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Thread: Sand substrate?

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    Silver Member Tanja's Avatar
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    Default Sand substrate?

    I'm doing an overhaul in my discus tank and was thinking about sand for substrate. Curious if anybody here has it and how do you maintain it? I'm a bit concerned about the anaerobic bacteria buildup in sand though I prefer the way it looks.

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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    I've used pool filter sand for years and it's great. It's just course enough to not get sucked up too easily by python gravel vac. If you're worried about anaerobic issues just keep the depth under an inch. Although, try as I might, I've never actually known of documented cases of fish kills in tanks due to this. I believe any gas would just bubble to the surface and release, much as any air bubble does.

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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    If the sand isn't too fine you shouldn't have a problem. Pool filter sand or estes' stony river sand (a little coarser, more expensive) work well. The estes' sand doesn't compact or cause brown algae bloom. If you vacuum it or have plants I can't imagine a scenario of getting an anaerobic bacteria bloom.

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    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    81dSNx842LL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
    I use this stuff. It is reasonably coarse and vacuum's well without losing tons each cleaning, and it has a really nice tan/white coloration and looks very natural. It is pre-washed and honestly only needed 2-3 rinses before being very clean & ready for use. Even after being in my tank for a month it is light & lose and has not packed down at all.

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    Silver Member Tanja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    Thank you everyone! I just ordered my sand.

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    Silver Member Tanja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    Quote Originally Posted by danotaylor View Post
    81dSNx842LL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
    I use this stuff. It is reasonably coarse and vacuum's well without losing tons each cleaning, and it has a really nice tan/white coloration and looks very natural. It is pre-washed and honestly only needed 2-3 rinses before being very clean & ready for use. Even after being in my tank for a month it is light & lose and has not packed down at all.
    How do you maintain your sand? Do you gravel vacuum or just siphon on top of it etc.? And how often do you vacuum it? I'm just getting into the sand it's been in my tank for a few weeks now. Thanks!

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    Registered Member + MVP danotaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    I vacuum mine weekly. I have a 24" vacuum so I don't lose anything to speak of. The grains on this particular brand are #20 so they don't float around like fine sand.

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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    Just hover your vacuum tool 3/4" - 1" over the sand and you'll collect any & all debris sitting on top of the sand. If some sand also gets partly siphoned up into the vacuum tube while you're vacuuming, don't worry about it - #20 PFS will simply rise about an inch or so up into the tube, & because of its weight & density, it will then tumble right back down & fall out of the vacuum - it won't get siphoned out.

    If you do a wc every day or every 2nd day, vacuum any wastes at the same time (i.e. just before you do the wc) - it only takes a couple of minutes, and your sand will be nice & clean all the time.

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    Silver Member Tanja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    Quote Originally Posted by danotaylor View Post
    I vacuum mine weekly. I have a 24" vacuum so I don't lose anything to speak of. The grains on this particular brand are #20 so they don't float around like fine sand.
    I know! This sand is just heavy enough that it doesn't even get sucked into my filter that is a fluval fx4 and very powerful. I was surprised to find that vacuuming sand is indeed possible. And you haven't had any issues with anaerobic air bubbles either? Thanks!!

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    Silver Member Tanja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sand substrate?

    Quote Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
    Just hover your vacuum tool 3/4" - 1" over the sand and you'll collect any & all debris sitting on top of the sand. If some sand also gets partly siphoned up into the vacuum tube while you're vacuuming, don't worry about it - #20 PFS will simply rise about an inch or so up into the tube, & because of its weight & density, it will then tumble right back down & fall out of the vacuum - it won't get siphoned out.

    If you do a wc every day or every 2nd day, vacuum any wastes at the same time (i.e. just before you do the wc) - it only takes a couple of minutes, and your sand will be nice & clean all the time.
    Sounds good! Thank you!!

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