Changing substrate during a cycle?

  • #1
This is a 2 part question...

After reading a fair amount of posts about substrate, i've decided I finally hate my gravel enough to do something about it. I want to switch to sand. So my first question is, would something like this product work, after a heavy washing, and i've read maybe even baking it on an old cookie sheet to get rid of other bacteria/eggs/worms. Is baking needed or just overkill?

Second part...
My tank is still in the beginning stages of cycling, still have around 5ppm ammonia, and 0 nitrites. Should I do the switch to sand now, or after the cycle? And is switching it now going to delay the cycle?

Have I mentioned it really hate my gravel, and waiting for my tank to cycle. Every night i'm on here reading posts about fish i'd like top get, or things to do to my tank, and its killing me!
  • #2
I've tried a few brands of play sand and threw them all out. IME pool filter sand is the best. I've never baked the sand.....Just wash it really, really, REALLY REALLY well. And then wash it again.

Switching now is not going to delay the cycle at all, except that you'll have to remove some of the water to make the switch. You just have to remove enough so that you don't have to worry about water splashing out. You can make the switch with the water still in the tank, though.

Yes, fish keeping will teach you patience. The most important thing is to go slow. It should really take several months to a year to stock the tank. That's not something we often talk about when we give stocking advice, but it's very important because slow is relative.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Haha, i'm in the wrong hobby then, growing up I built all my model cars and planes without painting them first.... That just took too long, I wanted to see progress!

But I guess I'll have to look around for some sand, and finish the renovations to the kitchen while I wait...

What was wrong with the play sand that made you throw it out?
What is different about the pool filter sand?
  • #4
I had unused play sand from the days when my daughter was very young and had a sand box. It was Quikrete brand. LOVE it!! Shades of brown, some larger pieces to make it look more natural.

This past year, while setting up a new tank, I purchased a couple bags. This sand was absolutely horrid. Ugly. Monotone grey. Ugly. Super fine. Easily compacted. Ugly. Even smelled after a couple of weeks with no fish in the tank. Did I mention ugly? Needless to say, that sand was quickly tossed out. Not able to find what I was looking for, I ended up purchasing earth toned pea gravel. It looks quite nice in the tank. I just need more of it.

Pool filter sand does not compact easily and has a very nice color to it. And, doesn't cost too much either. Another option would be to go to your local masonry business. You may find something that would work nicely in your tank.
  • #5
I just purchases a few bags of pool filter sand and it ran me $11 for one bag which is 0.5 cu.ft (50 lbs). I like how it is not as fine of a grain but not as big as gravel. Also very reasonable especially when in my case and having to set up a 135 gal.
  • #6
it's the perfect grain size, and the fact that it's uniform in size prevents it from compacting
  • #7
I did this once and it turned out bad
  • #8
But good luck u should do fine

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