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Substrate and quartz Crystal gravel

Discussion in 'Welcome: Introduce Yourself & Learn More About TFF' started by Richblue, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Hi all new to the forum but glad to be on board very much into my tropical fish had when I was young started off with a plain old tank with angels and tetra etc and from there had a full blown fish room I used to breed angels and discus and had good results in them days used bare bottom tanks with ro water etc very awarding but took up must off my time miss them days long gone now.What with family ect .My meaning is I am going to treat myself to a new fluval roma 240,and plan to set up a nice tetra,Cory tank.Been reading up on substrate as I want a planted tank want to stay with gravel but keeping croys alarm bells were ringing .So I have found a product that is friendly to corys but is still gravel called quartz Crystal looks good and good reviews.So my plan for the 4ft tank would be 2x10kg of tetra eco complete capped with 3x10kg off quartz Crystal.Has anybody on the forum used this or done the same or used something else ? Would this be the right amount to buy? Thanks to all and happy tropical days
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    If you intend cories, use sand. It really does make a difference to the fish. Plants also grow better (or just as good, depending) in sand as gravel; usually better because it is more natural.

    So-called plant substrates are in my view (and many others) a complete waste of money. I tried Fllourite once, which is compositionally much the same as Eco-Complete, and after two years I tore the tank down and dumped out the EC into the back rubbish dump. The plants grew no better, and the cories had to be removed due to the roughness of the substrate. Having a layer of sand over EC is no better with fish that like (and need) to "burrow" into the substrate.

    I changed to sand in my tanks some six or seven years ago and have never regretted it. You can use play sand; this is an ideal substrate as it is the most highly refined (no roughness) of the industrial sands, it is natural in appearance, and it is perfectly safe for all substrate fish, and as I said plants grow very well in it.

    And, welcome to TFF. :hi:
     
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  3. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Agree with Byron. You don't say where you are but for buff colored sand in the UK Argos play sand is (cough) dirt cheap and does a good job. Its what I use in my community tank which has mostly corys and tetra.
     
  4. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    HI and thanks for your reply maybe have to do so more reading at the end off the day I want what is best for the fish and not for myself so would you just use sand or would you uze some kind off substrate and use the sand to cap it thanks only I have seen many people do it this way with great plant growth..And the quartz Crystal is supposed to be perfect croys. But I know most people swear by the sand 50/50 I think
     
  5. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Hi Thanks for the reply great to get some info just what I need do it once and do it right and yes I am in the uk
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    We need a brief explanation of "planted" tank methods. The sand cap over some form of "plant" substrate is perhaps fine for an aquatic garden where the plants are what matters (often no fish in such tanks) and there will be mega light and diffused CO2 and daily nutrient fertilizing. From that high-tech end we can move all the way down (or up depending how you view it!) to the low tech where the fish are what matters and plants are there for nice aesthetics plus their benefit to water quality. The latter are frequently termed natural planted tanks, because they do not add CO2, they have less intense light (light does negatively impact fish so this is important) and fewer or less fertilizers are needed. I have the latter, and some photos of a few of my tanks from recent months may illustrate. These tanks all have what the fish need, and the plants have to make do or get tossed.

    I never use more than one substrate material in a tank; two different materials will mix in time (if the tank is healthy and has a normal thermal water movement) and many substrate fish do dig so it can be a real mess. And harmful to fish, depending upon the underlying material.

    On the cories...they need sand. There is no way around this; I have had cories over fine gravel and after switching to sand on the advice of Heiko Bleher I never regretted; I can't explain it, but there is no doubt in my mind that the cories do prefer this. Their upending themselves in the sand and squirting it out through their gills is a natural feeding method they use and you won't see this with gravel because it would damage the gill filaments. Play sand is also smooth so it does not damage the softer underbelly of fish.

    The plant substrates are a waste of money and promoted by those who sell them trying to convince us they are necessary. They are not. Liquid fertilizer is still needed (some nutrients are only taken up by leaves from the water) and substrate tabs can provide a boost for larger plants like swords. See my tanks.
     

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  7. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Hi a great insight just what I needed brief and too the point very positive and thank you for your time going to go down the sand route ,But which one loads out there do I get a black sand ,white sand or leave it natural what best brings the colours out in those fish .I must admit your sand in your tanks look A1 and your plants look stunning if you don't mind me asking what sand is it .Just to mention I will be going down the co2 road for my plants. Iam also looking into the tetra side off things there colours are stunning on these fish, thanks again for your post and pictures .I will be ordering my tank and bits this week might well do a picture post from start .My wife has only told me I can have the one tank she remembers my fish room but we will see how that goes.
     
  8. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Which sand play sand,pool sand, national geo it goes on and on I have heard its easier when it comes to cleaning geo national sand as it is heavier and better for filters, pool sand is a lot lighter don't know about plays sand any advise will croys get on with all off them .Never had this trouble with a bare bottom tank. All new to me.
     
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Sand. When it comes to colour, avoid any white sand. I know some people use it (pool filter sand is usually white) but it is detrimental to fish. No fish we keep in aquaria lives over a white substrate and for good reason--nature didn't intend it so she didn't provide them. Fish over a white substrate are having to deal with light reflected up which is unnatural and their colouration will be paler as they attempt to somehow adjust to it. A dark tone is fine. I tried black once but did not like it; first, under the tank lighting it was dark grey not black which didn't matter, but every little bit of detrtitus was very obvious, something I have never seen with sand or fine gravel composed of a mix of neutral/dark tones.

    Type of sand. Avoid industrial sands except for play sand, because they are rough (they bind better). Play sand is highly refined and safe for fish tanks. I have the dark grey mix locally, and there is a beige mix I believe, either is fine. Aquarium sands in a dark tone are OK, but very expensive.

    As for cleaning, this is not generally necessary. Provided the depth is not great (I tend to have 2 inches spread evenly with grading to more in the back though over time this evens out again with natural water movement) and the fish load is not beyond the aquarium's capability to support, you can leave the substrate alone. It is the single most important part of an aquarium; the host of various types of bacteria far beyond what will live in a filter is key to a healthy system.
     
  10. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Thanks again for your input and time what a great forum and members Iam thinking more and more with play sand .Very simple and very cheap little bit more research I think before going ahead as they say Rome was not built in a day thanks again for all your input and time.
     
  11. Richblue

    Richblue New Member

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    Hi all looking along the lines off play sand for my corys but would anybody else use any other brand of sand what to go for the natural look not intrested in black or white sands any input would be great and photos would be a plus thanks all
     
  12. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Argos play sand
    20180815_210647.jpg

    and this one is "black" Limpopo sand from SwellUK
    20180509_234316.jpg

    Note that it is not the Unipac one (which I dd not like).
     
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  13. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    I have B D Trading sand in my main tank http://aquariumsand.co.uk/ Not many places sell it but I came across it in one shop and decided to replace my gravel with it several years ago. The big shops (Pets@Home and Maidenhead Aquatics) don't sell it, I found it in a local LFS.
     

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