grow roots through gravel.
 

AbbeysDad

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I jump into this thread late I know but thought I'd add my two cents worth....
The 'trouble' with gravel is that uneaten food and detritus all too easily gets down under, decays, and without routine gravel vacuuming, can become a 'nitrate factory'. Now you can routinely vacuum gravel, but it's extra maintenance work and doesn't leverage to substrate potential.
I like sand that is never disturbed. Organic waste doesn't get down under with sand and undisturbed, a population of beneficial bacteria and microbes flourish to aid in water purification. :)
 

Slaphppy7

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Gravel holds gunk, sand hold nutrients.
 

Oblio

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I jump into this thread late I know but thought I'd add my two cents worth....
The 'trouble' with gravel is that uneaten food and detritus all too easily gets down under, decays, and without routine gravel vacuuming, can become a 'nitrate factory'. Now you can routinely vacuum gravel, but it's extra maintenance work and doesn't leverage to substrate potential.
I like sand that is never disturbed. Organic waste doesn't get down under with sand and undisturbed, a population of beneficial bacteria and microbes flourish to aid in water purification. :)
I did a heavy vac of my 1/2* of my gravel Saturday and the BGA Cyano is already coming back on the clean gravel :( I also cleaned HOB sponges even though they were fairly clean. I really hope that moving to sand will help with the Cyano.

*- I ran out of water to deep clean the entire tank as my Python vacuum cap had an air leak that needed repair.
 

AbbeysDad

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I did a heavy vac of my 1/2* of my gravel Saturday and the BGA Cyano is already coming back on the clean gravel :( I also cleaned HOB sponges even though they were fairly clean. I really hope that moving to sand will help with the Cyano.

*- I ran out of water to deep clean the entire tank as my Python vacuum cap had an air leak that needed repair.
Cyano is a bacteria and you may need to treat with an anti-bacterial to resolve?
 

Oblio

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Cyano is a bacteria and you may need to treat with an anti-bacterial to resolve?
I hope to change out my gravel to sand for my Corys, is there a recommended work flow to do this AND take out the Cyano? It would be nice if I didn't have to treat the tank with fish in it, and since I need to remove them for the substrate change, this may knock out two issues at once.
 

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