Question I want to switch from very cheap gravel to a relatively nice sand

cheesepuff

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From what I understand switching substrate can be dangerous to the health of the fish. For that reason I want to know the proper procedure to go about switching from my very inexpensive Walmart gravel to a nice white sand. I already have the sand in mind picked out. The sand is not fine it's actually somewhat in between normal sand and gravel in terms of the size of the material.


What is the proper and safe way to go about switching out the substrate?
 

LiterallyHydro

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I'd just thoroughly vacuum the gravel and remove a few cups of gravel at a time each day until it's all gone, then you could have the sand very well rinsed and add to the tank with a cup.
 

Witchydesign

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Same process -^^^^ but instead of a cup try a pvc pipe. you pour it into the pipe and direct the flow on the bottom of the tank, youtube has a few videos on how to do that
 

Bijou88

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Since your tank isn't cycled yet switching the substrate out now will likely have very little impact on your fish. Just vacuum the gravel well, scoop it out and put the WELL RINSED sand back in. I've used a cup to put the sand in personally but the pipe method sounds like it would work great.

 

amydeb

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Instead of a cup try a pvc pipe. you pour it into the pipe and direct the flow on the bottom of the tank
GAH! This is one of those things that is just simple genius and of course, I never thought of it. lol I poured slowly but still ended up with some swirling sand. I left my filters off for a bit though.

To the OP - I just changed from gravel to pool filter sand. I vacuumed as best I could and used a new, well rinsed off, dustpan to scoop gravel into a strainer, then dumped it into a bucket. I did it all at one time. My tank had only recently cycled but I didn't see any spikes in my water after the fact.
 

Witchydesign

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I used a small milk jug. cut the bottom off, poked holes in it to strain water.. scoop :-D
 

f2002

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FThe sand is not fine it's actually somewhat in between normal sand and gravel in terms of the size of the material.
May I ask what kind of white sand you picked out? I also have white sand, but it is a very fine, powdery sand (CaribSea Super Naturals).

White sand is beautiful, but I have some regrets I want to point out in case they may help you.

First, fish poop stand out very prominently on white sand. I do water changes like 3 times a week and I still see poop on there. If you are an anal person this might not be the sand for you.

Second, I can't raise beautiful red cherry shrimps on the sand. A lot of the colorful shrimps will adapt to the white sand and start to lose their beautiful color.

Third, white sand doesn't bring out the brilliant color of beautiful fishes like neon tetras.

On the other hand, when it is clean, white sand is super beautiful. And if you have bottom dwellers like loaches or cories, white sand is probably better (since I can't seem to find any fine black sand that won't hurt them).
 

Bijou88

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^I also had the caribsea super naturals white sand at one point, I liked it at first but the poop really does stand out on it like crazy. I also had problems with that particular kind of sand getting stirred up by my pleco and making the water look cloudy I later switched it out for a more natural colored heavier sand and couldn't be happier. f2002 black diamond blasting sand works just fine with cories, i have the 20/40 medium grit mixed in with pfs with no issues at all. There's also the finer grit available.

 

f2002

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I later switched it out for a more natural colored heavier sand and couldn't be happier. @f2002 black diamond blasting sand works just fine with cories, i have the 20/40 medium grit mixed in with pfs with no issues at all. There's also the finer grit available.
Thanks Bijou88! This sand problem is probably the final piece of the puzzle for my tank. I've been pondering it for a long time so I really appreciate your info.

What is the brand of the natural color sand you got?

For the Black Diamond, is there a specific reason you picked medium, as opposed to fine or extra fine? (FYI I have relatively small bottom dwellers -- cory cats, hillstream loaches, and kuhli loaches, so they don't kick up a lot of dust).

If price isn't an issue, is there a reason to pick Black Diamond over Carib Sea's Tahitian Moon sand?
 

Bijou88

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f2002 I went with the medium grit because I wanted something similarly sized to my pfs (don't know what brand it is, I got it at Menards, i want to say Allstar) since I was mixing them together. I like the heavier sand because I tend to gravel vac when really tired and was sucking up a fair amount of the sand when I had the caribsea. I think the tahitian sand is similar but I have no experience with it. I like my mix, my cories seem really happy with it and can burrow half their little bodies in it, lol.

 
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cheesepuff

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I just got done switching out the gravel and replacing it with nice white aquarium sand from National Geographic. It's a much thicker sand but nowhere near as thick as gravel. I think it's going to work well.

 
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cheesepuff

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I will gladly post pictures as soon as everything is settled. I think the white sand is beautiful.

 
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