55 gallon: gravel-sand Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by Quinn_Lamb98, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    hi everyone,
    my father asked what i want for christmas and my reply was filters, fish (lol), plants, video camera, and sand (almost everything i want is to do with fish including the video camera, to take vids of my fish, lol). his reply was ''SAND?''.
    i have been in the hobby for little over a year and i have only used gravel. i would love to switch my 55 gallon and possibly my 10 gallon into a sand substrate. i am aiming for pool filter sand as i have read that it is one of the more favored sands that look the most natural. the tanks demensions for the 55 gallon are 48LX12WX21H and the 10 gallon is a standered 10 gallon i think. i currently have for bottome dwellers- 1 red tailed shark, 4 yoyo loachs, 1 coolie loach, and 1 cory cat. yes i know the cory and the coolie need to be in groups but they were a surprise fish from my mom, so, what could i do and in the 10 gallon i have none.
    anyways, my questions are- how deep should it be, are the bottom dwellers enough to stir up the sand enough to keep the build-up of gasses down, could i get some more bottom dwellers (ie)cory cats), and anything else you guys and gals may think of that i should know.

  2. fishaddictionValued MemberMember

    You could get a few more corys depending on the size the only issue with sand is the hassel of getting all the gravel out and and then pouring in the sand (I just today said to my mother that I wanted to make the switch from gravel to sand) if your willing to do it then your fine. Now the depth of the sand 3 to 4 in. If you want but as long as its deep enough to burrow its fine. Finally will the sand keep the build up of gasses down ya it should. :)

  3. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    The loaches digging should help you reduce gas buildup. Besides that, stir it around just before your weekly water change. It'll bring the yucky stuff to the surface and release any gases at the same time. I would say 3in of sand, tops.

    Yes, you can definitely get more cories. I don't know much about coolies (kuhlis) but the cories won't bother anyone.

  4. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Pool filter sand comes in 50 lb bags - you'll need more than one to do both, so you need 2. There's no real set amount you need, though if you want live plants you should have more for planting. I like to have it higher than the trim of the tank, so that I can see it. In some places it's as high as 3-3.5 inches, and in others only 2.

    You never hear about people switching from sand to gravel.

    Just get some trumpet snails and you'll never have to worry about the sand.

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  5. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    i hope you meen 50 pounds, lol. i completely blanked when i was writing my first post . i also have a dragon goby in the 55, he should stir it up even more, ie)sifts sand looking for food). when i asked if i could add more bottom dwellers, i ment without crowding the bottom. looks like i am definitely going for the sand.
  6. plecodragonWell Known MemberMember

    Very important-Turn off your filter(s) if you are playing with the sand, either putting it in or stirring it up. If you don't you can kill your filter. Learn from my mistake.
    In most of my tanks I have play sand. (I couldn't find any pool filter sand in my area) You just have to rinse, rinse, and rinse again. Once clear it is ready to use. If you do get pool filter sand still rinse it.
    As for removing the gravel do a very good gravel vac before you even think of removing it-lots of gunk is in the gravel you don't want in the water.
    Then using a large net just scoop the gravel out until most or all the gravel is out-some can remain as the sand will cover some stray gravel.
    Try not to go more then 3" as gas can form, around that depth you can have plants with root tabs, my sand is only around 1.5 " but most of my plants are tied, thou I do have a few sags and crypts planted.
    With sand you can also aquascape, hills, valleys not just flat tank bottom.
    To help with the possible gas buildup you can stir the sand when doing tank maintenance(keep your siphon at a 45 degree angle and that helps you not suck up your sand, works for me) Gunk also tends to stay on top of the sand so it is easier to suck up.
    Malaysian Trumpet snails would be a good addition to your tank as they burrow in the sand and eat any left over food stuck in the sand.
    Your cory should have friends, so think about getting somemore eventually. Not sure of your stock list numbers.
    Good luck.
  7. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Dragon gobies have to be acclimated to brackish water as they mature, if I'm not mistaken.

    I did switch from sand to gravel in my 50, but only because I wanted to dirt it, so I couldn't include digging fish or swirl the sand myself.
  8. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    yeah, I meant lbs.

