Plecos and Sand: Can it work?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by fisharegreat8962, Jul 1, 2016.


Black sand or white sand for Fancy Guppies?

  1. Black sand

    0 vote(s)
  2. White sand

    2 vote(s)
  1. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    I heard that they can inhale gravel but apparently not sand, can someone please direct me on this? I also heard that Plecos LOOOOVE playing in sand, but I just want to be sure that sand won't hurt my little baby :(

    I also heard that gravel can hurt the mouths of Plecos, so obviously I'm leaning towards sand, but I don't want him to inhale it or anything. Obviously I can research this myself, but there's so much controversy on the subject and I don't know who to believe.

    I think I might be turning towards marbles, but I barely know anything about that either, plus I have Guppies in the tank as tankmates for the Pleco (adults, not fry, even though Plecos probably won't bother fry but just to be sure) and I don't know if marbles are okay for Guppies.

    I know a great deal about gravel and a great deal about Plecos, but nothing about when the two come together, and other substrates such as sand and marbles are a foreign world for me, plus we're adding guppies into the mix which makes it even more complicated, so I'm pretty much clueless here, any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. NicoldemeValued MemberMember

    I'm not an expert of plecos, but I have one with gravel substrate and he's never had any issue. I've never noticed him suck it up, though he may occasionally latch onto a piece to clean it. While you fish may suck up sand, once he learns it's not good, he'll leave it alone.
    And guppies will be fine with marbles, the fry may use it as somewhere to hide because the passage ways are far larger and cleaner than gravel, too. If you use very large marbles though, I wouldn't put it past one of your fish to try and lodge themselves between the substrate. Fish do things like that.
    The only fish I can think of that need sandy substrate are corys or burrowing types. What kind of pleco do you intend on getting?

  3. yashaWell Known MemberMember

    I have no other basis for this, but my pleco seem to he fine on the sand and lay on it more then I remember my old ones laying on the gravel in my old tanks. Over gravel I'd think river rocks. there bigger so the pleco shouldn't get them in its mouth or the guppies. The guppy's also couldn't swim in to them like the marbles.
    The also would be softer to lay on as there more round less pointed then gravel.
    I can see the marbles and guppies being a problem if to deep they very well may pick there way in and get stuck. A 1 lay covering could work, maybe the flat type so they don't roll. I've tried the flat marbles but fond it kind of a pain.
    Bare bottom or sand are my favorite and river rocks over gravel.

  4. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    I prefer sand because the "stuff" does not sift down in between. I can quickly use my battery operated internal vacuum to tidy up between water changes.
    My bristle nose plecos have not had a problem with it. I am sure to have driftwood for them too.
  5. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    I'd be planning for a BN as far as the Pleco goes, so thanks for clearing it up that I'll be able to use sand! Thanks!
  6. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    And they need a piece of driftwood.

    Very neat fish. I love my bn plecos.
  7. Calum98Valued MemberMember

    I have a plecco and guppies and I'm using sand as my substrate, the guppies love rolling about in it and playing with the sand (at first I panicked thinking they had a parasite or something) but just turns out they like rolling in it. And the plecco is normally attached to a plant or the big peice of bog wood I have, occasionally shift through the sand for food. Normally if my fish swallow sand they just spit it back out
  8. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    Thanks so much! All this info is really helpful.

    I'll be getting black sand, because I think that'll make the guppies really pop.
  9. Calum98Valued MemberMember

    Anytime, but it can look a bit messy sand due the the fact all the waste sits on the surface of the sand, but it just makes it easier to clean.
  10. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Very true. I use the eheim internal submersible gravel vac in between and right before water changes just being careful to swirl the stuff up off the sand instead of putting it down too close to prevent sand being sucked up. I am a little more mindful of this versus when I do water change. Then I get the regular pwc vacuum closer to swirl and make sure I get all the little stuff. You cannot stick any vac down in the sand like you do gravel.

    There is also a cheaper one I use for my 10g tanks but it is not as good and cannot be submerged. The eheim is just a little big for smaller tanks. I put tape around the bottom to make the vent notches smaller and sometime take that piece off altogether and have the propeller almost right on the sand which submerges it a bit unless I have the water drained down so have to take batteries out to dry really good.
  11. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    And then of course if I got white sand you'd be able to totally see any waste or anything...

    But maybe white sand would look cooler as far as the pleco goes...

    And maybe it would make the guppies look even more natural....


    Well, the tank is going to be heavily planted with live plants (I don't really like the fake plastic look of fake plants) and some driftwood so I think white sand would make it look like a really natural setting :)
  12. Calum98Valued MemberMember

    Mines is a golden colour of sand and quite planted but it looks nice still I think image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  13. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    That looks great! I think I might want to do a cream color but not too golden, you know? :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  14. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Pool filter sand will give you that color. It can be found at any home improvement or hardware store. That is what I use in mine. It is not so fine that it gets sucked up into filter and you can even put the vacuum right on it to get the waste without sucking up much sand at all. Even so, it is still nice and compact. I love mine.
  15. fisharegreat8962Valued MemberMember

    Sounds great, I think I'll try that. :)
  16. yashaWell Known MemberMember

    I also have a more beach like color pool filter sand. And like tfreema said its a lot easier to clean stuff off of without getting to much sand sucked up then some of the others I have got however you can get both pool filter sand and sand blasting sand in different sizes.

    I well add some of the stuff that looks more sand like out of water has seemed to lighten in color in my tank to look almost white. So what you see may not always be what you well see in your tank.

    This was a post I made one 1 of the types of sand I used its #20 I know thats bigger then some but don't remember off hand if a higher number is bigger or smaller. I got mine at a pool store as I couldn't seem to find it at a hardware store when I needed it.

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