Gravel to sand change?

swordgecko

hey guys I have a 10 gallon tank that I want to put sand in. I have play sand from lowes and I wanted to put it in there. Is is possable that I could take out the gravel and just put the sand in. And if so how would I do it?
x
 

bassbonediva

Yes, it is possible. Make sure you wash the play sand EXTREMELY well before using it. I washed mine for an hour at least.

Do a partial (50% or so) water change. Before putting your new water in, scoop out the gravel. After all the gravel is out, add the sand VERY carefully (I usually use my hand and kind of set it on the bottom of the tank) so it doesn't billow up. I would wait a day and then do another small WC (only about 10%, just enough to vac the new sand) to catch any particles you may have missed.
 

swordgecko

ok I might do that then since I do like sand instead of gravel but I might try it on a smaller tank first.
 

bassbonediva

First tank I put sand in was my 55gal. I did pea gravel on the sides and sand down the middle. I put the gravel in first and then packed the sand in between so I had minimal seepage (this was when I was first setting up the tank, though, so that helped).
 

Daac

That sounds like a good Idea. You also might be able to put your fish in another tank and then empty out that tank and put the sand in but that would be a lot of work.
 

swordgecko

ya but emptying it would lose bacteria which could be good and bad. I am going to try to change gravel from sand some time this week now!
 

bassbonediva

Most of your bacteria lives on your filter media, so you won't be losing *that* much of your bacteria...which you'd lose anyway by putting the new substrate in there. So.....I say if you have the extra tank, do it the way Daac suggested and just transfer the filter from this tank to the other one while you work on the 10gal.
 

swordgecko

ok I guess I could do that how long will it take for the sand to settle do you know?
 

Daac

It wouldn't really need to settle down that much if you put like a plate over the sand where you are pouring the water back in.
 

macifire

I have aquarium sand in my 20 gal. Much easier to maintain. Waste doesn't penetrate down into the substrate as it does with gravel so a surface vacuum is all that's needed. However be sure to lightly churn the sand every month or so to release gas pockets that will develop. I believe this happens moreso with sand than gravel or beads.
 

macifire

ok I guess I could do that how long will it take for the sand to settle do you know?

You can reduce settling time and cloudiness by rinsing and agitating the sand in a bucket, pouring out the finest particles carefully. Do this and you should have clear water within the hour.
 

swordgecko

ok I'm wanting to do this now but still a little cautious. Because don't u need to stir up your sand once in a while? and also I have heard to get some snail but I noticed that it was a saltwater snail. I think its Neriate but its saltwater so would you still need to stir ur sand with a sand snail?
 

Fitz

Yes you need to stir the sand like once a month or something. I think the snail they're talking about is the Malaysian Trumpet Snail. You could get one of these, but I don't think they sell them in most stores. For me I don't need a snail because my goldfish picks up the sand and spits it back out. And that helps, but I still do it like once a month.
 

swordgecko

Ok, ya that's the correct name of the snail couldent think of it. Do you think if I do put sand in that I could ask one of my LFS to order one or 2 for me?
 

Flufeeh

HI FL.

I'm going to be converting my 20 gallon to sand tomorrow. It's black tahitian moon sand. How would I go about doing this? There are only 7 harlequins in the tank atm.

I was thinking maybe put the harlequins in the bucket that I change water with. Drain out almost all of the water then put the gravel in pantyhose. I pour the whole bag of sand in and quickly fill the tank up again so my BB don't die in the filter. Does this sound ok?
 

Nick G

HI Flufeeh. That sounds like an ok plan. Be sure to thoroughly wash the sand before adding it to your tank though.
 

Parlay

I've never converted a tank to sand, but I do use it as a substrate. The one thing that I can advise is that when you put the sand in the tank and fill it you're gonna really cloud the water. I personally would be very hesitant to "quickly" put the fish in the sandy water without letting it settle. Washing the sand will help to prevent some clouding, but not all of it.
I'm not sure about any other issues, I'd wait for others to post.
 

ariolex

+1 to Nick

Apparently, Thaitian Moon Sand requires to be rinsed over and over again.
 

iloveengl

I've converted all my tanks from gravel, and your plan sounds good - basically what I did for mine. I did use an extra bucket to keep my decor and filter media wet in old tank water.

Even well washed sand will indeed take some time to settle. I let mine settle for nearly an hour before I turned the filter back on and added everyone. It won't starve in that amount of time; though if you're concerned, you can set the filter media in the bucket with the fish.
 

KewtyPatootie

I can tell you from experience that when I converted from gravel to sand, I had to rinse the sand many many times until the water was clear. Washing a few times and dumping it in the tank is a bad idea, as I have done that, and I just ended up having to go through the trouble of trying to clean the sand in the tank.
 

Flufeeh

Thanks for the fast replies guys. I'll keep all of this in mind tomorrow.
 

supernaut06

After you add the sand and before you add the rest of the water, I'd put in a dish or a small tupperware container and pour the rest of the water on to that (slowly). That way you end up displacing a lot less sand while you fill your tank up. That's what I did with my tank and It was really really clear as soon as I was done adding water.
 

Flufeeh

Done. Letting the temperature settle down atm and will be adding my harlequins in.
 

apple429

Hey guys... I'm thinking on putting sand in my 20 gallon tall tank, here is my gameplan:

I will add sand to about 1/4 of the tank, and wait one to two weeks

Then I will do a good water change, gravel vaccuming, take the gravel out, and replace with the "cycled" sand...

