Changing substrate? Pros? Cons?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Greener907, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Greener907Valued MemberMember

    I have a 55 gallon tank which has gravel in it..I'm thinking about changing it out and doing sand. I love the look, but I have a HOB filter..which i'm worried about getting clogged with sand. I could always do a low spot where my intake is, but I'm looking for some advice. Anyone done gravel to sand with a HOB filter? If so, how difficult is it to change the gravel out without taking all my fish out? Also, How much sand would I need to create a nice layer on the bottom? And would I still be able to use my 25ft water changer for cleaning or is this going to be too strong and suck up the sand?

    Any advise/input is appreciated!

  2. tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    Most sand will be dense enough so that your gravel vacs won't pick a ton of it up. You may loose a little (very little) each water change but not enough to worry about.

    I personally prefer sand over gravel because of the ease of cleaning and it's much easier on my bottom dwellers.

    Black diamond sand or pool filter sand are great cheap alternatives (both can be had for about 8 bucks for 50 lbs). if you go with the 20/40 grit for black diamond then the sand is large enough not to float around in the tank and get sucked up by the gravel vac or into your filter. If you are very worried you can always put a prefilter over your intake. I have prefilters on my canisters to keep excess food and plant junk from collecting inside my canister.

    As far as changing it over, I can't help you much there because when I did it I put all my fish in buckets and drained the tank. You will want to make sure you wash your substrate very well before you put it in your tank as these sands can be very dusty. Try not to run your filter for a few hours in the tank after you put your new substrate in as it may clog your filters.
  3. maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    It's easy if you do a little advanced planning.

    Take the fish out. At least as many as you can catch without majorly stressing them out. Put them in a bucket of tank water. If possible, hang HOB on bucket to keep media wet and aerate fish.

    Take your hardscape and plants out. Put them in another bucket of water.

    Remove all but a couple of inches of water (Yes, this should have been step One.)

    Use a plastic cup or other scoop of your choice to remove gravel.

    Replace with washed sand.

    Rescape, adding water as desired to help with planting.

    Refill tank.

    Start filter.

    Add back fish.
  4. Frogtank1Valued MemberMember

    Here's a cool option, it has a larger grain and its great for planting,

  5. Greener907Valued MemberMember

    That one looks awesome! I'd like to do something like that..

    So it is possible, I just need to let my SRT settle a bit, and find the sand I want then I should be able to do it :)
  6. bigCEENew MemberMember

    Do you have plans to add (or currently have) plants? I'm pretty biased coming from 15 or so years of saltwater fish, inverts, corals, etc., before going back to a planted fw tank, but I wouldn't trade it aesthetically and for providing a more natural substrate for your tank inhabitants. You can also do a mixture of gravel and sand depending on colors and what not.
  7. Greener907Valued MemberMember

    I do currently have plants..but i'm not opposed to doing more of a rocky landscape

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