new tank: sand, plants, filter? small algae eaters?


hI all,

I have a 10 gal tank and just got a 47 gal tank and am looking forward to planning it out and getting the process started.

first of all can anyone tell me about sand in an aquariums? is this safe to use? can I mix it with gravel? will any fish have issues with sand?

any suggestions for a filter for this tank would be welcome as I haven't had much experience with a tank this size

I would also like to get some plants for this tank. I have seen some very pretty hanging plants in pics but I can't remember what they were called. does anyone know of any pretty hanging plants? I have read that carbon dioxide is needed when u have a planted tank. how do you deliver this to the plants? any suggestions for relatively low maintenance plants would be welcome (ie don't require complex substrate or insane quantities of light)

any ideas or suggestions for this new tank are welcome - I hope to do a sort of blog/journal on the development of this tank.

as a side note does anyone know of any plecos or other algae eaters that would be suitable for the 10 gal mentioned earlier? it is stocked with 2 dwarf puffers and a tiger barb (and one mystery snail but he is really being pestered by the puffers and will be moved into the 47 gal when the opportunity arrises) so it must be small. without the snail there will be room for aprox. 4in of fish.


there's a really good thread on here somewhere about sand bottom tanks. as far as I remember thye are safe but you have to rinse, rinse, rinse the sand a lot before using it. as far as plants we've always had good lucjk with the bulbs that you buy in the package at the LFS, then it's a mystery to search for what kind it is when it sprouts and eventually grows! LILA


hI - i'm new on this board, but not to fish/planted tanks. just thought i'd throw in a few comments

I use sand in my aquarium. however, it's not the standard aquarium sand that you buy at pet stores (way too expensive for me). I got a 50 lb bag of play sand at home depot (or lowe's, I forget which), and I rinsed that before putting it in. I know some people use pool filter sand, but I don't know what that is (i've never seen it). I personally like the look/maintenance of sand better than gravel. I have had tanks where it was mixed with gravel, and there were no problems, it mostly depends on the look you're going for.

I used to have a dwarf puffer with the sand substrate, and it was fine. I think most fish will be fine. I can't think of any that would not be fine, but I also don't know everything about every fish

i'm not sure what the hanging plants are, but would be a good source CO2 is not an absolute need in a planted tank. I have a moderately heavily planted tank, and I do not use CO2 (too expensive to go pressurized, and too complicated to use diy). instead, I use flourish excel, which is an alternate carbon source for plants. I dose at half dose because I had problems dosing at full dose. I also don't do the waterchange dose. however, depending on how many plants you have, you might want to consider fertilizers. I have things like water sprite, hygros, java fern, java moss, apons, dwarf hairgrass, and lilies (that I can remember right now) and none of those require complex substrate or insane light (I have neither).

as for the algae eaters, I would recommend some otos. I just got some recently, and they quickly made all the algae in my tank disappear. there wasn't a lot to begin with, but they did get my tank clean. if you don't have enough algae, you'll have to supplement their diets with some algae discs. I think they are also considered a "group" fish, so you might want to get more than 1. i'm not sure how the puffers will tolerate the otos tho. some people have had luck, and some have not. i've never tried. but having said that, that goes for pretty much any fish that is with a puffer. more info on those can be found at (can you tell I check too many forums? )

wow - sorry for such a long response. I just wanted to be sure I covered most your questions if you have any more, i'm sure other people on this forum or I can respond back


for sand I would suggest to not use a undergravel filter. It will clog it. Do not buy silica sand because it will cut up the bottom of your fishes belly or grind down whiskers off fish like cory's or cats. Use aquarium sand only. You can mix it with gravel just be sure to wash it before you put it in.
  • Thread Starter


thanks for the good tips all who have responded so far... as for your concerns (griffin) about the puffer and other fish my hope is to make the 10 gal. tank exclusively the puffers home!


i'd definitely agree with the no undergravel filter for sand.

as for not using silica sand, I think it's really up to you. I (and many others) use silica sand, and we have had no problems. I have had bristlenose plecos and otos in sand substrate with no issues. this is the first time I have heard of those types of issues. i'm not saying that it's impossible, just that i've never had it happen to me or heard of it happen to anyone else. no offense intended to anyone.

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