I will repeat until the tank is done... thoughts???
If it doesn't sound like a good idea, I will just add about an inch od sand on top of the gravel...
 

Jaysee

Just do it all at once

You can't put sand on top of gravel - it will fall through.

Switching out the substrate is not a big deal. There are countless threads on the matter that I'm sure you will find helpful.
 

Akari_32

I was thinking the same thing as Jaysee. What I did was did a bit of a water change, net all he gravel out, and put in the sand as I rinsed it (by the net full 'cause I live in a dorm LOL). After all the sand was in, I replanted the tank, filled it back up, and put my fish and frogs back in.
 

Jaysee

who told you to use a net to remove the gravel?

I wouldn't suggest using a net to move the sand without a plate or something to hold underneath it and rest it on during transit.
 

Akari_32

I was being ingenuitive lol Its what I had, so its what I used! The sand I bought (PetCo brand) is actually pretty large grained, and I used a bowl to catch any drippings. Beside that, the tank is only 3 ft away from the sink
 

angelfish220

If you replace your filter cartridges I wouldn't replace the cartridge and the gravel around the same time, let the cartridge age a bit first. When I switched I did a REALLY good vacuum session first that way the water wasn't fouled up too much...
 

Jaysee

I thought I told you to oh well
 

apple429

Thanks guys... I will let you know how it goes!!
 

apple429

So I just mathed out how much sand I need, and a need a little more... would the cycle still be stable with only an inch or so of cycled sand?
 

Jaysee

You should have enough bacteria in your filter to not worry about the substrate. Where did you get cycled sand from?
 

apple429

I have three inches of sand in my ten gallon, and I don't like it (the look of the sand in a small tank)... plus my 20 gallon is kind of my "show" tank, and I think it would look better.. it is my favorite one, so I want to swap substrates, and also add a little more gravel to my other tanks... Plus when I get my 55 gallon tank, my 10 gallon will turn into a QT tank, so I want to be able to just gravel vac, for faster maint. and then my 20 gallon will turn into a breeding tank (specifically for the cories) so I want the sand substrate to encourage breeding.
 

Jaysee

Okay I get it. Some sands come with "bacteria" already in them - all you have to do is put it in a tank and WHAM, you have a cycled tank. I've not tried to see if it works - I thoroughly wash the sand regardless.

Sounds like a good plan
 

apple429

ya.. I don't like that "precycled" sand... I get the petco artificial sand, and clean the crud out of it!!! lol
 

Jaysee

the caribsea supernaturals sands are reeeeeally nice, and reeeeeally expensive at $1.25 per pound. That's not too bad with a small tank, but a 48x18 tank holds 100 lbs of sand or more. Pool filter sand is the best - it's natural colored, doesn't compact, doesn't get kicked up into the water column or sucked up and is CHEAP at about $0.30 per pound.
 

apple429

I thought that that raised the pH though??
 

apple429

OHHHHH!!! Okee- Dokee!!! Do you know where to get that sand???
 

Jaysee

I buy pool filter sand from pool and spa stores Some hardware stores might have it too. They'll tell you it's not for aquarium use, if you tell them that's what it is for, but that's a liability thing and they wouldn't know any better anyway.
 

Akari_32

Should be able to get it at, like, Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart, I've heard, too... Or maybe I'm crazy lol
 

apple429

Thanks!! How many lbs. do you think it would take for a 12 x 24 inch floorplan?? I was thinking 25- 30 lbs...
 

Akari_32

Its the same as gravel. 1-2 pounds per gallon.
 

Jaysee

1 bag is all you will need.
 

apple429

So today I am doing my substrate change... I will be posting my updates in the thread below. Thanks for your help everyone!
 

Jaysee

good luck! the first time is always the hardest.
 

Dria

I'm contemplating a change from gravel to sand in the near future. Does anyone have a site with steps on what the best way to do it is? I'm worried about the cloudy water and if it will effect the fish to have all of the sand kicked up. Also a concern is how much of my still new good bacteria will I lose when I replace the gravel? Will it cause a minI cycle to do it all at once? Should I do it in stages or will that just prolong the stress on my fish?
 

Ashley45

Most of your bacteria is housed in your filtration so no need to really worry about that... I did this shortly after I started up my 70 gallon a year ago... I took all of the fish out of the tank (keep them in a large tub or bucket with a heater in it and filled with tank water) and removed all the gravel with a net... The key is to rinse your sand A LOT! It is almost never ending... There are a few methods I have heard when it comes to finally adding the sand into the tank... One was with a plate, I've heard of people using pillow cases, and also plastic bottles... Pretty much anything to keep you from just dropping sand into the tank because it takes longer to settle than some of your other substrates... Depending on how new your tank is and how long it's been cycled will play a part into another minI cycle but I didn't have any issues when I did mine and I didn't lose any of my fish

Hope this atleast helped a bit!

Ashley
 

Featherfin

Yep, Ashley gave great advice. I've switched from gravel to sand with no problems with the cycles, and they weren't too established at the time.

Also, not all sands will cloud and take long to settle. With the sand I use, I've added 100lbs to a full tank and it sinks right to the bottom with no clouding. So if you're worried about clouding I would research different types of sand (unless you have a special color/brand in mind of course).
 

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