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will gravel substrate help smelly water

Deanasue

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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.
Yep, I love my snails. Problem is that my goldfish eat snails just like they eat plants. MTS do survive if I only put adults in. I never have a snail population explosion in my goldfish tanks at least. Lol! My point is that with the gravel I can clean all the way to the bottom and really deep clean. I couldn’t do this with sand. Maybe I’m just a clean freak. It’s all a matter of what a person prefers.
 

seangee

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No arguments or opinions - just my own experience...
Some years ago I used to religiously vacuum my sand every single day; and at the weekends I removed all the furniture and did a proper job. At the time I had light sand (and MTS) in a mature tank. It was play sand so fairly fine. I felt that I had to do this because my tap water has 50ppm nitrates and that is what I was using, so I was completely paranoid about organics. I also used to stir it up weekly.

I mentioned it on this forum and several members suggested I was wasting my time and I should just leave it alone as the tank biology would take care of it. I was pretty sceptical but gave it a go. The first night I was appalled at how dirty it looked a few hours after feeding time, if you have a bristlenose on light substrate you will know what I mean. I came downstairs the next morning fearing the worst and my sand was absoultely spotless. Since then I have never cleaned my sand other than to remove dead leaves.

When I set up my newest tank about 5 months ago I did not add any MTS and used brand new sand. In the beginning there was visible mulm in the tank and it took 6-8 weeks for this to clear, which suggests that there is some assistance from bacteria in the sand bed which took a while to establish. (I did regularly test for nitrogen compounds during this time, but never detected any - not even nitrate as I use RO water and have plants).

Conversely when I set up my nano two years ago I decided, for asthetic reasons, to have a gravel "stream" running across the tank. After 6 months I got so frustrated at having to vacuum the gravel every week and then having to retrieve the shrimplets I sucked up (not to mention how mucky this got in a week), that I removed the gravel and let it fill with sand. Now I don't vacuum any of my tanks - ever. Not going to bore you with pics because there are plenty of pics of all 3 tanks on this site.

Its entirely your choice what you want to use and how you choose to maintain it, but I won't be using gravel again. Thankfully I have almost zero experience of health issues, and I have a hard time believing that its just down to blind luck.
 

Deanasue

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So it’s agreed. Some prefer sand and some prefer gravel. Fortunately, both are readily available so the choice is ours. :)
 
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finfayce

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Yep, I love my snails. Problem is that my goldfish eat snails just like they eat plants. MTS do survive if I only put adults in. I never have a snail population explosion in my goldfish tanks at least. Lol! My point is that with the gravel I can clean all the way to the bottom and really deep clean. I couldn’t do this with sand. Maybe I’m just a clean freak. It’s all a matter of what a person prefers.
thanks!
when i go to Petco next time (30 minutes away) :( i will check out gravel. online is hard for me to judge size. like the time i bought a hut for my gerbil and it was twice as big as his cage! my bad
 

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