Need Help With Goldfish Substrate -gravel/sand

  • #1
Hello everyone.

I really need help with substrate. I bought some small black gravel for a new 140Litre tank for my 2 goldfish.

They like to eat and forage at the bottom. They've had small gravel for 4 years. This gravel has clouded up the water and made it dark gray.

I posted question on reddit and people said gravel especially small gravel is extremely dangerous for choking on it or swallowing it. They said I must use sand and sand is the only safe option except for no substrate.

I'm real stressed about it as I need to set up my tank. They are in another tank that's too small.

Do you think sand is a must? If so would you choose fine sand or coarse sand?

Its gonna be hard work emptying the gravel and water by myself to then put sand in.

I called lots of aquariums and they said sand is not necessary. Help!!

Sorry I meant the new dark gravel is cloudy in the new tank (fish not in it yet). I am aware of cycling and am prepared with products for a fish in cycle. I have to do that because they are in a smaller uncycled tank atm.
  • #2
Bare bottom would be better choices for fancies compared to substrates.
  • #3
My goldies are in bare bottom with just a few terracotta pots filled with sand. I want bare bottom because it's overall way easier, but I didn't want to deprive them of their sifting behavior, thus the sand. They do end up getting the sand everywhere and eating some of it, but that's harmless. I used to have gravel with my goldie and I personally didn't like it at all. I was too anxious about him choking and he scared me a few times. Also, the point would chip off while he was sifting through it and then the paint chips would came back out in his poo and be a nightmare to clean out of the filter. Bare bottom with a little bit of sand is pretty stress free.
  • #4
several members here use the Black Diamond Blasting sand. Others use pool sand. Some use gravel. Some use bare bottom. I use river rocks.

gravel does have documented choking risks. but if they've been living with small gravel for 4 years, might be ok.

you can instant cycle the new tank by using the media in the old filter.
  • #5
I have two 75 gallon tanks with fancy goldfish.
I have nine other tanks with black diamond blasting sand.
In my goldfish tanks I have pea gravel that I purchased from Lowe's and washed and added. The pieces are too big to choke on and the fish can push the rocks around all day to their heart's content.
I can't imagine having sand in my goldfish tanks for two reasons.
1. Poop will be flying around everywhere on the surface of it.
2. Vacuuming sand is a pain, and my goldfish are too nosy to stay out of the way while I'm vacuuming to not be sucking all the substrate into the siphon while trying to avoid them.
I change almost all of the water in my goldfish tanks every week and thoroughly vacuum everything and I think it would be much harder with sand than with the pea gravel. I would like to do bare bottom since it's so easy but I like the look of something on the bottom in my tanks that are in main areas. Some people say pea gravel will increase pH but I have not noticed anything. My pH from the tap is 8.0 or 8.2 and the same when I test it every week and goldfish don't really give hoot about high pH. Your mileage may vary. The bad thing about pea gravel is it's a boring color.

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