36-gallon Re-build

LynnwoodFishDad

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I plan on rebuilding my 36-gallon tank from the bottom up. I’ve got a good heater, plenty of light, and a Seachem 75 that will get brand new media. I’ve heard sand hold on to much less bacteria and is an amazing substrate but I have no experience with it myself. What are the pros/cons?
 

qquake2k

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I've been using only sand for several years. I have heard that it can develop gas pockets, but I haven't had any problems whatsoever. The detritus sits on top of the sand, and makes it easier to vacuum up during water changes. It's also better for bottom feeders like cories. I've used swimming pool filter sand, and play sand. I found play sand to be a lot dirtier, and required much more rinsing. The last sand I bought was Quikrete commercial grade medium sand from Lowe's. It seemed to be fairly clean. I'm currently renewing a 46 gallon bowfront, and will be using black sand for the first time. I bought Black Diamond medium from Tractor Supply. I much prefer the look of sand over any gravel, natural or colored. The only bad thing I've found is diggers like cichlids can really tear it up.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/QUIKRETE-50-lb-Commercial-Grade-Medium-Sand/1054549

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/black-diamond-medium-blasting-abrasives?cm_vc=-10005
 

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qquake2k

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Cool. Did you have to rinse the sand and how much does it move during water changes?
Yes, you should rinse the sand. I didn't one time, and what a mess. It took a couple of days for the filter to clear the water. What I do is put about 15-20 lbs of sand in a clean 5 gallon bucket. Turn the hose on full blast, and stick it into the sand. It will soon become suspended in the water, then you can swirl the hose around. You should see a lot of dirt floating up. When the bucket is full, tip it to pour the water out. Then repeat. Do it until the water is fairly clear. Even with rinsing it, you might get some cloudiness in the water when you fill the tank. I haven't rinsed the black sand yet, so I don't know how dirty it will be.
 
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