    Fish don't really disturb more than the first half inch of sand, but the snails spend the day in it. At night they come out. One of my favorite things about having them is seeing the snail trails in the morning. Before the bottom dwellers get to work, you can see the trails in the sand where they have retreated for the day.

    Some people feel that having a deep sand bed allows for complete denitrification, meaning the conversion of nitrate into nitrogen. They would say a 3 inch minimum.

    As far as gas pockets go - every one of my tanks have sand and I NEVER stir them. Ever. I don't really believe in them - If I got a dollar for every time I saw someone warn of gas pockets, and paid out 1,000 every time gas pockets killed someone's fish, I'd be well in the black. Whether or not they can kill your fish, it's not a thread I've ever seen and I've seen A LOT of threads.

    Pool filter sand is pretty heavy and does not get kicked up by the fish. Sand can really foul up a filter - it can be the bane of an HOBs existence. However, canisters are impervious to sand. Sand will collect at the lowest point - for a canister that's the bottom of the filter. For an HOB, that's the motor.

    Yeah, dirt is all the rage now ;)
  9. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Not surprised that it is. It works.
    Soo....should I worry about poking my dirt, with that in mind?
  10. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I know nothing about dirt. I'd be afraid disturbing it will foul the water.
  11. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I did, and it didn't.
  12. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    You have gravel on top of it? Is the dirt for the plants?
  13. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    That is correct. The gravel is a cap to keep it from floating up and making a mess.
  14. oscarsbudWell Known MemberMember

    I have pool filter sand in my 75 gallon tank and play sand and gravel both in the 150. I don't think I have ever stirred the sand in the 75 and only poke the sand occasionally in the other because it is over dirt and I get occasional air bubbles. And I have poked a spot and watch a cory go riding up when the bubble pops in the spot where he was sitting. Doesn't seem to bother them in the least. They usually come right back down to the same spot - maybe looking for another ride.

    The pool filter sand is whiter and has a more "beachy" look, while the play sand is a little darker and, to me anyway, more natural looking. I like both. I have stockings over the intakes of the HOB filters to prevent sand from going up into the intakes.
  15. psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Depends if you're keeping live plants or not. If not, an inch to 1/2 inch is plenty of sand. If planted then go for 2 inches or more.

    My new 135g will be basically a dusting to an inch. My fish dig it up in piles anyways and I end up with 5 inch hills. LOL.

    I used one 50lb bag for the 40g planted, 1" capped over dirt.
  16. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    i am hoping to keep live plants but i think i most deffinitally do not have a green thumb. the only plants i can seem to grow is hornwort, flame moss, and dwarf bacopa. i do have an amazon sword in the 55 but that is basically it for live. if i do get sand i think this is what i will do- turn off the heaters (so they have a chanse to cool down before the water is removed), wash the sand (all of it), bag the fish, turn off the filters, do a really good gravel vac, remove all the gravel, siphon some more to get any of the heavy stuff that is still at the bottom, put the sand in, refill the tank, turn on the heaters, put the decoration were i want, turn on the filters (if not to much sand is kicked up), put the fish back, and enjoy. i think i will bring the layer of sand up to 2 inches just to give any future plants some depth and so that the goby, loaches, and cories have a nice layer of sand to play in. do you think i should just put the fish in bags or in a bucket? i only will have one 5 gallon bucket to spare and i do not think that all the fish will fit nicely in it for any number of time. where as i can use multiple bags (saved over the year i have been getting them) and keep them in the tank while i do all of this.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  17. psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Sounds like you have it all figured out. Have fun with the re-scape!
  18. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    i was up till 2 last night researching how people have done it and the quickest easiest way to do it.
  19. TheFishAddictValued MemberMember

    Also, may I suggest if you plan on doing live plants, before putting the sand in get a substrate efiicent for the plants to give them nuitrients. Such as dirting the tank, or ADA aquasoil. If you do live plants it can help in the long run!
  20. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Just put the fish in a bucket. It shouldn't take you more than 2 hours, assuming you wash the sand before you start. They'll be fine.

    If you only have one bucket, I suggest getting a second, since you will need a bucket to wash the sand with.

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