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will gravel substrate help smelly water

Naughts

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thank you, but i’m confused. the big pieces of substrate cause problems and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live. so what size is ideal?
I think @Byron is saying more beneficial bacteria live on small grains?
 

ShinySideUp

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These big pieces of substrate only serve to act as traps for debris. Any bottom feeders can't get to food in between the pieces and none of the fish are big or strong enough to shift the pieces either. The maximum size substrate you should have is pea gravel, personally I have used fine sand for years but for the general hobbyist I would go for the gravel option. Never replace your (sponge) filter material unless it's falling apart, never try to reuse carbon, in fact, never use carbon unless there are medications you need to get rid of. Keeping fish alive and in good condition requires a steep learning curve, if your water smells you can be assured that you are doing something very wrong. Take the lid off my tank and you can smell nothing and all I use is a sand substrate and in the filter, large pieces of foam, the coarseness of which changes from large to small as the water progresses through. Weekly water changes of 50% of the total -- don't do this ten percent thing unless you do it every day, ten percent a week is useless and pointless. Always wash your filter material in tank water, never under the tap. I can't rant any more.
 
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finfayce

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I think @Byron is saying more beneficial bacteria live on small grains?
oh that makes sense. thanks for pointing out a different way to look at it. i will get substrate gravel for my tank. thank you.
 
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finfayce

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These big pieces of substrate only serve to act as traps for debris. Any bottom feeders can't get to food in between the pieces and none of the fish are big or strong enough to shift the pieces either. The maximum size substrate you should have is pea gravel, personally I have used fine sand for years but for the general hobbyist I would go for the gravel option. Never replace your (sponge) filter material unless it's falling apart, never try to reuse carbon, in fact, never use carbon unless there are medications you need to get rid of. Keeping fish alive and in good condition requires a steep learning curve, if your water smells you can be assured that you are doing something very wrong. Take the lid off my tank and you can smell nothing and all I use is a sand substrate and in the filter, large pieces of foam, the coarseness of which changes from large to small as the water progresses through. Weekly water changes of 50% of the total -- don't do this ten percent thing unless you do it every day, ten percent a week is useless and pointless. Always wash your filter material in tank water, never under the tap. I can't rant any more.
my posts are to seek help for things i’m not sure of. not to cause “rants”
obviously i am doing something wrong - hence the request for civil replies
 
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finfayce

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These big pieces of substrate only serve to act as traps for debris. Any bottom feeders can't get to food in between the pieces and none of the fish are big or strong enough to shift the pieces either. The maximum size substrate you should have is pea gravel, personally I have used fine sand for years but for the general hobbyist I would go for the gravel option. Never replace your (sponge) filter material unless it's falling apart, never try to reuse carbon, in fact, never use carbon unless there are medications you need to get rid of. Keeping fish alive and in good condition requires a steep learning curve, if your water smells you can be assured that you are doing something very wrong. Take the lid off my tank and you can smell nothing and all I use is a sand substrate and in the filter, large pieces of foam, the coarseness of which changes from large to small as the water progresses through. Weekly water changes of 50% of the total -- don't do this ten percent thing unless you do it every day, ten percent a week is useless and pointless. Always wash your filter material in tank water, never under the tap. I can't rant any more.
also i don’t do 10% water changes. i have had success with aquariums for 14 years until now. now i am so glad to have Helpful advice from the forum.
sorry my problem apparently stressed you.
 

ShinySideUp

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Sorry, I wasn't ranting at you, I just got on my high horse having, in the past, come across people who despite years of losing fish still stick to this '10% rule'. My advice is sound but I got carried away towards the end. Again, my ranting was not aimed at you, my apologies.
 
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finfayce

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Sorry, I wasn't ranting at you, I just got on my high horse having, in the past, come across people who despite years of losing fish still stick to this '10% rule'. My advice is sound but I got carried away towards the end. Again, my ranting was not aimed at you, my apologies.
no problem there are things that bug me sometimes. i understand.
 

Deanasue

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Substrate in a fish tank musty be small-grained, and pea gravel is as large as you want to have it. Sand works very well, but fine gravel up to pea gravel can work, depending upon the fish. Some fish like substrate feeders need sand.

Having larger-grain substrate means that bits of food can get down and cause problems because it takes longer for the various bacteria to do their work. This is unhealthy for fish. Every particle of sand or gravel is a surface for bacteria and the smaller the grains the more bacteria can live there.
Interesting info. Thanks, @Byron. I have a couple of tanks with larger pebbles. Will replace them with smaller gravel. Always something to learn!
 

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The only time I’ve had stinky water was with sand and apparently I was cleaning it incorrectly which caused the issue. I am using only gravel for now.
 

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I’m not sure that this is going to come across well enough to get a clear answer so hold on to your butts for a second please. I find that sand Keeps fish waist fully visible allowing for more efficient vacuuming. But then it seems like the tank needs constant vacuuming to stay clear of the debris. While Pea gravel allows for such waist to go unseen but creates issue when trying to effectively vacuum. So is there a happy medium or would I need to soft pea gravel for the smallest stones (seems like a crap ton of work) I guess I’m asking if there is a “large” grain sand or a “micro” gravel option?
 

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I like the gravel because I can clean all the way to the bottom. I get a load of poop out of my goldies tank. Maybe because I use a Python, but I never understand people saying they can’t get down deep in the gravel. I hit bottom.
 

Velatelen

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I like the gravel because I can clean all the way to the bottom. I get a load of poop out of my goldies tank. Maybe because I use a Python, but I never understand people saying they can’t get down deep in the gravel. I hit bottom.
I agree when you vacuum you gotta just go for it. If you are too concerned with stirring it up your not going to get to it.
 

Byron

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I’m not sure that this is going to come across well enough to get a clear answer so hold on to your butts for a second please. I find that sand Keeps fish waist fully visible allowing for more efficient vacuuming. But then it seems like the tank needs constant vacuuming to stay clear of the debris. While Pea gravel allows for such waist to go unseen but creates issue when trying to effectively vacuum. So is there a happy medium or would I need to soft pea gravel for the smallest stones (seems like a crap ton of work) I guess I’m asking if there is a “large” grain sand or a “micro” gravel option?
The fish are behind this [not sure if that is a pun or not...but not meant to be!]. I have play sand in my tanks, and I never see anything on it but when I do the water change each week I can certainly stir stuff up, but it is more a cloud the particles are so small. I have smallish fish. If I had large fish I am sure I would see it. Even in my cory tank with 40 average-sized cories their continual sifting through the upper sand never stirs up particles larger than what could only be described as a slight cloudiness.

Snails help with this, because they eat all the organics (fish excrement especially) which breaks it down faster so the bacteria can handle it quicker. I have dozens if not hundreds of pond snails in my tannks, and undooubtedly that makes a difference too.
 

PheonixKingZ

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I like the gravel because I can clean all the way to the bottom. I get a load of poop out of my goldies tank. Maybe because I use a Python, but I never understand people saying they can’t get down deep in the gravel. I hit bottom.
When I had gravel in my tanks, I got a whole lotta poop out of there. I also hit the bottom whenever I cleaned. I switched to sand about a year ago and I’ve never gone back. You can aquascape it much easier and it looks more natural IMO.
 

PheonixKingZ

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I have play sand in my tanks, and I never see anything on it but when I do the water change each week I can certainly stir stuff up, but it is more a cloud the particles are so small. I have smallish fish.
Same. I use play sand as well. I see no need to get this super expensive FLUVAL sand that costs $20 for 5 pounds.
 

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